Global Studies Turns Five and Embraces a Vision for the Future
By: Nick Santangelo
Temple University’s Global Studies Program is turning five! The program began in fall 2015 with just 11 majors, but it experienced exponential growth, and there are now more than 230 Global Studies majors. In the coming years, these students will follow in the footsteps of previous Global Studies graduates who have gone on to rewarding and successful careers with organizations like:
- U.S. Department of Commerce
- Teach for America
- The Peace Corps
- City of Philadelphia
- Women’s Campaign International
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
Of course, not all Global Studies grads dive directly into the workforce. Some choose to continue on to graduate school right here at Temple or at institutions such as Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, SOAS University of London and University of Sydney.
“The Global Studies Program is one of the better-named programs,” says Sanjoy Chakravorty, the program’s new director for 2020. “It really exposes students to the world. It's interconnected to culture, to security to politics to conflict to criminality. Students become citizens of the world by the time they graduate. What we do is prepare students—make them ready for their careers or graduate school—so they better understand the world not in its totality, but in its connections.”
Making it to five years and 230 majors and having so many successful graduates is great, but the program is far from finished growing. And outgoing director Mark Pollack believes Dr. Chakravorty is the right person to fuel Global Studies’ continued growth.
"We're proud that, over the past five years, Global Studies has gone from an idea on paper to a vibrant interdisciplinary major bringing together over 100 affiliated faculty members with 280 terrific undergraduate majors and minors pursuing studies in global security, global economy and global cultures,” says Dr. Pollack. “Even so, Global Studies is just getting started, and I'm excited to see Dr. Chakravorty taking over the reins with plans to introduce new and exciting courses, a stronger focus on the Global South, and professional development options to help our students make contributions to the post-COVID-19 world."
Dr. Chakravorty says the program’s future growth won’t come purely by adding more students. He believes Global Studies has reached a great size. While he does foresee adding to the student body’s size a little bit, he’s more focused on stabilizing things following the program’s enormous growth and given the new realities COVID-19 has thrust on the world.
“One significant change that I would like to make is giving more attention to the Global South,” says Dr. Chakravorty. “Right now, the program probably emphasizes Europe more than any other region, so we need to focus more on Asia and Africa and also more on poverty and inequality. These are issues that are relatively under-emphasized now, but they will come more to the forefront.”
Additionally, the program’s new director believes the COVID-19 pandemic is a terrifying real-world example of how everything is globally connected.
“The disease is global. The cures are being globally researched,” he says. “The production of market items—whether it's PPE or ventilators or vaccines—are globally made, globally sourced, globally distributed.”
Hopefully, that will soon result in global solutions, and the world can begin growing again, just as Global Studies will continue its own growth as the fall semester begins this week on globally sourced PPE to stay safe.