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Global studies program hires new director and plans for revitalization

December 20, 2023

The global studies and languages program is being restructured to provide more opportunities for students.

ISU is pleased to welcome Dr. Donna Lybecker, political science professor at ISU, as the director of global studies. 

“I’m excited to build off of what others have put together,” Lybecker says. “We have a solid base and credit is due to the people who’ve put in the time and energy. There are some great things we’re going to continue with the global studies program.”

Global studies will move toward being more of an interdisciplinary program that connects with departments across the college. Dr. Zackary Heern, associate dean and professor for the College of Arts and Letters, and Lybecker envision a program in which business and health programs could also become a stronger part of the degree. 

“In the past several years, we’ve certainly witnessed the impact of health on a global scale,” Heern says. “Global perspectives are also invaluable for international businesses, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations.”

The annual Frank Church Symposium will continue to be student-run through the International Affairs Council with faculty advisor Dr. Colin Johnson. The hope is to extend the experiences of the International Affairs Council to students across campus in any major. 

A global studies degree can benefit students who are preparing for careers in a variety of industries. Lybecker hopes to create a program that prioritizes helping students find jobs by looking at where our global communities are going, paying attention to the job market and the global arena, and addressing major global questions. 

“The global studies program benefits students by giving them an international perspective,” Lybecker says. “It never hurts to expand people’s worlds and give them a larger perspective.”

“Many of the most important problems that we face in the twenty-first century are global in nature,” says Heern. “Students in global studies will have the opportunity to seek answers to these critical questions.”


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