Global & Environmental Certificate Program Expands Scope

Student interest in pursuing a Global & Environmental Studies Certificate at Loomis Chaffee has grown since the program’s inception six years ago, prompting expansion of the program’s scope to reflect its popularity and continued evolution, according to Meg Blunden Stoecklin, associate director of the Alvord Center for Global & Environmental Studies.

The program, administered by the Alvord Center, recognizes coursework, extracurricular engagement, travel, and experiential learning focused on developing students’ understanding of world cultures and the environment. To earn the certificate, students must complete six or more Loomis Chaffee courses with the Global & Environmental Studies designation in at least two different departments; language study through the fourth-year level; participation in an off-campus travel program of two weeks or longer; involvement in Loomis extracurricular activities with international, multicultural, or environmental focuses; participation in six Global & Environmental Studies Seminar sessions; and a presentation of a capstone paper or project.

New to the certificate program this year, the 39 enrolled seniors will create digital portfolios to showcase their global learning experiences. The digital portfolios will help students understand “who they are” as global citizens and consider how they will use what they have learned, Meg said. The large group was split into two cohorts this year to ensure active, engaged, and collaborative learning at the evening senior seminar sessions.

In another program enhancement initiated this year, each of the six seminars addresses a theme associated with a signature program or initiative on campus. For the first session in September, students worked with Writing Initiatives faculty on a writing challenge focused on this year’s school theme of “Belonging.” In October, after the school hosted a U. S. Naturalization Ceremony on campus, Eric LaForest, Keller Family Director of the Norton Family Center for the Common Good, moderated the senior cohorts in discussions of identity and the citizenship process. At the December seminar the two cohorts completed a design-thinking challenge to address plastics waste on campus, led by Pearse Hub for Innovation faculty Jen Solomon and Scott MacClintic ’82; Jeff Dyreson, associate director of the Alvord Center and director of environmental/sustainability initiatives; and student environmental proctors.

Future seminars are planned for January, February, and April, and the program will culminate in the presentation of student capstone projects and the awarding of certificates at a ceremony prior to Commencement in May.

For more information about the certificate program and Loomis’ other global and environmental educational programs, connect to the Alvord Center webpage.