UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD’s Office of International Affairs Launches Global Learning Initiatives

UMD’s Office of International Affairs Launches Global Learning Initiatives


College Park, Md–November 1, 2022: The University of Maryland (UMD) Office of International Affairs (OIA) is excited to announce the launch of the office of Global Learning Initiatives (GLI). The mission of this new branch of OIA is to support UMD schools, colleges, units and programs with advancing global learning for all of their students in a way that aligns with their mission, values, and aspirations, as well as with Fearlessly Forward

“An exciting aspect of Fearlessly Forward is that its four strategic commitments–reimagining learning, taking on grand challenges, investing in people and communities, and developing partnerships–range from local to global in their scale of impact,” said Ross D. Lewin, Associate Vice President for International Affairs.

The establishment of GLI builds on UMD’s ongoing success with global learning via study abroad programs, more than 50 Global Classrooms, the Global Fellows Program, Engineers Without Borders, Public Health Beyond Borders, as well as UMD’s globally-oriented living-learning communities and global Business and Engineering competitions. GLI will particularly focus on global learning at home, i.e., on our campus and in the region, to close the gap on preparing all of our students to respond to globalization.

The GLI office aims to significantly scale up global learning in the UMD community with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the center of the endeavor. The first step is to work with interested academic units to develop “Global Learning for All” strategic plans to educate students on systemic injustice at a global scale. The second is to organize and implement workshops and training opportunities, drawing on experts from on campus and off, to assist academic units to adopt best practices in global learning. The third main activity of GLI is to work with academic units on a consultative basis to further advance global learning from content development to global partnership development and assessment. 

OIA’s Dr. Raluca Nahorniac will serve as director of GLI. Her previous projects include leadership of the Global Classrooms initiative, bringing international education to students at home and abroad. Dr. Taylor Woodman, who successfully led the implementation of the OIA Design Sprints and was co-architect of the successful Global Classrooms Fellows workshops, will serve as associate director for Faculty Global Engagement in GLI.

“The Global Learning Initiatives office supports our faculty as they advance humanity; it also prepares the next generation to do the same,” shared Dr. Nahorniac. “Through global learning, students will develop greater empathy with and contextual understanding about others by partnering and learning from people whose voices have historically not been heard.”

This news comes in the wake of OIA’s receipt of a 2022 Fearlessly Forward Reinventing Teaching & Learning Grant, which allows OIA to continue to scale up global learning at UMD in alignment with the university’s strategic goals. With this grant, OIA and the Global Learning Initiatives team are facilitating the design of universal global learning modules, centered around justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, which will be piloted across five academic units in the Spring 2023 semester.  

About the Office of International Affairs: 

The University of Maryland’s Office of International Affairs (OIA) works to create and sustain opportunities across the University that address global challenges, foster inclusivity, and bring out the best in humanity. OIA works to support international research collaborations, create project-based global learning opportunities, reimagine global engagement for the virtual space, and develop innovative programming for faculty and students.