USD Celebrates International Faculty Engagement, Two Impact Award Winners

The University of San Diego opened the Nov. 12-16 International Education Week finding out its undergraduate study abroad program was ranked No. 1 in the nation for student participation. More evidence why USD thrives on international education, opportunities and has a genuine passion for global learning among its students, staff and faculty, was on display Wednesday afternoon in Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice's Room H and I.

International Impact Awards/Panel

The annual International Impact Awards luncheon and Panel featured a faculty panel discussion on community engagement abroad as well as the presentation of International Impact Awards.

International Faculty Panel

The panel, moderated by Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies Director Kevin Guerrieri, featured Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering’s Dr. Odesma Dalrymple, School of Business Professor of Management, Law and Ethics’ Dr. Moriah Meyskens, Mathematics Professor Dr. Perla Myers, Visual Arts Professor Dr. John Halaka, School of Business’ Associate Professor of Marketing Dr. Andrea Flynn, and Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science Clinical Associate Professor Dr. Susie Hutchins.

“Community engagement describes the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national and global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity,” states an excerpt of Carnegie’s classification of community engagement that Guerrieri spotlighted in his opening comments. “Community engagement enriches scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhances curriculum, teaching and learning, prepares educated, engaged citizens; strengthens democratic values and civic responsibility; addresses critical societal issues and contributes to the public good.”

Each professor spoke on their rewarding international and community work, mostly tied to their classes.

Dr. Dalrymple’s Engineering 103 class is about user-centered design, meaning students learn strategies to develop designs that emphasize how users will interact with a product. Her class has connected to the local community with the help of USD’s Mulvaney Center for Community, Awareness and Social Action.

Dr. Meyskens has an array of classes that connect to the Changemaker mentality and reflect her connection to interdisciplinary work (Business and College of Arts and Sciences, undergraduate and graduate level). She teaches social entrepreneurship, innovation, design thinking, business and social innovation and Changemaking 101. She has the latter class enter the fall Changemaker Challenge with topics that focus on immigration, sex trafficking, financial literacy and even a hygiene food truck. Her teaching connects to international themes ranging from the U.S.-Mexico border and one class that’s in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Dr. Myers’ focus was on a math program, Proyecto Mochila, that took place in Peru where USD students worked closely with Peruvian children on math, but came away equally with a lesson in international relations. Said one student about their experience with the children: “The students were so intelligent, funny, creative and active. They came in every day, excited to learn. The kids that we spent time with definitely had hard lives at home, but that didn’t stop them from being the most affectionate people to each other and to the volunteers. They were all so amazing.”

Dr. Halaka spoke about a summer study abroad trip, Drawing in London. The focus was drawing, yes, but the specific topic was on meditations on the history of culture through the art of a city. Students visited many museums and turned in beautiful portraits of religious figures, buildings, statues and more.

Dr. Flynn’s talk centered on MBA students who, through USD’s Ahlers Center for International Business, do Intersession study abroad trips to assist organizations abroad with a business problem. More than 200 projects have been done in 13 countries to date for local companies, international companies, nonprofits, state-owned entities and more, Flynn said.

Hutchins, who spoke of nursing’s international work in Haiti, Dominican Republic and beyond, zeroed in on a shorter trip, one in which students in the school’s Master’s Entry Program of Nursing (MEPN) travel to specific communities in Tijuana to administer health care services in rural villages.

International Impact Awards

The winners of the International Impact Awards were Dr. Cynthia Villis, who is the Assistant Provost of the Institute of College Initiatives and TRiO, and Linda Dews, MA, assistant dean, in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences. Both women have made an impact on international education in their own way.

Dews has been a fierce advocate and role model for the importance of internationalization within SOLES and a contributor across campus. She supports faculty in the development and implementation of their global study courses and provides unwavering support of the SOLES Global Center staff that has a direct impact on the execution of courses and all students' international experiences. She has also offered a global study course herself in Northern Ireland with another professor.

For more than 17 years, Villis has written and facilitated the operation of over 24 individual global grants from The Rotary Foundation, which has provided scholarships for dozens of international students to the Kroc School of Peace Studies. Villis has also served as host and mentor for these students, ensuring their successful transition to USD. Students from a variety of countries in Asia, Africa and South America have come, contributed to the internationalization of USD and have graduated from the Kroc School of Peace Studies.

Villis and Dews were selected from a nominees list consisting of: Dr. Jeffrey Burns, director of the Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture; Julie Campagna, M. Div., University Minister; Rachel Christensen, MPA, assistant director of the Center for Peace and Commerce; Jennifer Freeman, MA, associate director for the Women PeaceMakers Program, Joan B. Kroc School for Peace Studies; Dr. Mitch Malachowski, professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Arts and Sciences; Ian Martin, EdD, Counseling Program Director, School of Leadership and Education Sciences; Dr. Moriah Meyskens, professor of management, law and ethics, School of Business; Dr. Lance Nelson, professor of Theology and Religious Studies, College of Arts and Sciences; Daniel Orth, MA, Program Officer, Kroc School of Peace Studies; Maria Silva, MA, director of neighborhood and community engaged partnerships for the Mulvaney Center for Community Awareness and Social Action.

Past USD International Impact Award winners are: Yvette Fontaine, MEd (2013), Herbert "Bert" Lazerow, LLM, and Dr. Paula Cordeiro, EdD (2014); Cynthia Caywood, PhD, and Dee Aker, PhD (2015); James Bolender, PhD, and David Shirk, PhD (2016); and Michele Magnin, PhD, (2017).

— Ryan T. Blystone

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