A significant portion of the 2015 Global Perspectives Program has come to a close and yet the impact has not been fully realized.
Departing the Villa Maderni in Riva San Vitale Switzerland, the Virginia Tech participants head home and await the arrival of the University of Basel participants to Blacksburg and the culminating event at the Swiss Embassy in Washington DC. And of course, we look forward to these next events and further establishing connections with those who have become colleagues.
We exit individually to re-enter our professional and personal lives but we will always be a part of this group – GPP2015. During the days of GPP15, information was gathered and analyzed. Facts learned and recorded. Photos taken and posted. Tweets sent and blogs shared. Friendships formed. Future collaborations and collegial relationships considered. As academics and future faculty, we value these and appreciate the opportunity to do so.
The Future Professoriate: Global Perspectives Program is much more than the professional experiences and knowledge gained. It is also about intrapersonal and interpersonal growth, introspection and reflection. As I reflected on the experiences in the last ten years and especially this year, I kept thinking about vulnerability and the GPP moments that we experienced during the time we spent together. Not only does the program challenge us to learn to live with strangers, get out of our comfort zones, to face our biases and privilege openly and honesty and to deal with conflict and tensions but also provides a “safe” space in which these can occur. I observed this year that the “safe” space often evolved into a “brave” space which was safe and allowed for ideas, beliefs and hypotheses to be explored, critiqued and more fully developed. From those moments of vulnerability I could see the exploration and emergence of an authentic self. Inasmuch as authenticity is a valued characteristic of an effective and engaging faculty member, I’m pleased that the GPP experience can create a space for learning more about oneself and allowing oneself to be open to change.