History of Collaboration
Mercy College is a private, Hispanic-serving institution in the New York metropolitan area of over 10,500 students studying at four campus locations, including the main campus in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Founded in 1950, Mercy is a teaching-centered undergraduate college with a sizable range of graduate programs and an institution with strong professional programs built on liberal arts foundations. The vibrant multiculturalism and diversity on Mercy’s campus fosters a rich engagement of students and faculty with their cultural or ethnic communities, histories, and backgrounds, and provides a natural setting for building bridges to different cultures. However, the institution had not historically looked at the synergies between domestic diversity and internationalization.
Catalyst for Advancing Collaborative Efforts
Mercy College recognized that its diverse student population, representative of America’s pluralistic society, needed greater access to global learning opportunities in their academic experience. Through the creation of the Center for Global Engagement, the college saw an opportunity to craft an undergraduate experience that engages different cultures—local and global—and exposes students to global opportunities both in their own backyard and in the world beyond their local environment.
Mercy sought to bring together relatively new globalization efforts with campus diversity in meaningful ways.
They have pursued this through:
- Infrastructure development: A new Faculty Learning Community was formed around the broad goal of promoting global and intercultural competencies in the curriculum.
- Globalizing the curriculum with a focus on intercultural competencies: A freshman seminar called Community Without Borders was created.
- Integrating the global and local: “Glocal” opportunities were created to engage students with international facets of life in communities around the internationally rich New York area.
- Increasing student mobility: Recruitment of international students was boosted, and major efforts were directed towards sending more diverse students abroad.
The biggest impact at Mercy has been increased awareness of the importance of globalizing the curriculum and of infusing global and intercultural difference into the co-curricular environment, so as to create a college experience that prepares Mercy students to be successful global citizens. This increased awareness has also empowered campus constituent groups to come together and collaborate on various initiatives that embody the At Home in the World (AHITW) concepts.
Sustaining Efforts and Next Steps
Mercy’s efforts moving forward will consist of continuing to strengthen cross-institutional collaboration that began as a result of the AHITW project, as well as building on progress to date in promoting global and intercultural exploration through co-curricular and extracurricular ventures. The Center for Global Engagement will continue to coordinate AHITW project-related activities that engage willing partners across the college. Mercy also seeks to continue rich engagement, beyond the classroom, with student, faculty, and staff in explorations of world cultures and domestic diversity that take on a personal, intellectual, and practical nature. For example, Mercy intends to grow its commitment to experiential learning opportunities for students through overseas service missions and locally based internships with strong intercultural dimensions.