Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic this NAFSA Signature Program did not take place, but international educators from around the world were able to convene virtually at the 2020 NAFSA eConnection.

NAFSA 2020 takes place in St. Louis, Missouri May 24-29

Global Learning in the Research Environment: Convergence, Innovation & Impact

NAFSA’s Global Learning Lab is a professional development program designed to build awareness and strengthen skills in advancing global learning. The 2020 Lab focuses on Global Learning in the Research Environment: Convergence, Innovation & Impact. Participants will work with experts, and with colleagues from around the world to explore how global learning is essential to the creation of innovative research and new knowledge that address complex, local and global problems.

This Signature Program will provide international educators, scholar-practitioners, and administrators with practical strategies based on real-life examples for developing global competencies, in the classroom, across campus, and in research that address global issues and creates new knowledge.

All disciplines, institutional types, and sectors of higher education have a responsibility to build global competencies in students to address complex global issues in locally-appropriate ways. This is done through the integration of global learning opportunities into curriculum, across programming, and through research design.

Experts will illustrate how global learning is essential to develop innovative research that addresses complex, interconnected problems, and that leads to new knowledge providing positive, and locally-appropriate impacts.

Through the lab format, participants will work with experts and colleagues from around the world to:

  • discuss and analyze approaches to working with students, faculty, and staff across disciplines and across sectors;
  • explore strategies to integrate global learning into curriculum, across programming, and into research design;
  • examine how global competencies highlight new modes of assessing and solving global issues, and how such competencies can raise new questions for research;
  • develop strategic action plans to integrate global learning into research design, courses, programs, and across campuses.

Montse Fuentes, PhD

Montse Fuentes
University of Iowa
Keynote Speaker, Global Learning Lab
Montse Fuentes, Ph.D., joined the University of Iowa as executive vice president and provost in June 2019. She came to the UI from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), where she served as dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences. Before joining VCU in 2016, Fuentes was head of the...

Sukant Misra, PhD

sukant misra
Texas Tech University
Facilitator, Global Learning Lab
Sukant Misra current serves as vice provost for international affairs at Texas Tech University. His responsibilities encompass all functions of the Office of International Affairs, including the academic center in Seville, Spain. He was also responsible for the establishment of the Texas Tech...

Amir Reza, PhD

Amir Reza
Babson College
Amir Reza is the dean of the Babson Academy for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurial Learning (Babson Academy), a dedicated unit within Babson College that inspires change in the way universities, specifically their faculty and students, teach and learn entrepreneurship. In this role, he is...

Michelle Soledad, PhD

michelle soledad
Virginia Tech
Facilitator, Global Learning Lab
Michelle Soledad is the director of communications and international engagement in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she is responsible for directing the Rising Sophomore Abroad Program, developing and implementing communications strategies, and identifying, developing...

Ling LeBeau, PhD

Syracuse University
Coordinator, Annual Conference Committee (ACC) Content Team (TLS KC)
Ling Gao LeBeau, PhD, is associate director of international student success at Syracuse University. LeBeau is a scholar practitioner in the field of international higher education with many years of experiences in teaching, research, and administration. She has served in various roles in...

'Dimeji Togunde, PhD

'Dimeji Togunde
Spelman College
'Dimeji Togunde, PhD, is the vice provost for global education at Spelman College, where he leads the campus internationalization and its assessment. He has over 20 years of strategic leadership in developing global studies curriculum, expanding access to international education, student learning...

What is Convergence Research?

The National Science Foundation (NSF) explains that Convergence Research “is a means of solving vexing research problems, in particular, complex problems focusing on societal needs. It entails integrating knowledge, methods, and expertise from different disciplines and forming novel frameworks to catalyze scientific discovery and innovation.”

What You Will Gain from Participating

  • Strategies to integrate global learning into research design, and the development of global competencies in courses and programs in support of this integration;
  • Examples of desired student outcomes for intercultural and global learning;
  • Insights to engage faculty and administrators in internationalization and promote global learning strategically across disciplines, across programs, and across campuses;
  • Knowledge and understanding of best practices to prepare students with essential intercultural and global learning competencies to address complex, interconnected problems through research.

Learning Objectives

  • Highlight the urgency and benefits of global learning integration into research design;
  • Explain global learning definition(s) and components to build awareness and establish acceptance;
  • Promote interdisciplinary, convergence research and international partnerships through the lens of global learning;
  • Identify tools to assess global learning outcomes and student outcomes;
  • Encourage the integration of global learning into programming and research design using practical strategies and tools;
  • Develop a strategic global learning integration action plan to facilitate the development of global competencies into research design, and into courses, programs, and campuses facilitating development of innovative knowledge.


NAFSA thanks Webster University for its generous support of this event!

Webster University