CLAAS Global Readiness Certificate Cohort Announced

Global Initiatives is pleased to introduce the latest Global Readiness Certificate Cohort, consisting of 11 students from the College of Liberal Arts and Applied Science.

The Global Readiness Certificate (GRC) combines Miami coursework, co-curricular activities, and community involvement focused on global readiness. The courses and experiences in this certificate program provide students with the knowledge, awareness, and skills necessary for global and intercultural communication and teamwork.

According to Program Coordinator Alicia Castillo Shrestha, there are now over 60 students in the program from four different cohorts including the College of Education, Health, and Society; Farmer School of Business; College of Arts and Science; and now, the College of Liberal Arts and Applied Sciences. 

Miami Regionals and the College of Liberal Arts and Applied Science house 12 academic departments and a variety of associate and bachelor's degrees that can be completed in their entirety in Middletown, Hamilton, the Voice of America Learning Center, or online. Although students commute to campus, the Global Readiness Certificate promises to enhance a sense of community and belonging. "It's been a pleasure working with students from the CLAAS and partnering with colleagues in Hamilton and Middletown to ensure students are able to access all of the wonderful resources that exist for them through this program," said Shrestha.

Student Perspectives

Students participated in an orientation program during the weekend of January 29-30, and took time to share some of the goals and experiences that led them to pursue the GRC.

For many students, career interests led them to apply for the GRC. Special Education major Lillie Baldwin (Class of 2025), who wants to teach visually-impaired students, knows of a professional in that field who teaches at different military bases around the world. "I plan to get my licensure and hope to also travel to different places to teach, so the GRC prepares me for that," she said.

Primary Education major and Linguistics minor Rachele “Shelly” Scott (Class of 2025) was also impressed by the way that the GRC could facilitate a future that would involve traveling to different countries to teach math, English, and history. She looks forward to the opportunity to connect with other people, as she had been accustomed to doing in high school before the pandemic.

About the Global Readiness Certificate

The Global Readiness Certificate is an innovative credential at Miami in that it combines coursework with co-curricular experiences, community engagement and education abroad into a unique and diverse learning environment for students.

Additionally, students benefit from a cohort model as they start the program with a group of their peers. However, the certificate itself is self-paced, so students are able to fit the requirements in on a timeline that works for their specific goals and graduation plan.

Students also benefit from the use of assessments and workshops that help give them the language and tools to gain or enhance their cultural consciousness and marketability as a global citizen.

Learn more about the Global Readiness Certificate

Scott also cited her current employment as a reason for her interest. "I have two jobs: in one I use American Sign Language (ASL) and in the other I work with many people who speak Spanish. I would like to grow from those environments, and the GRC provides a means for that," she said.

Upon the recommendation of her academic advisor, zoology major Fiorella “Fio” Zegarra (Class of 2025) applied for the GRC, recognizing that the concept and goals of the program were a good complement to her plans to become a wildlife veterinarian. "I would like to have the resources and skills to talk to colleagues from different countries and who speak different languages to collaborate in order to tend the animals," she said.

Zegarra, who comes to Miami from Peru, noted that her summer English Language Center (ELC) classes at the Regionals also contributed to her interest. "It was a cool experience to get to know people from other countries and do assignments with them," she said. "The GRC will give me more resources to know how to talk to people from other cultures."

Faculty and Administrator Perspectives

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveys employers across the country and asks them to rate the top qualities and skills that they seek in candidates, specifically new college hires. The ability to communicate with people inside and outside of the organization is always ranked very highly, as is the ability to work in teams. Faculty and administrators at the Regionals who are helping to launch the Global Readiness Certificate believe that it will indicate to employers that students have these highly-desired abilities.

Faculty Liaison for the Global Readiness Certificate, Caryn Neumann noted that the world is becoming both smaller and more diverse. "In today's workplace, a team may consist of members from different continents. A team will certainly consist of members from different cultures. It is critical for students to have a high degree of intercultural competency to be successful after graduation," she said.

Neumann believes that the GRC demonstrates why Miami is one of the top universities in the country. "We prepare students to be global leaders. In 2021, almost 2 million students earned a bachelor's degree. Students who want desirable jobs must find a way to stand out and this certificate helps them to do so, which is why I'm excited to be a part of it," she said.

According to Regional Assistant Dean for Academic Student Success Tonia Hyllengren, the vision statement of Empowering Minds, Strengthening Community makes the Miami Regionals an ideal place to locate a focused Global Readiness Certificate. She said, "A growing number of employment opportunities will require an understanding and appreciation of intercultural communications and awareness. Not only will Regional Campus students gain knowledge through the GRC curriculum, but they will also share it with other students and the local communities where they live and work."

Who's Next?

The next launch will be with the College of Creative Arts. Current first years will be able to apply in the fall of 2022. "Our goal is to have cohorts with each college or school within Miami so that students from any major can obtain this innovative and relevant credential as a means to showcase their skill and interest in leading and excelling in intercultural and global arenas," said Shrestha.

Introducing the Spring 2022 GRC Cohort

Lillie Baldwin
Geneva Combs
Lauren Coviello
Jacob Gainey
Karla Garcia Cardenas
Marisa Kelley
Stephanie Kennedy
Dongqi Pan
Deja Reid
Shelly Scott
Fiorella Zegarra