Stephen Schutt: Luncheon Forums are Very Important Place to Share Dialogue
Another guest of Niagara Foundation’s Luncheon Forum Series was the president of the small Lake Forest liberal art college, Professor Stephen Schutt on 3rd May, 2007 to speak about international education and how to administer it in small liberal arts college: Lake Forest College experience.
Mahir M. Zeynul-Abidin, Community Outreach at Niagara Foundation thanked everyone for coming today and wished an enjoyable time to have today with our special guest, Dr. Schutt. He emphasized how it is important to widen the circle of friendship and extend the friendship and dialogue ties with universities and how we experiencing one of those today with Lake Forest College. Mahir presented the president of Lake Forest College and read out his résumé. Mahir then invited Mr. Schutt to the tribune to deliver his speech on international education at Lake Forest College and how it exemplify an example to other small liberal art colleges.
Stephen Schutt, first of all, thanked everyone for coming out in a beautiful spring day. He then said that he has been in a lot of jobs and served to many institution in his life time but the best of all is what he is doing right now which is to provide leadership in the small liberal art college in the Chicago area.
Lake Forest has a long history of education and this year it will celebrate its 150-year anniversary. Dr. Schutt said that it will be a special year for us and we have international events that will be going on and he delivered calendar of events to participants and invited everyone to show up there in any of those events.
“Let me start today with something that completely obvious and well known to all of you. We are living in a global world and it affects us every minute. I want to just cite to make this point” said Dr. Schutt to point out to a very interesting and strange fact of our daily life.
I drove in a car which was made in Japan, listened to British band music while coming here in the morning, after the music finished I turned and heard a radio broadcast in India, I used a cell phone which was made in China to call my wife and to ask what I am going to pick up today. My wife’s father is from Ireland and her mother is from Italy, early in the morning we had a study abroad program in Greece and Turkey, I e-mailed the person in charge this morning in Athens. When I get back from here to campus, I am going to meet with a faculty who is a native of Iran on a translation issue of a book from Persian to English, to give a status of alumni to one of our students who is from Japan, and I have a meeting with another alumnus who is interested in developing a gulf course in Samoa. You have your own versions of life.
President Stephen Schutt stressed one point regarding the survey that the American College Association did several years ago. According to the survey there were two important findings. First of all, 90 % agreed that future careers were required international competence and deal with broad range of people from around the world. Secondly, it is vital to know at least one language other than English.
Regular people get it that we are people of global society and our regular life is shaped with globalization. May be it was a theoretical assumption some time ago, but today it is a daily reality. “Higher education has big responsibility. Our job is to prepare students for future after graduation. They will be all be entering to work in a global society” said Dr. Schutt.
Historically in this country, broad universities got more international students in 1950s. American College Association was founded with precise aim of study abroad purposes. We are part of this heritage. Our mission statement is that we prepare our students to become responsible people in global village.
Asian student learn Spanish, Europeans going to Eurasia, and Americans get international culture at Lake Forest College. “We have 1400 students” claimed Dr. Scutt that 181 are from 55 different countries which is 30 % of overall student body. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, France, Italy, India, Nepal, Turkey, Greece, Canada are among those countries.
Dr. Schutt also said that Associate Dean of Students going literally around the world and recruiting students from all over the world. Results of it are the community I am describing. We have also students from 50 states said Dr Schutt. What is the benefit of that? Learning how to talk to each other about conflicts, problems and learning each other’s perspectives and how to deal with them is of utmost importance.
He also said that during a though time, a year ago, very unfortunate cartoons in Denmark had been published and we had discussions about this publication and we had discussions with people from Nepal, Iran, China, Bulgaria and many other people. The value was enormous and lasting.
Dr. Schutt also talked about the student and faculty ration in respect to how ‘international’ it is. He said that they have 116 standing faculty who are natives of China, Iran, Nigeria, Palestine and so forth. He said that we are small liberal art college and our classrooms are being intentionally small with 15-20 students. ‘We don’t have any large lecture halls and somebody like me in front. Our classes are like discussions. Instructions of language include Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and so forth.
“Every student has to fulfill certain requirements – cultural diversity requirement” claimed Dr. Schutt. Each student has to have at least one course about multi-cultural reality to finish his/her degree. He also said that Chicago is such a great place for our students that they are spending a lot of time in Chicago learning about communities, students from other countries find other people from their countries.
Lake Forest College also has study abroad programs where domestic students take the advantage of for over 30 years. Annual semester in Greece and Turkey, in Paris, France, in Santiago, Chile are standing places for Lake Forest College students to get involved in. They also have a new place in Beijing, Pekin University. They learn lessons to come back to campus to further enrich us.
“Finally” said Dr. Schutt, “on our campus we hosted Akbar Ganji, an Iranian dissident which is an international related event.
In April – invisible children showed a film about Uganda on Global religions, Adam Maria, famous Argentinean novelist had two lectures, one in English and the other in Spanish. Last week, Lake Forest College hosted annual Chinese cultural performance night where not only Chinese people but other students also got involved in. We have new major and programs created about Asian studies, Latin American studies and Islamic studies newly established said Dr. Schutt.
Dr. Schutt at the end thanked Niagara Foundation and others who came out to listen to him. After addressing the questions from audience, Mahir invited attendees to have lunch and have a dialogue with one another. In his interview to Niagara Foundation Multimedia Department, Dr. Schutt said that he is very impressed about the event and thanked Niagara Foundation.
“I am delighted to be here and speaking on behalf of Niagara Foundation and very important international program that you are doing and the partnerships that you are seeking to develop with colleges and universities in greater Chicago area and I think we are all engaged in the same enterprise of trying to increase multicultural understanding and international good will and I am very pleased to be able to compliment Niagara Foundation on what they are doing.
I think the forums that such as today are very important, very important place to share news, good news, problems, challenges, and also very good opportunities for fellowships.”
Thursday-May 3, 2007
205 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 4240
Chicago, IL, US, 60601