Brandywine hosts Global Awareness Dialogue Project

Penn State Brandywine hosted the authors of the book, "Integrating Multilingual Students into College Classrooms: Practical Advice for Faculty," as part of the Global Awareness Dialogue Project on Dec. 3.

Guest speakers Johnnie Johnson Hafernik, professor emeritus of the University of San Francisco (USF) in the department of rhetoric and language, and Fredel M. Wiant, retired associate professor and chair of the department of rhetoric and language from USF, were invited to campus as part of the Global Awareness Dialogue Project to discuss how to better integrate multilingual students into the college campus environment. Penn State Brandywine is part of the Global Awareness Dialogue Project working in collaboration with Penn State Abington and Arcadia University.

While at Penn State Brandywine, Hafernik and Wiant participated on a faculty and student panel to discuss the challenges and opportunities for multilingual and multicultural students in the classroom. Brandywine faculty members included on the panel were: Julie Gallagher, associate professor of history, Meilin Shieh, instructor of Chinese and Deborah Ousey, writing studio coordinator. Brandywine students included on the panel were: Fatoumata Karamoko, Lazina Choudhury and Erik Garay.

Hafernik and Wiant also visited the American Studies 083S ELL class and hosted a dialogue for Brandywine faculty and staff. At the dialogue, the guest speakers presented about the diversity and inclusion of students on the college campus.

"International and multicultural students are bright," Wiant said. "They're normal college students and have the same common assets as native students. It's important to integrate these students in the classroom so they feel included and not othered."

Hafernik and Wiant are both frequent speakers at professional conferences and have authored and coauthored several publications and books, including the book "Integrating Multilingual Students into College Classrooms: Practical Advice for Faculty." The book is about today's ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse student enrollment in America's higher education. Students of diverse, multilingual cultures enrich our colleges and universities, but also pose a challenge for faculty in all disciplines who teach them. The book and Global Awareness Dialogue event at Brandywine were helpful for faculty and staff to get a better understanding of multicultural students and learn the skills necessary to allow these students to succeed in higher education. The book is available electronically through the Penn State library systems to Penn State faculty, staff and students.

The Global Awareness Dialogue Project provides professional development opportunities for faculty and staff in light of the growing numbers of international students on campus. It is intended to encourage more faculty and staff members to become involved in the campus' international efforts, address the needs of faculty and staff who are interested in internationally oriented scholarship and global education and facilitate interaction and encourage dialogue among faculty and staff to exchange ideas on contemporary global issues impacting our campus, community, nation and world.