Claire Tsai, left, a 2015-16 SJSU Salzburg Scholar is one of 18 students who attended the summer program in Austria. She and the other scholars are actively engaged in promoting global citizenship.
Photo courtesy of Salzburg Global Seminars.
Claire Tsai, ’16 Art History and Visual Culture, is only halfway through her time as an SJSU Salzburg Scholar, but she is already describing the experience as transformative.
“One main point for me is that I saw more clearly how dangerous it is to keep a single framework for understanding the world,” Tsai said.
Each year, the SJSU Salzburg Program coordinators select students to be scholars and faculty or administrators to be fellows for an 18-month period, with the number selected each year varying. In 10 years, 261 Spartans have participated, with many extending their involvement beyond their 18-month commitment, according to Dr. William Reckmeyer, the program director and a co-founder. The goal for students, faculty and administrators is that through the program not only are they transformed on an individual level, but that they have an institutional impact on improving global citizenship when they return to campus.
As a scholar, Tsai participated in a semester-long course on global studies last spring before attending the week-long Global Citizenship Program in Austria, now known as the Global Citizenship Alliance. She will be working with the other scholars and fellows to pursue projects that promote global citizenship, though she said the group is still winnowing down ideas for this year.
Blanca Sanchez-Cruz, the director of the MESA Engineering Program and assistant director of the Engineering Student Success Center, is a Fellow this year.
She said she was encouraging engineering students to apply when they suggested she should apply to be a fellow.
“It was a confirmation or validation of my thought about the need for more intentional and systematic efforts to globalize curriculum and bridge across existing efforts on campus,” she said of the summer session, via email. “In the context of the MESA Engineering Program, I work with educationally disadvantaged students, who because of time, finances or misconceptions, are often the most likely to hesitate to get involved or are at risk of being left out.”
Jessy Goodman, a lecturer in the College of Humanities and the Arts and the College of Social Sciences, has a unique perspective on the program as she has participated as a scholar and a fellow.
“It changed the course of my life,” she said, noting that she made connections through the program that led her to taking a lecturer position upon graduation. “It opened up a lot of ways of thinking.”
Goodman participated as a Scholar when she was an MFA student, taught the global studies course last spring to the latest batch of scholars and is a fellow this year.
“I got a ton of great ideas and tools to use,” she said, of incorporating concepts of global citizenship into her composition classes. “My students are so much more engaged with the material.”