The Quality Enhancement Plan: Enhancing the Global Competence of Morehouse Students


Objective A. Background

The world has always faced the challenges of war, preservation of the environment, and the maintenance of stable societies.  The re-occurring nature of these challenges requires each generation to bring its knowledge, skills, wisdom and understanding to meet them.

The United States is presently at war. Many conclude that this war represents a “clash of civilizations” that presages increased conflict as the century unfolds. Preservation of the environment has never been more critical in the face of “global warming”, which threatens to disrupt the earth’s habitat. The emergence of new technologies, which reduce barriers to economic interaction among nation states has accelerated the pace of globalization, and presents both challenges and opportunities for development.

Many authors have commented on these challenges. However, three observers are particularly insightful and prophetic.  Martin Luther King Jr. on war and peace, Al Gore on global warming and Thomas Freidman on economic globalization.   

We have inherited a large house, a great world house, in which we have to live together -  black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Moslem and Hindu -  a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.
Martin Luther King Jr.  

Excerpt from “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community”

We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency – a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here. But there is hopeful news as well: we have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst – though not all – of its consequences, if we act boldly, decisively and quickly.

Al Gore                                                                      

 Excerpt from the Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Economic competition in the flat world will be more intense. We Americans will have to work harder, run faster, and become smarter to make sure we get our share. But let us not underestimate our strengths or the innovation that could explode from the flat world when we really do connect all the knowledge centers together. On such a flat earth, the most important attribute you can have is creative imagination – the ability to be the first on your block to figure out how all these enabling tools can be put together in new and exciting ways to create products, communities, opportunities and profits.
Thomas Friedman
Excerpt from The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century           

The famous quote, “We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men," best describes the imperative of higher education At the dawn of the 21st Century we must recognize the interconnectedness and interdependence of all human beings and educate ourselves accordingly. Although all educational levels have important roles to play, higher education has a role in providing leaders who will understand the critical issues and provide visionary leadership to solve global problems.

In Educating for Global Competence, the American Council for Education implores that, “America’s future depends upon our ability to develop a citizenry that is globally competent.”

Additionally, a report from the NASULGC Task Force on International Education provides four good reasons to internationalize:

For our Students internationalization helps them to develop the global critical thinking essential to contributing as citizens of the world and competing in the international marketplace.

For our Communities internationalization links them to the world, expanding opportunities for university service and engagement while also enhancing their global competitiveness.

For our Nation internationalization contributes to national security and a vital economy, and prepares future world leaders who know and value American democracy.

For our Institutions internationalization enlivens faculty scholarship and teaching, expands research opportunities, and provides a pathway to national and international distinction.

Over the past two decades, colleges and universities have responded to the need to increase their international activities. These activities include enhancing traditional study abroad programs, establishing new educational sites abroad, expanding foreign language programs, developing new courses with international emphasis, and supporting more faculty and student research projects focused on international subjects.

While these approaches have produced tangible results on many campuses, the American Council on Education, A Handbook for Advancing Comprehensive Internationalization: What Institutions Can Do and What Students Should Learn, advanced the idea and strategy of an approach to internationalization that:

  • Integrates an approach to address both programmatic inputs and student outcomes
  • Articulate internationalization as an institutional goal
  • Develop plans based on current efforts
  • Make the whole greater than the sum of its parts by creating synergy among diverse internationalization initiatives across the institution.

This comprehensive internationalization approach is the basis for a systematic and strategic planning process created by the Morehouse community of faculty, staff and students toward achieving internationalization of the College, and enhancing the global competence of its students.  

B. Institutional Capability and Commitment

The mission of Morehouse College is to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service. Founded in 1867, and located in Atlanta, Georgia, the school’s primary purpose was to prepare black men for the ministry and teaching. Today, the College enjoys an international reputation for producing leaders who have influenced national and world history.

In 1940, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, assumed the presidency of Morehouse, and is recognized as the architect of Morehouse’s international reputation for excellence in scholarship, leadership and service. A nationally noted educator and a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., Mays was influential as an international theologian and civil rights activist.

During his tenure the College earned global recognition as scholars from other countries joined the faculty, more
international students enrolled, and fellowship and scholarships for study abroad became available.

Merrill Scholars 

In the mid 1950s, Morehouse started a study abroad program named for the benefactor of the program, Mr. Charles Merrill. Merrill, a Morehouse trustee, endowed this scholarship for the purpose of sending three-four Morehouse students a year to study at the finest universities in Europe. The chosen students, who were selected by a faculty committee, represented the crème de la crème at Morehouse. Many Morehouse faculty were also provided semester abroad scholarships during this same period. Although this program has been discontinued, the impetus it gave provided grounding in international studies that led to the development of future programming.

Through the years the College has instituted many programs with an international focus. However, they have not been intentionally coordinated with a specific focus upon student learning outcomes. This QEP process now affords an opportunity for the College to make good on its tremendous potential for internationalization.  Among the College’s assets for achieving excellence in scholarship, leadership and service, are the following: The Martin Luther King International Chapel, The Leadership Center, and the Andrew Young Center for International Affairs. These three Centers will play a critical role in the College’s goal of internationalization.   


Nationally Competitive International Scholarships and Fellowships

Morehouse students in the past three decades have been successful in
competing for prestigious international scholarships and fellowships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Truman, Luard, Luce, Pickering, Woodrow Wilson, Compton, and Semester at Sea. Morehouse is the first HBCU (1994) to produce an African American Rhodes Scholar.

Martin Luther King International Chapel

Established in 1978, the "Martin Luther King International Chapels purpose is to teach and promote citizenship, virtue, curiosity, dialogue, ethics, equality and engagement. It is to demonstrate the interdisciplinary foundations of a learned ecumenical Christian ministry for the world; to create spiritual realization through value-centered theologically based faith; and to inspire the communitarian development of servant scholars as visionary human rights revolutionists and social gospel activists coming from a place of Gandhian non-violence and political personalism. This is Martin Luther King’s informed service-oriented way to dialectically grow, personally and globally, into democracy’s dignity and destiny, ensuring that piety never will be divorced from the intellect.

Often referred as the largest classroom on campus, the chapel was designed to seat the entire student body. It is a place where the College welcomes and honors distinguished global citizens who embody the vision of peace and a commitment to social justice.

The Leadership Center

The Leadership Center, established in 1998, is charged with training a new generation of leaders to address pressing contemporary ethical and social concerns within a national and global context. The ethical model employed embodies cultivation of character (integrity, empathy and hope), civility (recognition, respect, and reverence) and community (compassion, justice and courage) – primary values in the Morehouse leadership tradition. Distinctive in its capacity to provide leadership education, research and training, the Center offers students rich and diverse experiences- from lectures, skills training and discussions with world-class leaders, to mentoring internship and travel opportunities. 

Andrew Young Center for International Studies

The Andrew Young Center for International Studies at Morehouse was established in 1993 as the Center for International Studies. It was renamed the Andrew Young Center for International Affairs in a ceremony held in March 1998. The Center has a mission to create an institutional culture of internationalism through its programming, which includes lecture series programs, study abroad programs, exchange programs, and student service programs.

Foreign Language Degree Programs 

The College offers Foreign Language Degree Programs in the following languages: Chinese, German, Spanish, and French.  Majors in Japanese and Latin are coordinated with Spelman College.

International Programs

The College offers International Programs in the following areas: International Studies/ Political Science and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

International/Intercultural Campus Events

The following international/intercultural events are offered annually: Africa Awareness Week, International Week, and Crown Forum.

A detailed Inventory of Internationalization at Morehouse is presented which summarizes the above.    

President Franklin’s Vision of Internationalization

On September 20 2007, Morehouse inaugurated the tenth President of Morehouse College, Dr. Robert Michael Franklin. Dr. Franklin, a noted theologian, immediately embraced the College’s efforts toward internationalization and articulated his commitment in his first convocation speech. His vision is that “Morehouse will become a global resource for educated and ethical leaders.” (Dr. Franklin’s speech)

C.  The Development of the Quality Enhancement Plan

From the foregoing, it would appear that the idea of internationalization was the College’s initial choice for the theme of its Quality Enhancement Plan. In fact, this theme evolved from a deliberate and inclusive process that involved faculty, staff and administrators.

Evolution of the Plan

On July 7, 2004, Dr. Willis Sheftall, convened a meeting of faculty and staff to discuss possible topics for the QEP (minutes of the July 7 and July 22 meetings). Thirteen topics emerged for consideration.  In September, 2005 a
small SACS Working Group was organized to develop an approach to reaffirmation of accreditation, which included providing leadership for developing the QEP. This small group, chaired by Dr. Ron Sheehy, SACS liaison, recommended surveying the faculty and staff in regard to the 13 topics previously developed. 

The results of the survey indicated substantial agreement among faculty and staff regarding the top four topics:

1.  Provide students with opportunities for participation in scholarly activities
2. Promote leadership development through values education and character development.
3. Advance internationalizing the curriculum
4. Enhance the academic advising process

Following this result, the faculty and staff were surveyed again to determine if there was agreement on any one topic - reduced to 1, 2, and 3. Topic 4 was eliminated from consideration by the SACS working group. The result of this survey indicated that over 70% of the faculty wanted the QEP to simultaneously address leadership, scholarship and international. The term “Global Citizenship” was later substituted for international. (Survey).

In order to develop this plan, three task forces were established: Global Scholarship, Global Leadership and Global Citizenship. The task forces were charged with approaching these subjects in the broadest possible context (membership list). The chairs of the task forces constituted a steering committee for the development of the QEP, chaired by Dr. Ron Sheehy. After three or four meetings in the Fall semester, the Steering Committee recommended, following consultation with each task force committee, that internationalization become the theme
of the QEP, and that scholarship, leadership, and citizenship remain as sub-components of the theme – in keeping with the Morehouse traditions in these subject areas. 

Three goals were established to guide the work of each task force.

Each task force was charged with developing at least seven programmatic objectives, which would accomplish the goal of the task force. At a second retreat (retreat agenda), the task forces, now acting as a consolidated committee, reduced twenty-one objectives to eight programmatic objectives. The resulting goals and objectives are as follows:

QEP Goals and Objectives

I.  To develop broad-based knowledge of global and international issues in all disciplines, including general education.

     A.To infuse global learning in the disciplines and general education through the development and assessment of global learning outcomes.

     B.To develop student capacity for undertaking scholarship in global studies through research and inquiry.

     C.To increase faculty engagement in international studies from an interdisciplinary perspective (political, economic, cultural, environmental,    etc.).   

II.  To provide experiences that will enhance the understanding of other cultures and nations.

     A.To enhance and expand the campus influence of the W.E.B. Du Bois International House as a living-learning center.

     B.To develop and initiate a comprehensive plan for international student recruitment, retention, and graduation.

     C.To develop a plan to increase the number of Morehouse students applying for study abroad and to establish a Morehouse Education Abroad Program.

III.   To develop the attitudes and values that will enable Morehouse students to lead in the nation and the world.

      A.To develop a certificate based training program in global leadership.

      B.To enhance Crown Forum as a primary institutional venue for inculcating core values of the College.

A task force, including a chair, was assigned to develop the program components of each objective.  (See membership list associated with each objective.)

A few months later, a second retreat was held (retreat agenda), where the task forces were asked to present preliminary details of the programmatic elements they developed. The chairs, following this retreat, were asked to provide details in writing of the programmatic elements, including a description, time line, assessment plan, and budget (writing guidelines).

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