GPI to give a ‘snapshot’ of students’ global perspectives

By Kasie Von Haden

Lumen Editor

The Global Perspectives Inven­tory (GPI), a national inventory de­veloped by the Global Perspectives Institute, will soon be sent out to all students, faculty, and employees of Viterbo, Naomi Stennes-Spidahl, director of assessment and institu­tional research, told Lumen.

“The GPI will provide the in­stitution with a snapshot of where we are with global perspectives,” Stennes-Spidahl said.

The GPI, which will be released Wednesday, Feb. 15 and remain open until mid-March, contains 65 items, and should take only take between 15-20 minutes to complete, Stennes-Spidahl said.

“The inventory will ask questions in three domains,” she said. “They relate to the cognitive dimension, asking, ‘How do I know?’; the in­trapersonal dimension, asking ‘Who am I?’; and the interpersonal dimen­sion, asking ‘How do I relate to oth­ers?’”

Some questions will also relate to demographic and biographic infor­mation and curricular and co-curric­ular involvements.

“This isn’t a test,” Stennes-Spi­dahl said. “It’s designed to be taken quickly and answered with what comes to mind – a snapshot. There are no right or wrong answers.”

The reasons for promoting the GPI are based both on personal re­flection and institutional assess­ment.

“The GPI isn’t a reaction to any happening or event,” Stennes-Spi­dahl said. “It’s a good chance to be proactive and step back, reflect, and ask questions. In part, it will be used to understand our learning com­munity and gage where we are with global perspectives and use the data for a path of continuous improve­ment.”

The timing of the GPI is also good, Stennes-Spidahl said.

“There are several initiatives to increase diversity and intercul­tural understanding on campus,” Stennes-Spidahl said. “This includes the core curriculum, intercultural knowledge, and social justice.”

“We want to get a baseline of where we are for the new general education program,” Glena Temple, dean of the school of letters and sci­ences, told Lumen. “A major com­ponent of the new general education program is the four required semi­nars, with one focused on ‘living in a diverse world,’ and we want to get some baseline data prior to full implementation of this new gen­eral education structure through the Global Perspectives Inventory.”

“We also have another initiative to increase the number of interna­tional students on campus,” Temple said. “We also hope to increase the diversity of students from within the United States.”

“This is something the faculty are passionate about,” Temple contin­ued.

Faculty members aren’t the only ones who are interested in under­standing global perspectives.

Nikki Fanta, a junior Spanish ed­ucation major from Hillsboro, Wis., and a member of Student Organi­zation Advocating Human Rights (SOAHR), also promotes global awareness and understanding and for students to take the GPI.

“The GPI is a great way to get stu­dents and faculty to focus on their role in a global society,” Fanta told Lumen. “We often get caught up in our busy, everyday lives in our own little bubbles and fail to recognize the diversity around us in the out­side world. By taking a little time to complete this survey, we can recog­nize our own global awareness, re­flect upon what we know and what we have yet to learn and decipher our relationship with others in soci­ety.”

Over 100,000 people have already taken the GPI across the United States, Stennes-Spidahl said.

“Because people have already taken the GPI, we will have data that we can compare with students of similar institutions to Viterbo,” she continued. “This will allow us to look for any ‘norms.’”

“As college students from the Midwest, there are so many things that we just take for granted as be­ing the ‘norm,’” Fanta said. “But, as we go forth in life and meet people who challenge our norms, it’s im­portant to understand and respect their perspectives as well. That’s why it’s extremely important for students to increase their global awareness and understand global perspectives as they prepare to enter the ‘real world.’’’

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