The University Senate has formed the Global Initiatives Task Force to review Columbia’s burgeoning network of global centers.
Two members of the task force—its chair, political science professor Sharyn O’Halloran, and Jenna Miller, a GSAPP student—are working to draft a report on behalf of the committee. Miller said that this early draft includes an evaluation of the eight global centers and their programs, a comparison of the centers to the global initiatives at peer institutions, and recommendations for the future.
Miller said that she believes the global centers’ structure is “too dispersed,” making it difficult to develop communication between the centers themselves, and between the centers and the Morningside Heights campus. She added that although the task force attempted to reach out to the larger University community, it was unable to do so successfully.
“We had asked students, as well as faculty, for input on their opinions on opportunities and challenges for the centers, and received a shockingly low response rate, which might suggest the lack of people’s knowledge about the centers,” she said.
Task force member Eduardo Santana, CC ’13, said that the committee’s goal is to spark discussion about how to put the global centers to good use.
“We don’t know what the centers have to offer just yet,” Santana said, adding that the University needs “to be mindful of establishing this as a dialogue rather than an export.”
“We have people all over the world ... so the GCs are really an opportunity for us to reach the entire Columbia community,” Santana said.
Astronomy professor James Applegate said that the committee is looking to increase dialogue about globalism around campus, especially between Columbia’s many global initiatives.
“You have a lot of left hands and a lot of right hands, and neither of them knows what the other is doing,” Applegate said.