Federal grant aims to enhance global competencies across curriculum 

Federal grant aims to enhance global competencies across curriculum 

Aug. 27, 2020

Maryville College recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) program to enhance global competencies across the curriculum.

“This grant will allow Maryville College to find new, innovative ways to prepare students for the interconnected world we live in,” said Kirsten Sheppard, director of international education at MC.

The 2-year, $200,000 grant will allow the College to develop a Global+ program (Global+ means infusing global competencies) that aims to strengthen undergraduate instruction in international studies and foreign language – with an emphasis on Spanish – at Maryville College by increasing global/intercultural competencies across the curriculum.

The Global+ program will: strengthen and expand the curriculum in international studies and foreign languages through integration with other disciplines; develop and enhance global competencies among faculty and their ability to develop integrated courses; and engage students in acquisition of global competencies.

“Maryville College has a long history and commitment to international studies and foreign languages,” the grant proposal states. “The College has a rich heritage of intercultural and international engagement. For 200 years, it has intentionally educated its students to be citizens of the world.”

Today, Maryville College has majors in international business, international studies and Spanish – all of which have a required study abroad component – and minors in international studies, Spanish, German and Japanese (with additional study in French, Chinese and Italian). Many courses in a variety of majors include an international focus or component.

Maryville College’s Center for International Education, which supports the academic and personal development of students wishing to study abroad and works with international students coming to study at MC, offers a variety of options for studying, interning or volunteering abroad. Faculty-led travel-study courses enable students to experience another culture.

“While the COVID-19 situation is putting a pause on international travel, developing global competencies can be accomplished in alternative ways,” said Dr. Lori Schmied, chair of the International Programming Committee, professor of psychology and project director for the grant. “The grant will help support students to acquire these competencies, whether in the classroom, interactions with students from diverse backgrounds, through an internship with an organization with a global footprint, or eventually, when travel resumes, through experiencing other parts of the world directly.”

As part of the Global+ program, faculty coordinators and affiliated faculty and staff will integrate functions of the existing programs and promote global competencies across the curriculum and co-curriculum. Maryville College’s international studies and Spanish majors will be redesigned to allow for easier integration with the core curriculum and other majors, and new Global+ courses will be developed that integrate international studies or Spanish with other disciplinary course content. Applied language options, such as courses in translation/ interpretation and Spanish for business, also will be developed.

Additionally, the Global+ program will include the development of a six-week summer travel-study program, as well as a certificate program in global competency to allow students from any major to achieve global fluency while pursuing their chosen field. The certificate will include coursework, study abroad and co-curricular activities designed to increase global competencies in cross-cultural and language fluency.


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”