Dr. Deirdre Johnston, who is interim associate dean for global education and a professor of communication at Hope College, was among representatives of colleges and universities around the world who met in Saudi Arabia earlier this month through their institutions’ partnership in the Global Liberal Arts Alliance.

Hope is one of 30 colleges and universities in 18 countries that belong to the Global Liberal Arts Alliance, which was formed 10 years ago with the goal of advancing liberal arts education around the world and strengthening member institutions through sharing and relationship building.  Johnston and other college and university liaisons to the alliance, one per campus, met at Effat University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday-Friday, Feb. 5-7 for the group’s 2020 meeting, titled “Liberal Arts in Practice.”

Through a series of panel presentations, the liaisons shared best practices from their campuses on undergraduate research, faculty-led study away, community-engaged service learning, internships, first-year experience, academic and career advising, and student mental health.  Johnston made a presentation on “Global Mobility & Global/Local Understanding,” highlighting how to make immersive global learning experiences mutually beneficial for students and the communities in which they are studying by addressing financial, psychological and systems-level barriers.  She was also a discussant for a program on promoting student mental health and wellness.

Hope is in the Global Liberal Arts Alliance through its membership in the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA).  In addition to Hope and the other members of the GLCA, the Global Liberal Arts Alliance includes colleges and universities in Bulgaria, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia and Switzerland.