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Global Connect: Temple Campuses Collaborate to Enhance Intercultural Learning

Since she first visited Temple Rome a few years ago, Art History Professor Deanna MacDonald, who teaches at Temple Japan, has wanted to collaborate with Temple Rome faculty. Thus she was thrilled when Mary Conran, Temple Rome’s chief academic officer, contacted her in 2018 about working together across these two global campuses.  

Through Conran she met Temple Rome professors, Nefeli Misuraca and Robert Huber, and set up a guest lecture exchange. These cross-campus exchanges offered “a treat for students and for us as we all transitioned to Zoom,” said MacDonald. 

Last academic year, students in MacDonald’s Italian Renaissance class joined a virtual architectural tour of Rome presented by Huber, and MacDonald is partnering with Misuraca to teach “Women and Art” simultaneously in Tokyo and Rome this fall. 

Recognizing the value of these types of exchanges, in Fall 2020, Education Abroad & Overseas Campuses, Temple Rome, Temple Japan, and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) worked together to create Global Connect, originally introduced as the International Collaboration Connection Program (ICCP).

“We really wanted to expand these opportunities across the university, to make it easier for faculty to connect with colleagues across campuses and around the world,” said Suzanne Willever, Associate Director for Education Abroad. 

The program was launched as part of a themed-week of virtual panels, “Global Reach, Global Teach,” for International Education Week (IEW).  Event panelists exchanged perspectives on issues dominating the world stage, such as social movements and managing the global pandemic. The “Global Reach, Global Teach” website showcased collaborations that were already underway. All together, this special week demonstrated the value of technology in fostering cross-campus connections and increasing access to long-term international learning. Global Connect aims to continue extending that reach.

In Spring 2021, over 30 faculty members were connected through the program with a colleague from abroad who was teaching a related topic. Each faculty member could decide how they would conduct their cross-campus lectures, discussions, critiques and more. Some opted to communicate live on Zoom while others continued conversations asynchronously online. 

“I really enjoyed the challenge of answering questions from students from a different part of the world,” said Jason Del Gandio, associate professor at Temple’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. “Given that my topic was social movements, trying to explain something like Black Lives Matter, and U.S. racism [to students from all over the globe], forced me to think on my feet.”

“Given that my topic was social movements, trying to explain something like Black Lives Matter, and U.S. racism [to students from all over the globe], forced me to think on my feet.”  

—Jason Del Gandio, associate professor at Temple’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication

Although working between time zones presented a challenge, faculty cooperated by giving late night lectures or by coming up with creative ways to present asynchronously, another demonstration of how technology can enhance connections across the globe. 

“I enjoyed the asynchronous discussion with TUJ students through the questions they posed via Canvas, after they participated in my asynchronous class,” said Marta Bordignon, instructor of the College of Liberal Arts in Rome, providing one such creative example. 

Program organizers hope to raise awareness about Global Connect, increase faculty participation and target underrepresented departments. Based on faculty feedback the program has two important additions for this year. First, faculty can now use the request form to connect with Temple’s other international partners through a parallel program facilitated by Sam Kelley, assistant director for Global Programs. Second, Global Connect now has a Canvas community for Temple faculty to share their course requests, resources and ideas.

Faculty are excited about the possibilities of the expanding program, such as enriching teaching and learning new global practices. Already this year, program organizers connected nearly 50 Temple faculty for the fall semester. Past participants will share their experiences during International Education Week 2021 (November 15-19).

Professor Ralph Young, known for his teach-ins, summed up the strong faculty appreciation of Global Connect by urging, “Keep making this guest lecture possibility available!”

Interested in connecting for Spring 2022 or a future term?

Visit to submit the request form and learn more about International Education Week 2021: Global Disruption, Global Solutions

For questions and to enroll in the Global Connect Canvas Community, contact: 
Suzanne Willever, PhD
Associate Director, Outreach and Academic Initiatives at Education Abroad & Overseas Campuses 

By Renata Buscher Kaminski, International Affairs Communications Intern
Illustration by Achi Peralta Espinal, International Affairs Graphic Design Intern

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