Students gathered around a table working on a group project.

Honors Seminar Prepares Students for International Work

Students gathered around a table working on a group project.

This spring, 25 of SJSU's brightest students met for a special honors seminar where they carried out a National Security Council simulation.

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

“To think like a global citizen is to live like one,” says Bill Reckmeyer. This is the leadership and systems professor’s mantra, and this spring, he got 25 of our best and brightest to live by it.

Reckmeyer taught SJSU’s first Provost’s Honors Seminar, a special interdisciplinary course to be offered on an annual basis. Reckmeyer initiated the effort after he was named SJSU’s Outstanding Professor for 2010-2011.

His course, Global Citizenship: US National Strategy for a Complex World, transformed students into staff members on the National Security Council in a semester-long simulation exploring our country’s strategic policy-making.

The 25 exceptional students who were handpicked for this seminar from hundreds of accomplished applicants had more than exemplary academic records, according to Reckmeyer.

“They represented a diverse range of students from all seven of our colleges. Not only did they have an average GPA of 3.87, but every one of them also exhibited impressive achievements outside the classroom that helped broaden their work all semester,” Reckmeyer said.

NSC simulation

The simulation focused on five major strategic issues facing the United States: energy, infrastructure, pandemics, security, and water. Each team of five students prepared a high-level strategic policy memorandum for the president.

The memos summarized the country’s vulnerabilities on its respective strategic challenge, highlighted the strategic priorities for that issue, and spelled out its strategic recommendations to address the challenge. According to Reckmeyer the interplay between these very complex issues exercised the students’ analytical abilities.

“Even though these concerns are highly complex and vitally important to enhancing the strength and well-being of the United States, the meta-challenge is that each of these strategic issues – and many others that were not examined in the course – are so interconnected that efforts to improve one can often trigger unintended adverse consequences in other issues,” Reckmeyer said.

Students benefited from Reckmeyer’s experience as a strategic consultant helping senior leadership in the federal governments of the United States and Australia during the past 40 years, as well as from his connections with practitioners and policy experts.

Expert connections

In addition to the semester-long simulation, students met with more than a dozen special guests who shared their substantial experiences and perspectives on global concerns and policy making. Guest speakers included Richard Goldstone, a Stanford University School of Law lecturer and former South African jurist who was instrumental in dismantling apartheid.

“The opportunity for extended private discussions with a variety of noted speakers made a huge difference for students, especially in terms of enabling them to explore the practical and personal realities of crafting strategies for complicated issues in a global world,” Reckemeyer said.

Reckmeyer’s leadership on campus and his commitment to providing opportunities that promote collaboration in an international context will keep on preparing SJSU students for global work and encouraging their development as global citizens.

Reckmeyer is also director of the SJSU Salzburg Program, which is dedicated to globalizing the university by discussing worldwide issues and providing students with opportunities to become better global citizens.

Becoming Better Global Citizens: Introducing the 2011 SJSU Salzburg Program Fellows and Scholars

group photo in Salzburg

Salzburg 2010

By William J. Reckmeyer

Leaders from student affairs, the University Library and our International Gateways program, along with professors and students representing many disciplines are among the 31 individuals selected for the 2011 SJSU Salzburg Program.

“The lasting impact of an experience like this is tremendous,” said Beth Von Till, a two-time SJSU Salzburg Fellow who will serve as a faculty advisor for the 2011 trip. “It’s something that peaks student interest in a very historic location with world-class and world experienced faculty, changing forever the way students think about the world and their place in it.”

The 2011 fellows and scholars will begin with a variety of orientation activities on campus during the spring semester, organized and led on a voluntary basis by fellows and scholars from previous years.  In summer 2011, both groups will attend comparable but separate sessions of the International Study Program on Global Citizenship offered by the Salzburg Global Seminar.

The Setting: A Rococo Castle

The setting is Schloss Leopoldskron, a magnificent 18th-century rococo castle that is familiar to many as the von Trapp’s residence in the Sound of Music. There, the scholars and fellows will explore critical global issues with a world-renowned faculty.  Upon their return to campus in August, fellows and scholars will spend the following academic year working on joint projects to enhance the university’s focus on international matters.

The projects include a strong mentoring component in which the fellows advise their respective scholars on broader life and career plans.  The group will also participate in a variety of professional and social activities throughout the year, including substantial contributions to SJSU International Week each semester.

Top 10 Program

SJSU launched the SJSU Salzburg Program in 2006 as part of its efforts to prepare our students for successful lives and careers in a rapidly changing global world.  The program seeks to develop a critical mass of collaborative change agents from across campus working together on globalizing the university and encouraging our diverse constituencies — students, faculty, staff, and administrators — to become better global citizens.

Honored in 2010 as one of the “Top 10 Programs on Global Citizen Diplomacy” by the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy and the U.S. State Department, the program is made possible through a close partnership between SJSU and the Salzburg Global Seminar.  The seminar has been one of the world’s leading forums for dialogue about pressing international concerns ever since Margaret Mead chaired the first session in 1947.

Selection Process

Each fall, SJSU selects a small group of outstanding faculty, staff, and administrators to serve as SJSU Salzburg Fellows and another small group of exceptional students to serve as SJSU Salzburg Scholars through a competitive, university-wide process.  Those who are selected serve as active members of the program for at least 18 months; work on collaborative projects to globalize the university; and contribute on a general basis to organize and promote other program activities.

Nearly 125 people — 65 SJSU Salzburg Fellows and 59 SJSU Salzburg Scholars — have participated in this program in its first five years and conducted over 100 collaborative and individual projects to globalize SJSU.  They have also helped establish an annual talk on global affairs, the Peter Lee Memorial Lecture, and hosted a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence.

Reckmeyer is a professor of leadership and systems in the Department of Anthropology, an International and Extended Studies senior fellow, and director of the SJSU Salzburg Program.

SJSU Salzburg Program to Serve as Model for Higher Ed

The SJSU Salzburg Program has been named one of the nation’s top ten citizen diplomacy programs in the field of higher education by the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy, in partnership with the U. S. State Department and the NAFSA Association of International Educators. As a result, San Jose State has been invited to participate in the first U.S. Summit & Initiative for Global Citizen Diplomacy to be held November 16 through 19 in Washington, D.C.

Learn more.

San Jose State Selected For National Honor Recognizing Top Citizen Diplomacy Programs

SJSU Salzburg Program to Serve as Model for Higher Education Globalization

Contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, Calif., — The SJSU Salzburg Program has been named one of the nation’s top ten citizen diplomacy programs in the field of higher education by the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy, in partnership with the U. S. State Department and the NAFSA Association of International Educators. Continue reading