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'Critical Encounters with Globalization' Explores Issues That Impact Ferris

pictureBIG RAPIDS – Ferris State University is part of a bigger world that Rebecca Sammel, an assistant professor in the department of Languages and Literature, hopes to introduce Ferris students to this month.

Sammel is project leader for “Critical Encounters with Globalization,” a speaker series geared toward the Ferris and Big Rapids communities. This one-hour series installment is set for 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, in the Interdisciplinary Resource Center Auditorium, room 120. Lars Rensmann, a professor at the University of Michigan, is the featured speaker on the topic of “Diversity, Cosmopolitanism and Counter-Cosmopolitanism in the European Union.” A follow-up reception and panel discussion, that is open to the public, takes place later in the day from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in IRC 109 with refreshments provided.

The mission of the series is to bring experts from industry and academia to Ferris for informative presentations, lively panel discussions and engaging dialog, Sammel said. As project leader, she encourages instructors to use such events as part of their courses to provide students with a more active, critical thinking and engaged educational experience.

“My plan is to bring speakers to campus, to ask my colleagues to bring their students to presentations and to provide instructional materials for integrating the event into any course,” she explained. “We will also invite students to speak to our classrooms, to engage with a peer who has experienced something of the world. Students might relate better to a peer than to a professor.”

While real-world experience in the field is preferable, Sammel realizes such an opportunity is not always financially possible for students. A speaker series like this one helps bring the field to Ferris students.

“If a depressed economy precludes our students from traveling the world, ‘Critical Encounters with Globalization’ will bring the world to them,” said Sammel, who emphasized that video recordings of events can be provided and are playable on FerrisConnect. “This pilot project, dedicated to student engagement in world issues will open windows on the world for Ferris students and make them aware of both problems and opportunities beyond Michigan.”

Critical Encounters with Globalization is one of four ongoing projects of the Globalization Initiative, which involves a large, interdisciplinary group of faculty, staff and students at Ferris, Sammel said. She added, “Our mission is exploring as a community the complex phenomena of globalization, with its challenges, opportunities and its impact on Ferris.

These events are sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning at Ferris.

For more information, contact Sammel at (231) 591-3073 or