Growing Global

By Erin Ross, Transcript Correspondent

Global studies and international perspectives will continue to flourish at Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) as a result of the Global Scholars Program’s growth in presence, experience and participation since its inaugural year last fall.

Created for students who have an interest in global issues and are pursuing a major with an international focus, the Global Scholars Program admits a small number of students each year. Jeremy Baskes, director of the Global Scholars Program, created the program through the Global Studies Institute.

Baskes envisioned the program to bring together students with shared global interests and present them with unique learning and travel opportunities.

“We see it as a recruiting tool, Baskes said. “It is an opportunity for students who have those interests to come to Ohio Wesleyan and work closely with other students who have similar global interests or international interests.”

The program proved its recruiting power as the number of first-year global scholars increased from 11 in its inaugural year to 16 this fall.

“We made really good progress in increasing the number of students this year and I am hopeful that we will do the same for next year,” Baskes said.

Nathan Amador Rowley, assistant director of the Global Studies Program and assistant professor of geology and geography , said that an increase in the program’s presence allowed them to attract more students.

“When I talk to faculty members, they seem to understand what the Global Studies Institute is and that we have global scholars … I would say the presence is probably the big difference,” Rowley said.

The students admitted into the program must complete certain requirements in order to graduate as a global scholar. Such requirements include a first-year seminar, coursework in a major of international focus, competency in a foreign language, studying a semester abroad and the completion of a senior thesis, according to OWU’s website.

The evolvement of the required first-year seminar played a major role in the growth of the program’s dynamic. This year’s seminar, “Climate, Capital and Culture,” is co-taught by Rowley and Mary Anne Lewis Cusato, assistant professor of French.

In contrast to last year’s instructors, Rowley and Cusato are both members of the Global Scholars Institute. This led to growth in student-faculty relationships. The Institute faculty now see the global scholars for four hours a week rather than just in organized social circumstances.

“That develops a different relationship that allows us to advise students in a non-formal way,” Rowley said. “We didn’t make those kinds of deep connections with last year’s students as much.”

The first-year seminar is also a UC 160 course this year. This addition lessened the workload for first-year global scholars who, last year, would have been required to take a separate UC 160 course in addition to their first-year seminar.

Additionally, the freshman global scholars will be required to complete theory-to-practice grants by the end of their first-year seminar.

“Whether they actually submit it or not … leaving this class, they will know how to think through a problem, write it down, and propose some sort of travel,” Rowley said.

In addition to growth within the first-year seminar, the Global Scholars Program also expanded its staff by utilizing the experience of its, now sophomore, scholars. This year the program hired Paige Hunter, member of the Global Scholars inaugural class, as an intern.

“We really wanted to pick one of our global scholars. We want to start utilizing them more as mentors to the earlier classes,” Baskes said.

Within her position, Hunter worked on creating a variety of social media websites for the program and better advertised the many campus events that were global in nature. She will continue this work while also adding videos of the global scholars and other material to the program’s website.

“Even though my position is new, I think it adds to the program by increasing the level of communication and connection,” Hunter said.

The program has thus far met the expectations of the staff and displays potential for future improvement.

“As we are learning how to do things, little by little, we do new things. It is growing and evolving, and I think we are feeling really good about the Global Scholars Program as a whole.” Baskes said,

Although the program is new and is continuing to grow, the faculty expresses the need for future funding. At the start of the program The Global Scholars Institute received $200,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that was meant to last them four years. As the end of those four years approaches, the Institute must find more funds for the program to continue to grow.

“If we had more money … I could imagine bringing speakers, taking students on more local trips … Money would just help so much,” Rowley said.


Climate change report explained by OWU professors

By Spencer Pauley, Managing Editor

Much is being made of the fifth assessment report that has come from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) regarding an urgency to limit our planet’s increasing global warming, professors at OWU have been studying the effects of an increasingly warming climate.

This report is drawing more attention than previous ones coming from the IPCC because it puts a date of 2030 to 2040 on costly changes to our way of living and focuses on what it means to have an overall 1.5 degrees Celsius warming of our planet. 

There’s a chance that our planet could increase temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius

As of now, our planet is at 1 degree Celsius over pre-industrial levels. The report says there is almost no way of avoiding 1.5 degrees at this time, and to keep it to that requires major efforts politically, economically and socially.

Professor of mathematics, Craig Jackson, is not confident that our planet will limit its increasing global warming to 1.5 degrees.

“I’m not optimistic and the reason why is because this is a really, really hard problem. It’s not the problem that can be solved by one or two or three powerful nations. Every nation has to be involved in this,” Jackson said.

Professor of botany and microbiology, Laurel Anderson, teaches courses that all deal with climate change in one way or another. She too is not optimistic of a limit of a 1.5 degree increase in temperature.

“We have the technology to make this change, but we lack the political will. I don’t think it is impossible, but we need to take a radically different approach to generating and using energy than we do right now,” Anderson said

Large issue may arise from a global warming of 1.5 degrees: food security, drought and floods, poverty and coral ecosystems. These problems can be even more devastating at an overall warming of 2 degrees Celsius.

Coral loss is a big issue currently because they are being threatened right now due to ocean acidification. With a global average of 1.5 degrees increase, the IPCC is expecting a 70 to 80 percent decline in corals worldwide. And if the planet gets to 2 degrees warmer, it could be up to a 99 percent decrease of coral ecosystems, which could cause mass extinction events.

“Corals are a huge part of certain ecosystems, they are the reef builders. These corals build the habitats for many other fish and drive huge tourism to places like Australia and various islands in the Pacific as well as fishing in many places,” Jackson said. “There’s kind of a domino effect on losing these corals.”

Geography professor Nathan Amador Rowley focused his research throughout his collegiate years on polar climate. With his background on polar climate, Amador Rowley has seen an increase in temperatures in the polar regions.

Amador Rowley teaches a class on climate change in the Geography department at OWU in which they look at the IPCC reports. Their papers come together on what we know currently regarding. Amador Rowley tells students that weather is happening day to day, climate change is a 30 year average.

“When we’re talking about climate change, one thing to keep in mind is that it’s not a specific event, it’s not a hurricane, it’s not landslides. This is a 30 year average,” Amador Rowley said.

Ohio and the midwestern states invest heavily in agriculture and in the short term are benefitting from this because farmers now can start growing crops earlier and harvest longer. Parts of midwest have 2 growing seasons which means more food, but this is only seen as a short term benefit. Over long term, growing season will grow northward. By 2100 this will not be the case anymore.

What may be confusing is that the increase of 1.5 degrees is not uniform, that number represents an average increase in warmth across the globe. Amador Rowley puts this in an example students may be more familiar with: OWU average GPA’s go from 3.4 to 3.5 but there can be more students with 1.0 GPA’s but are offset by the increase in people that have 4.0’s. The same thing is happening with our planet’s climate. So 1.5 is very global. The tropics are already hot so it won’t get much hotter, but the arctic is very cold so it’s easier to transfer energy outward.

“The magic number when it comes to arctic climate is zero degrees. Anything below zero degrees Celsius, you have ice. Once you’re above zero degrees, you start melting.” Amador Rowley said.

Amador Rowley also cautions people on the alarmism that comes with a rise in sea level Water expands when warmer. Coastal locations in the United States such as Florida are not close to Greenland but melted ice will increase water levels in between the two regions. However, it would take over 500 years for Greenland to melt and for Florida to be completely flooded.

“I’m not necessarily worried with sea level rise because Greenland’s melting, but yes, every little inch of ice melting matters,” Amador Rowley said.