She points to a four decades-old example of the
Voyager spacecraft mission that carried artifacts of human
achievement on board when it launched.
“These tokens of our collective human experience
were not limited to examples of technology and scientific
excellence alone, but included pieces by Bach and
North Indian classical music,” Bhattacharya says.
“My vision for this major is to similarly illuminate
CLA’s particular, and vital, contribution to global
knowledge and experience that complements Purdue’s
Global Studies majors will be prepared to pursue
careers in international development and diplomacy,
humanitarian work, journalism, teaching, social work,
public service and much more. Bhattacharya is happy to
cultivate the relationships built with other universities,
including programs in India, Egypt, and the United
Kingdom where students will be participating in study
abroad programs. She is visiting Delhi this summer
with one of her Global Studies students who is exploring
internship opportunities with two social justice groups
working with street children there. The first freshmen
recruited as Global Studies majors enrolled in fall 2016.
“An exposure to our world—in all its complexities,
flaws and inspirational moments—can only benefit our
students,” Bhattacharya says. “In Global Studies, we want
to recruit students who not only think outside the box, but
are ready to rebuild the box if need be.”
The Human Rights minor was championed by
Rebekah Klein-Pejsova, Christopher Yeomans, and Anne
Marie Claire as a way to empower Purdue students to do
more with their studies.
“Like everything else worth thinking about,
human rights are really hard,” says Yeomans, incoming
department head and professor of philosophy. “The
interdisciplinary nature of the program means that
students interested in human rights will learn about the
topic from a variety of perspectives.”
Innovating Undergraduate Education CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3
ith enrollment declines at many universities
and the value of liberal arts in question,
“Early in my tenure at Purdue, I called upon faculty
to elevate the reputation and impact of our college and to
redefine the liberal arts for the 21st century. Through the
Innovate program, we have seen just that,” says David A.
Reingold, Justin S. Morrill Dean of the College of Liberal
Arts. “With new majors, minors, and certificates, our
faculty have risen to the challenges facing the liberal arts
across the country and have developed programs that
will help our students move toward their personal and
The two-year-old Innovate program has produced a
new major in Global Studies, a minor in Human Rights, and
certificate programs in Environmental and Sustainability
Studies and Medical Humanities, which complement
existing certificate programs in Theater Lighting, Public
Policy, and Acting: Communication through Performance
as well as the new Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts.
An expanded view of the world
For Tithi Bhattacharya there was never a question of
whether or not Purdue should have a Global Studies major.
After all, the West Lafayette campus boasts one of the
largest populations of international students and faculty
among U.S. colleges.
When the Innovate funding became available, she
saw the opportunity to develop the Global Studies major
through a liberal arts framework.
“My starting point was that the College of Liberal
Arts has something unique to offer to our globalized
experience,” says Bhattacharya, director of Global Studies
and an associate professor of history.