Welcome to the LAS Global Studies program! The major prepares you for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Increasingly complex global issues—from pandemics to intellectual property rights, from refugee crises to the rise of cryptocurrencies—and beyond—resist easy solutions. They demand global thinking! Global Studies majors have spread across the world to contribute to these and other issues in a wide range of careers. They are engaged in an astounding variety of consequential undertakings.


I have just assumed the directorship of this innovative, cutting-edge program. As an anthropologist who was drawn to my research through intricate global connections when I was a wide-eyed undergraduate in the Midwest—in my case, links between activist solidary communities in the United States and Central America—I believe that the approaches we take in Global Studies are absolutely crucial for a sustainable future. My own work has focused on human rights, liberalism, and democracy movements, concerns I know a number of Global Studies majors share.


If you’re a Global Studies major or considering it, you already know: Everything is connected! No single disciplinary perspective can fully explain or address contemporary challenges. Rather, to understand the social, economic, environmental, political, geographic, cultural, and historical contexts in which all issues exist, we must creatively integrate multiple ways of thinking and acting. Our core principle is that an interdisciplinary education, with applied skills such as language, research and writing, and experiential learning, is critical for the 21st century. We have designed this major to ensure that our graduates are prepared to excel, whatever their calling—now and into the future.


As the very new director of LAS Global Studies, I am honored to join with and learn from Associate Director Dr. Timothy Wedig, and staff members Drs. Valeria Bonatti, Charles Fogelman, and David Schrag, along with office manager Chandre Johnson.  They already run a remarkable program. I am in awe of them—all the teaching staff has been consistently ranked “excellent” by their students. And our academic advising gets top ranks on the annual survey of graduating seniors.


If we’ve learned anything since 2020, it’s that nothing is certain. But I want to believe this coming year will be a good one. For one, we may get to see a lot more of each other—face to face (safely, we hope, masked if necessary—as Chancellor Robert Jones strongly recommended on August 28). Plus we’re finally getting back to a core part of our mission—to spread out to different parts of the world in study abroad programs.


And now, a new opportunity is opening up to us. We are becoming part of the Illinois Global Institute (IGI). Established in 2019, Illinois Global Institute is home to the area and global studies centers and thematic programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. These centers and programs develop global awareness and cultural competency through a combination of faculty research and professional development, curricular internationalization, student-life activities, international experiences, and outreach and public engagement.  


It is an exciting time to be part of LAS Global Studies. We are delighted to answer your questions about how this major can help you reach your goals. Please contact us to schedule a time to talk. For now, Dr. Wedig, Dr. Schrag, and Dr. Fogelman are sharing advising duties.


I am looking forward to working with all of you as the new director of LAS Global Studies.


Ellen Moodie

Director, LAS Global Studies