September 26, 2016

Global Citizenship Program loses 15 seminars

By Sierra Hancock

Low enrollment for the Global Keystone Seminars has caused the seminar selection to dwindle from 19 classes to four. Only 50 students registered to take the seminars, which are required for students under the Global Citizenship Program (GCP). Students who were registered for the dropped classes were given the option to register for one of the remaining classes or wait to take the seminar another semester.

Junior women and gender studies major Rosie Jones was not able to take her first-choice seminar, Global Gender Rights. The seminar was dropped because only four other students signed up to take the course. Jones is now taking a seminar called Plays and Concerts and Inks, Oh My!: Encountering Art in Our Communities. She said though it was not her first choice she can see the benefit in the course.

“I think it goes true to Webster’s mission of making a global citizen,” Jones said. “Even though I’m not taking the keystone that I originally thought I would be taking, I’m still going to have my mind expanded, which is the overall purpose of the keystone.”

The Global Keystone Seminars are a part of the GCP put into effect during the Fall 2012 semester for incoming freshmen. The seminars are only available to juniors or seniors pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. The GCP website says the seminars “allow students to address complex problems using the practical and intellectual skills developed in the GCP.”

Robin Assner, associate professor of the art department, is a part of the GCP Committee and has helped with the construction of the keystone courses. She said the keystone seminar helps provide a bookend to the other nine required GCP classes. She encourages students to choose a seminar that may differ from their major.

“Choose something that you have some interest in, but something that can be challenging and even out of your comfort zone,” Assner said. “This is an opportunity to use your knowledge, what you’ve learned thus far at Webster and to really be part of a group that can make a difference in some way.”

Assner said the seminars compliment the end of the GCP program by mixing students of different majors into seminars to create change.

Keystone Seminar Director Victoria McMullen said there were over 100 faculty members and administrative staff involved in creating the seminars. At least 12 members of the GCP Committee were from Webster’s international campuses in Geneva, Vienna, Leiden and London. 

McMullen said faculty members were sent an email before fall registration to remind their students about the Keystone Seminars, but the students may not have been notified soon enough.

“Students may not be as aware of the requirement,” McMullen said. “The goal is that they take it during their junior year but this is the first time that juniors have had to take it.”

McMullen expects more students to enroll this spring. Her goal is to have 20-25 courses available for students to choose from.

Jones said it is up to the students to know which classes they are required to take under the GCP. She said the information was not greatly posted around campus but students should not rely on a reminder.

“It’s up to you to fulfill your requirements, and not your advisor to tell you what you need to take,” Jones said. “It’s your responsibility to check your degree audit and make sure you’re getting what you need to get.”

However, Jones does recommend the advisors talk about the GCP and its required classes throughout the student’s college career and not just at the beginning.

Pamphlets with keystone course descriptions and their benefits can be found in Webster Hall as well as online.

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