What constitutes a global perspective?
Professor of Education Charlie Temple has thought about this question often during the more than 35 years he has taught at HWS. With the support of the 2016-17 John Readie & Florence B. Kinghorn Global Fellowship, Temple embarked on a broad look at the underpinnings of the Colleges’ approach toward global education to develop a “shared understanding of precisely what we mean by that.” In the essay resulting from that project, he codifies the Colleges’ successes in cultivating global perspectives and unpacks what a globally oriented education looks like, on campus and off.
“Helping students gain global perspectives has been a goal of Hobart and William Smith Colleges at least since the 1970s, when Professor Emeritus Elena Ciletti acted on a student’s suggestion and took her (surely delighted!) art history class off to Florence, to see up close the works that had been projected on screens at Houghton House,” Temple writes in the essay.
Today, 60 percent of HWS students study abroad and the Colleges are home to the No. 1 study abroad program in the country, according to Princeton Review’s 2018 edition of “The Best 382 Colleges.” But in interviewing “a cross section of students, faculty, and staff,” Temple sought to identify the range of global programs — study abroad and otherwise — and what makes the HWS approach work so well.
“Reduced to its essentials,” Temple writes, “a global perspective faces in two directions: we look with informed curiosity and appreciation at the globe and the people who share it with us, and we take on the perspectives of others who inhabit the globe as they view the people around them, including you and me.”
Temple’s research with HWS community members identifies the critical building blocks of this kind of rounded global perspective: an openness of attitudes and orientations toward other experiences and identities; an interest in connecting the global and the local; and an experience studying and living abroad.
Beyond study abroad programs, Temple says there are countless opportunities to develop global perspectives through the Colleges’ academic and co-curricular programming. “Courses in many departments take a global perspective, and are taught by international faculty and faculty with international experience. Students can study languages with HWS faculty, “take advantage of opportunities to get to know people not like themselves on campus” or work for social justice in the local community by using “the privileges we have here and the intellectual power for the greater good,” he says. “Geneva is a very diverse community and there are lots of opportunities here for students to meet new people and get new experiences.”
Read Temple’s Kinghorn essay, “What Are Global Perspectives?”
Established in 1970 and generously endowed by Dr. and Mrs. William Reckmeyer in honor of John Readie and Florence B. Kinghorn, the fellowship honors outstanding faculty at HWS who have exemplified global citizenship on a continued basis.
Temple, who joined the HWS faculty in 1982, is a storyteller, folk musician and children’s book author. He received his B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina, and his M.Ed. in curriculum studies and his Ph.D. in literacy education from the University of Virginia. Prior to joining HWS, he taught at the University of Houston-Victoria.
Through support from George Soros’ Open Society Institute, Temple has worked to promote critical thinking in schools in Eastern Europe, Central and Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and many countries in Africa. For the past 20 years, he has served as an expert volunteer trainer for the Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE), helping produce indigenous children’s literature in Liberia, Tanzania and Sierra Leone and engaging the HWS community in the process.
Between semesters, Temple helps produce local children’s books and train teachers in Sierra Leone (for CODE-Canada and the World Bank) and in Tajikistan (for USAID). His late wife Frances Nolting Temple, for whom the Frances Temple Teaching Prize is named, was the author of several award-winning children’s books on international themes.