One year in: Grading the IGC


At The Mac Weekly, we have been skeptical of the Institute for Global Citizenship. Since its founding, the Institute has always seemed too removed from the average student’s activities. Its mission was ambiguous and its notable neglect of multiculturalism early on was cause for concern. One year after it moved into its permanent home in Markim Hall, we see some promising signs.On April 8 the IGC hosted its fourth Civic Forum. The John B. Davis Lecture hall was filled to overflow, the presenters were excellent, and the community was treated to a stimulating exercise in thinking about pressing current issues. The success of the program is evident through the turnout and the continuing conversation in our classes, and suggests ways to improve the International Roundtable, which is a non-event for most of the student body. Unlike the Roundtable, the Civic Forum is brief, fits well with student schedules, and features more than just token student participation.

Another step forward is the Live It! Fund, organized by the IGC Student Council. Nine students will complete six projects this summer, bankrolled by $25,000. The fund represents an opportunity for students to embody the lofty values listed in IGC promotional materials with concrete action.

There is more work still to do. Academically, the IGC has yielded little in tangible results on lives of students or professors. The Global Citizenship concentration is a nice touch, but in no way comes close to making full use of the IGC’s potential to link departments and advance scholarship on campus.

The opportunity presented by the coming resignation of Dean Ahmed Samatar should not be taken lightly. Provost Kathleen Murray and President Brian Rosenberg should fill the position with an academic or administrator with a track record of innovation, ability to work across differences and disciplines, and a true passion for Macalester’s mission. After years of rhetorical and financial investment in the IGC, the success of the college is now inextricably tied to the Institute. It demands a strong, engaged leader.

The opinions expressed above are those of The Mac Weekly, as determined by the staff. The perspectives are not representative of Macalester College.