For Students Who Want to Go Global, New Advisor Is the Ticket

Posted: October 26, 2009 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: October 23, 2009 at 4:23 pm

By Rashad Mulla

John Robinson, global advisor. Photo by Rashad Mulla

John Robinson, global programs advisor. Photo by Rashad Mulla

Students looking to add a global component to their education are no longer on their own when it comes to searching for programs.

In mid-August, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) appointed sociology graduate student John Robinson to be the university’s first global programs advisor. In this role, Robinson, also an advisor for the Global Affairs Program, serves as a liaison between students in any major and various global education programs at Mason. Robinson steers students toward different programs based on their interests and needs.

“We have a large number of global programs here at [Mason],” Robinson says. “Now, we have someone to help students manage this wealth of educational resources.”

Robinson says the position – funded by the Office of the Provost – fills a need, as more students add global components to their education. He talks to students about the different global initiatives at Mason, courses, majors, minors and even experiential learning, such as study abroad programs and global internships. He works with Career Services and the Center for Global Education to find these experiences for students.

“In a school as expansive as Mason, the challenge is keeping track of all the programs,” Robinson says. “Many students don’t know how doable it is to pursue, for instance, a global minor. We want students to make the most out of their transcripts.”

Jamie Cooper, associate dean of undergraduate academic affairs for CHSS, says the position was created to give students a place to go if they were unsure about where to get information on various programs.

“Students still have to contact the [individual] departments, but instead of having to do all their searching on their own, they can go to John and he will help them in their search,” Cooper says. “He’s like their one-stop shop for information about global programs.”

Robinson, who has served as a teaching assistant and a research assistant, is trying to spread the word about the services he offers.

He is available to meet with students every Thursday from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at a Johnson Center kiosk. He also sets up advising appointments through his e-mail address, GlobalAdvisor@gmu.edu. He also maintains a web site for global programs, a Facebook page and a Twitter account (@MasonGlobalGuy).

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu