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Global Focus Program: 2016-2017 “Year of Canada”

Year of Canada
More than ever, the world is becoming an increasingly close social and economic global entity. Today’s students need to be well prepared to function and thrive within the context of the global economy. At Chatham, students get a leg up on their competition on this front thanks in part to the University’s award-winning Global Focus Program.

Launched in 1995, the Global Focus Program concentrates on one country, region or subject of global relevance each year, inviting the university community to study that country or subject through coursework, class assignments, campus events, community activities, overseas travels, co-curricular initiatives and service learning projects.

“When you are a Chatham undergrad, you do your four years here and get your bachelor’s degree, but you’ve also gained pretty deep knowledge of the culture, economics, and history of four countries or regions of the world,” said Dr. Jean-Jacques Sène, Ph.D., assistant professor of history and Global Focus Coordinator.

O Canada
The Global Focus Program has designated 2016-2017 the Year of Canada.  The second largest country in the world by size, with a history of relatively peaceful relations between First Nations and Euro-descendants, Canada’s standing in the global arena will only grow as the economic and strategic stakes centered around the Northwest Passage become more urgent.

The Global Focus program has two main criteria in selecting its yearly theme, according to Dr. Sène. “Number one it has to be a place that has some ‘clout’ in the world. Canada achieves that because of its First Nation status, the Northwest Passage and more,” he said. “Additionally, it has to have a physical presence in Pittsburgh with which our students can interact, and with more than 52 Canadian-owned companies in the Pittsburgh region, Canada has that as well.”

In the curriculum and beyond
One of the key elements of the Global Focus Program is full curricular integration, demonstrated through the All-Campus Author, which this year will feature Richard Wagamese’s book One Native Life.  Wagamese is one of Canada’s foremost writers and storytellers, and members of the Canadian Native groups will visit Chatham throughout the year to discuss the book. All incoming first-year students take a communications seminar, which will feature this book.  Three graduate courses also assign the book, offering the opportunity for grad students to visit the undergraduate sections for short presentations and to lead discussions.

One of the most recent events held as part of the Global Focus program is the Canadian Business Education Networking event, which featured the opportunity for students to interact with Pittsburgh area business leaders with Canadian connections at the Eden Hall Campus.  A tour and networking opportunity were highlighted by speakers, including an appearance by Aafke Loney MBA ’11, who created Business and Education Connected LLC to connect students to current job markets through the integration of strength, discovery and interest awareness.  Loney is also the co-owner of the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms hockey team.

“Global focus puts the global in global studies,” said Dr. Sène.  “The program teaches students critical thinking skills with global competencies.  They also get to network and meet people they would never get to meet otherwise.”

The Global Focus Program  has been a hallmark of the Chatham University experience since 1995. The Global Focus Year of the Communities of Islam received the 2002-2003 Institute of International Education’s Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education.

GO BABY GO helps kids with mobility impairments


Developed by physical therapists at the University of Delaware, Go Baby Go is an initiative with clubs across the country that modifies ride-on toy cars so that they can be used by children with mobility deficits. Erin Gaffney, DPT ’17 brought the idea to Chatham.

Erin and some of her classmates rewired a Hello Kitty car so that it can be used by Ella, a four-year-old who has used a wheelchair since surgery to remove a tumor on her spinal cord left her unable to use her legs. Ella can now use her hand to operate the “gas.”

“Being able to move independently in a play situation does so much for kids’ social skills, and that’s really the whole idea,” says Erin. “Mobility matters for children of all ages, and that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

Part of Chatham’s School of Health Sciences, the Physical Therapy program educates doctors of physical therapy who will advance the quality of human life through excellence in clinical practice.


Cougar Career Launch Offers Students Career Immersion


Ninety-five percent of employers agree: relevant experience plays an important role in hiring decisions.  For college students, gaining this experience in their field during their time at college is critically important to meeting the needs of employers and securing a job after graduation. At Chatham, we believe that early and frequent exposure to work environments is one of the best ways for students to start gaining this critical experience while learning about work expectations and environments in the fields they are considering. 

The Chatham Cougar Career Launch Program was developed to give new, first-year students the opportunity to learn about careers at a broad range of participating employers while also starting down the path of securing the experience they need for their career.  From a list of 13 local companies and organizations, students chose one where they spent about two hours touring the facility, visiting with employees, and participating in a Q and A session. Options included:

Allegheny Department of Human Services

  • Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE)
  • Eat n’ Park Hospitality Group – The Porch at Schenley
  • GTECH Strategies
  • The Frick Pittsburgh
  • Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild: Youth & Arts
  • Pittsburgh Cultural Trust – The Byham Theater
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates – PNC Park
  • The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • ReMed Recovery Center
  • Touchtown: Resident Engagement Solutions
  • UPMC Sports Medicine – Rooney Sports Complex
  • YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh

Kendell Kerr, a first-year student majoring in molecular biology, spent her time with UPMC Sports medicine. “One of things I took away from the experience was that science and medicine lead to extremely beneficial careers,” she said.”

“I learned just how important UPMC is in Pittsburgh, and worldwide. A career in medicine is an opportunity to be both innovative and helpful. During my trip to UPMC Sports Medicine, I met doctors and nurses who work one-on-one with the world’s top athletes.”

“Visiting the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette showed me that while the basic structure of writing and editing is the same in major newspapers as in smaller newspapers, the process is much more precise and involved,” said communications major Ross Hsu ‘18. “They take it extremely seriously, and they still have fun, but every single person coordinates with one another. It’s a huge collaborative process, and that’s daunting, but exciting to think I’ll be a part of in the future.”

Cougar Career Launch joins other initiatives geared to professional preparation, including the Chatham Plan, a five-step approach to post-school success. Learn more about career planning, internships and experiential learning, mentoring programs, and graduate and professional schools planning at the Career Development Office.