Global Competence: Expanding Student Access to International Learning Experiences

Each Spring, Academic Affairs prepares an update to the Board of Trustees on work to advance the university’s strategic goals. This year, the work of the International Learning Committee was highlighted in response to the Learning Excellence Roll Ahead Strategic Map Goal and how Stetson is responding to the following questions:

how do we know our students are learning

—how are we improving the experience of learning for them; and

—how are we seeking continual improvement of our work throughout the university. 

This growth highlight response represents the type of continuous improvement sought by the Board and by higher education.


The overarching role of the International Learning Committee (ILC) is to elevate the academic merit, overall value and viability of the international program at Stetson University. The re-instated ILC (AY 2018-19) swiftly adopted the ACE CIGE, the nation’s best practice conceptual framework for comprehensive internationalization. CIGE aims to situate universities as globally oriented and internationally connected via strategic, coordinated processes that align and integrate policies, programs, and initiatives. Specific focus was placed on curricular and co-curricular activities to support our institutional value of global citizenship by all students. Between 2019 and 2021, the ILC developed draft Global Learning Outcomes (GLOs). Their work since February 2021 has resulted in the following advancements: 

Increasing ILC Leadership Capacity in Comprehensive Internationalization: The ILC commissioned award-winning national experts to increase its members’ competence in the intentional, ongoing, collaborative process of internationalization as an institutional ethos: 

  • Participated in rubric development training to identify best approaches for evaluating GLOs
  • Finalized a pilot evaluation rubric using a single-point protocol to build criteria based on real student behavior using artifacts from actual courses 
  • Participated in a facilitated workshop on campus internationalization to uncover promising practices in enhancing curriculum integration

Expanding Course Internationalization through Faculty Professional Development

  • February 2021: Launched the Curriculum Enhancement through Global Learning Initiative to provide Stetson faculty with concrete tools, grounded in theory and with measurable outcomes, for globalizing courses including global learning frameworks, content, activities, and teaching strategies
  • April 2021: Implemented the Curriculum Enhancement through Global Learning Mini-Grants Program; awarded 11 faculty mini-grants ($500 each) to internationalize courses during summer 2021 by infusing at least two draft GLOs into new or existing fall 2021 courses
  • May 2021: Implemented a virtual two-hour Curriculum Enhancement Through Global Learning Workshop where the consultant offered to grantees a toolkit of strategies for getting started with internationalizing courses 
  • August 2021: Received new or revised syllabi from grant recipients along with detailed descriptions of changes made to courses
  • January 2022: Received samples of student work for assessment along with post-course surveys 
  • May 2022: Anticipate current award recipients will contribute as coaches during a faculty development workshop for the new cohort of faculty interested in internationalizing their courses.

The ILC is currently conducting a comprehensive review of artifacts from the mini-grant pilot program. Outcomes of this study will inform continuous improvement strategies such as (a) modifications of the proposed GLOs; (b) adjustments of the mini-grant program, pending resource availability; (c) broader discussions with academic leadership; and (e) guidance on next steps for institutional integration including discourse on a proposed Global Competency Overlay and formation of a Global Learning Task Force to expand and deepen the learning outcomes work initiated by the ILC.

Fifth-Year Peace Corps Prep Program Report

In December 2016, Stetson University entered a five-year agreement with the Peace Corps (PC) for the establishment of a Peace Corps Prep Program. The program is designed to advance the goals of the Peace Corps and Stetson University by combining academic course work with practical field experience and enhancing ongoing international initiatives. Peace Corps Prep advances Stetson University’s mission, goals and strategic values by providing professional development, leadership experience and training, intercultural competence, and academic growth.

Elené Okruashvili winner of Stetson University School of Music’s demanding Concerto Competition

In fall 2020, Stetson University School of Music chose the winner of the demanding Concerto Competition. WORLD is proud to announce international student Elené Okruashvili, a pianist from the country of Georgia, winner of the completion.

“This is the first time in the past 10 years, a pianist won the Concerto Competition,” said Elene, while also claiming she couldn’t believe that she overcame so many challenges during practices to be the winner.

Elene Okruashvili ’22

Reconciling with the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, Stetson’s School of Music opened the stage for students to perform to a virtual audience. Students were given a chance to perform and compete in front panel of judges. Students recorded their performances and submitted the videos in advance, judges scored and rated them virtually.

Elene is an international student from Tbilisi, Georgia and currently a third year student at Stetson University. She had exposed to music and competed at a very young age. Elene joined Stetson University in 2018, and majors in Piano Performance. She also a member of the Stetson School of Music Student Advisory Council (SoMSAC). Moreover, Elene holds different leadership roles on campus, such as Resident Assistant for the Catalyst Houses.

Anh Nguyen another international student who works alongside Elene as resident assistant in Residential Living and Learning praised her classmate saying “she’s such an inspiring Resident Assistant and a talented pianist. “

Elene started working on the first movement of Beethoven’s 2nd Piano Concerto during quarantine in Spring 2020, however, due to the global pandemic and every activity being moved to virtual formats, Elene says she lost her motivation.  Practicing and finishing the recording for the competition deadline seemed unimportant. Elene mentioned, “Everything was so difficult, and I found no motivation to do anything, so I even thought about not participating in the competition”.  She did compete, however. When the semester started in August 2020, one month before the competition, she decided to pick up where she left off and finish the piece. She shared “I feel really happy because I needed that motivational push. It makes me believe choosing piano performance is a correct choice, and coming to America from Georgia is finally paid off.”

All the videos recorded were uploaded on School of Music’s YouTube Channel, including the 2020 Christmas Candlelight concert performed on Friday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m.

Written by Anh Nguyen, Edited by Roxanne Lewis