Support for faculty and students whose work advances global perspectives is one of the primary goals of the Center for Global Studies. Through workshops, symposia, and grants, the CGS hopes to foster cross-disciplinary dialogues that creatively address global issues. In addition, the CGS invites visiting scholars to participate in these discussions.

Our 2014-18 cycle will be framed by the concept of crossing boundariesbuilding bridges. We aim to cross academic and geographic boundaries as well as institutional ones to create innovative and meaningful knowledge of the global world. This means that each of our strategic initiatives aims to cross the boundaries that frame global studies while focusing on building lasting and meaningful educational experiences and research outcomes that can have measurable impact.

To do this the CGS will focus on three core themes that tie directly to strategic university initiatives and that promise to build on existing institutional support and ongoing commitments. Concentrating on the themes of sustainabilitysocial justice, and ethical leadership, the CGS aims to ensure that these topics are considered within a global context and with the cross-disciplinary insights of global studies research. These cross-disciplinary teaching, outreach, and research areas will allow for sustained and engaged dialogues on issues of vital importance to understanding key global issues facing all regions across the world. Real academic advancement on these themes requires that they “cross boundaries and build bridges” and take into account the way that these ideas are interconnected and interdependent. Thus, our fourth themeglobal intersections, promotes activities that bring our three main themes into productive, critical conversation, emphasizing the need to consider these issues with the benefit of scholarly insights from a range of different disciplines.


Social Justice

Social justice has built momentum at Penn State as a core area of research and teaching. The CGS initiative will be dedicated to ensuring that social justice is understood as a global project with local impact and global implications.


Penn State’s vision is to embed sustainability as a fundamental value at the University through the development of sustainability literacy, solutions, and leadership. The CGS research team, led bywill focus on highlighting the need to understand sustainability as a global challenge that requires cross-cultural awareness. The team will also work to advance the notion that sustainability requires building collaborative research groups that have scientific knowledge alongside expertise in global perspectives, international policy, and geopolitical dynamics.

Ethical Leadership

The CGS research initiative in ethical leadership involves a partnership between the CGS and Penn State’s Rock Ethics Institute. Our collaborative efforts will focus on ethical leadership in a global context and will build off of existing Rock projects.

Global Intersections

The fourth research theme, global intersections, is dedicated to supporting our motto of crossing boundaries, building bridges by supporting events, research projects, and academic collaboration that recognizes that social justice, sustainability, and ethical leadership are interconnected concepts. Only truly meaningful cross-disciplinary research and teaching can hope to address these global challenges. Led by CGS Director, Sophia McClennen, who works across many of these fields, this research collaboration will host at least one major annual event per year that offers opportunities for dialogue and debate about these issues. In addition, she will coordinate specific research-intensive activities that can improve the ways that these issues are discussed in the public. The goal will be to advance knowledge of these pressing global issues while making those advances accessible to the broader public.