Integrating Global Awareness

Indira Nair is the keynote speaker at USF’s first Global Citizenship Conference Aug. 22.


By Barbara Melendez

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 21, 2012) – Globalization is a term bandied about these days, but what does it really mean, especially to students at the University of South Florida?


The university’s 2012 Global Citizenship Conference, sponsored by Undergraduate Studies and the General Education Council, should provide some answers when it takes place Wednesday, Aug. 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the School of Music Conference Center (MUS).


The conference features a special guest who is eminently qualified to lead the discussion – Indira Nair. She is currently the chair of the Global Learning Leadership Council of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and serves as a consultant to the National Science Foundation's Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering.  Now retired, she served as Vice Provost for education emeritus and professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University.


An invitation-only event, faculty, staff and students involved in global learning or the Global Citizenship General Education Program were asked to attend along with those others in the university community who expressed an interest in joining this first global citizenship conference.

The day of exploring ways to enhance undergraduates’ understanding of global issues will offer ways to cultivate their skills and knowledge of the global arena and their place in it.  

“General education courses and majors at USF abound with opportunities to integrate a global perspective into nearly every discipline and across disciplines,” said Undergraduate Studies Dean W. Robert Sullins. “Our goal is to get everyone thinking about all the possibilities inherent in whatever they’re doing.  Dr. Nair has been making those kinds of connections for quite some time.”

Nair’s research and teaching have focused on environmental science, policy and individual decision making as well as green design and the risks of low-frequency electric and magnetic fields. She has also been concerned with engineering education and assessment, education and pedagogies for scientific, environmental and global literacies as well as engineering and environmental ethics.

“Dr. Nair’s career has been devoted to developing global citizens with a sense of integrity and responsibility through interdisciplinary courses she designed and taught.  Her perspective is in synch with our direction here at USF and we know she will deliver an important message to our attendees,” Sullins said.

Honored both nationally and internationally, including being awarded the Barbara Lazarus Award for Culture and Climate, Nair is co-author of Journeys of Women in Science and Engineering: No Universal Constants and was voted a Women of Distinction in 1999 by the National Association of Women in Higher Education (NAWE). Nair received the Doherty Prize for excellence in education in 1993 and the Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring Award in 1994. She is the founder of Carnegie Mellon’s chapter of Student Pugwash USA. SPUSA was founded in 1979 to promote social responsibility in science and technology. It is the U.S. student affiliate of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. 

“Our conference was initiated as a way to help accelerate university-wide momentum around global learning in undergraduate education,” said Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor of Music Education Janet Moore. “We hope to clarify what it means to be a global citizen. This is a new initiative with ongoing objectives, and we hope to have more global citizenship conferences for informing the university community on this initiative in the future.”

For information about future conference, call Undergraduate Studies at (813) 974-4051.

Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563.