UCA offers students the EDGE

UCA’s College of Liberal Arts is introducing a new initiative called EDGE — EDucating for Global Engagement — that offers five primary components for students:

1) An expanding global curriculum 2) Study abroad opportunities; 3) Undergraduate research projects; 4) Internships; and 5) Service learning courses.

These areas of interest address how, why, and what students learn, and more importantly, how their education enables them to engage in the debate on global understanding.

“Students today expect opportunities to extend their education with internships, study abroad, service learning and unique undergraduate research projects, said Dr. Peter Mehl, associate dean of UCA’s College of Liberal Arts. “Our EDGE plan is a major step toward developing these opportunities for all students in the college.”As EDGE prepares UCA students for today’s rapidly changing professional contexts and the global economy, three benefits are noted:

* Becoming a “citizen of the world” through an education that expands their understanding of America and the world; an education that prepares them for participation in a global world.
* Developing their intellectual capacities through an education in the arts of inquiry: critical thinking, historical research, analysis of data and creative discovery.
* Opportunities to participate in “outside-the-classroom” active learning experiences. Such experiences help them see how classroom learning connects to the real world, to their lives and future professions.

“EDGE is an exciting program not only for our majors but for all students enrolled in the college, because it enables the professor and student to engage in a substantive dialogue about the importance of the general education courses taken as they relate to the broader career goals and how best to achieve these goals,” said Dr. Maurice Lee, dean of UCA’s College of Liberal Arts. “Students thus are able to take an active part in their education by identifying specific tasks that help them achieve the desired goals. The ability of students to understand the purpose and function of global education becomes clearer; more importantly, they understand the process of achieving global understanding.”

UCA’s College of Liberal Arts EDGE plan provides the globally informed knowledge and skills needed to flourish in the 21st century professional world:

* Employers want students who know about our world, who are informed about the role of the United States in the world, and who are well versed in cultural values and traditions.
* Employers also want the transferable skills that a liberal education imparts: written and verbal communication, the ability to think through complex problems and create solutions, to work well with others, and to adapt to a rapidly changing workplace.
* Finally, with its focus on applying knowledge and skills to real world contexts, the EDGE plan helps students prepare for emerging professions in our global economy.

UCA’s College of Liberal Arts offers a wide variety of academic programs, including: anthropology, African/African-American studies, Asian studies, Chinese, English, environmental science, French, geography, German, gender studies, history, international studies, Japanese, Latin American studies, philosophy, political science, public administration, religious studies, social studies education, sociology, Southern and Arkansas studies, and Spanish. Advanced graduate study is also offered in English, diverse literatures, history, Spanish and geographic information systems. Additionally, the Humanities and World Cultures Institute, established in 2002, which is part of the CLA, houses the only Asian Studies Center in the region.

Traditionally, the liberal arts referred to areas of learning necessary for men and women to intelligently navigate their personal and social life and play a significant role in the world. But today, a liberal arts degree ensures broad knowledge, develops the arts of inquiry, and cultivates social and personal responsibility through engaged learning both inside and outside the classroom. EDGE ensures students that a liberal arts degree at UCA has prepared them to engage in a global discussion about knowledge and change.