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Kuppinger eager to help students develop worldview through international studies

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Professor of Anthropology Petra Kuppinger is passionate about helping students develop a well-rounded worldview.

Now she will have a greater opportunity to fulfill that mission as Monmouth College’s new coordinator of international studies.

“It’s an intensely globalizing world,” said Kuppinger, who holds degrees from universities in Germany, Egypt and New York City. “The speed of globalization is so fast. We need people with an understanding of how it works.”

Monmouth’s international studies program offers students a multicultural education and provides them with skills to be engaged in the global civil society and pursue an internationally oriented career.

“So many students today are interested in careers focusing on international human rights or working with NGOs (nongovernmental agencies),” she said. “It’s important to have it on our books.”

Graduates of Monmouth’s international studies program are fluent in at least one world language, which allows them to communicate in a cross-cultural setting. They are also able to think across disciplines and to appreciate different cultural perspectives and worldviews.

Kuppinger credits faculty colleague Amy de Farias for leading the international studies over the last several years and helping it grow into an “established program.”

“Now it’s my job to ask, ‘Can we improve it?’ One of the first things I plan to do is to meet with all the students in the program, to see what they think, and to see what they want,” said Kuppinger, who co-wrote the proposal that founded the program more than a decade ago.

Kuppinger has also invited faculty members from across the disciplines to form a “coordinating committee.”

“If there are larger issues, the committee could make decisions,” she said. “I think it would be important to have that because of the investment of other departments in international studies.”

Kuppinger also plans to query alumni of the program, “seeing what they’re doing now, where they’re working, and what they would suggest for our students.”