Research center led by SIA professor obtains grants of over $2 million supporting global studies at Penn State, K-12, and in the community

SIA professor and director of the Center for Global Studies, Sophia McClennen

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Center for Global Studies (CGS) at Penn State, led by School of International Affairs professor Sophia McClennen, announced the award of two new federal grants that will help continue bringing together faculty and students from across the University in order to realize Penn State’s strategic goal of becoming a global university. Penn State will receive just over $2 million in Title VI National Resource Center and Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) funds over four years from the U.S. Department of Education. The funding can support Penn State School of International Affairs students with internship housing or thesis projects.

The CGS will award FLAS funding, which directly supports students, in the form of fellowships to enable undergraduate and graduate students in the School of International Affairs, and others to achieve competency in selected foreign languages and conduct research in related international and area studies. FLAS-eligible languages currently offered by Penn State include Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian; other languages may be added. Students at Penn State’s School of International Affairs who are interested in pursuing projects supported by these grants should contact McClennen at

The FLAS coordinator and an advisory committee will hold a competitive process for applications and students in all fields of study may apply. The CGS will award five undergraduate and five graduate fellowships during the academic year.

Each academic-year fellowship includes an institutional payment for an academic year 2014-15 fellowship of $18,000 for a graduate student and $10,000 for an undergraduate student and an estimated subsistence allowance of $15,000 for a graduate student and $5,000 for an undergraduate student. For summer 2015 fellowships, the estimated institutional payment is $5,000 and the subsistence allowance is $2,500 for both graduate and undergraduate students. Fellowships will also be available for summer study.

This award marks the second time Penn State has received the Title VI NRC award and highlights national recognition of the center’s active engagement with research, education, and outreach in global studies. The CGS’s NRC award is only one of seven awards supporting centers with a focus on international studies.

Based in the College of the Liberal Arts, the Center for Global Studies was founded by McClennen in 2010 after receiving Penn State’s first NRC grant.

During its first NRC cycle, the CGS worked to expand the University’s commitment to global studies by enhancing multi-disciplinary collaboration; supporting Arabic language instruction; creating Penn State's first Turkish language program; promoting cross-disciplinary research; working with professional schools to develop workshops in global careers; hosting professional development workshops for K-12 teachers; and increasing global connections between Penn State and international universities most notably in Bielefeld (Germany).

During the next four years, the CGS will work collaboratively with Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, World in Conversation, and the Rock Ethics Institute to create programs around its three core themes (sustainability, social justice, and ethical leadership) and to allow for sustained and engaged dialogues. An additional theme - global intersections - will promote activities that bring the three main themes into productive, critical conversation, emphasizing the need to consider these issues with the benefit of scholarly insights from a variety of disciplines.

The CGS will bring together top researchers from across Penn State so that they can share insights, collaborate on future projects, develop partnerships with colleagues nationally and internationally, and translate their research into classroom activities that can be used by K-12 teachers.

The Center for Global Studies also will collaborate with the University Office of Global Programs and Commonwealth Campuses to organize workshops and conferences on internationalizing the curriculum and identify new curricular initiatives. The CGS will also foster global citizenship and cross-cultural awareness through support of Arabic, Chinese and Hindi language instruction at the University Park campus.

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