Global Engagement in times of COVID

Global Engagement in times of COVID

Posted on Friday, January 29, 2021

Global Passport keeps students informed

Study-away opportunities may have been thwarted by the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped the Office of Global Engagement from finding ways to connect students with international cultures.

“The office is fairly quiet right now,” said Michele Raphoon, Coordinator of the program. “But we are continuing to plan for when we can send students abroad and bring our international students back.”

A few international scholars were stranded by travel bans.

“Some haven’t been home for a year, and then we have those who returned home but couldn’t come back to the U.S. because of the travel restrictions,” she said. “We are hoping to see at least two of them return for spring semester. They are now making their way through the bans, quarantines and testing.”

A global experience can take months to create and prepare for, but with the onset of COVID-19 many institutions and organizations had to immediately flip these programs into a format that allowed students to continue their studies and earn credits.

“What was seen as a stop-gap measure has turned into new international program that could expand our Global Engagement study-abroad repertoire,” Raphoon said. “Our affiliate partners have developed remarkable online global-learning programs that are affordable and credit-bearing and continue to offer interactions with faculty and students from around the world.”

These include semester-long international internships and study-abroad programs as well as a “hybrid” that combines online learning with an optional study-abroad experience.

Raphoon also has been working with one of the college’s partners, the Methodist International Exchange Network.

“We’re researching the possibility of offering COIL programming – Collaborative Online International Learning,” she said.  “This is a virtual global exchange where students from different cultures can share their perspectives and collaborate on an international learning project.”

Raphoon has attended at least 100 webinars on health, safety, the pandemic and its impact on study abroad as she sets her sights on the 2022 Interim and May Away terms.

“We have faculty-led courses scheduled for London, Paris, New Zealand, the Philippines, Peru and the Cayman Islands,” she said.

Applications will open for students on March 1. 

Recently, the college was honored by the Open Doors Report that tracks international students and U.S. scholars who are studying abroad for academic credit.

“This survey always lists institutional rankings for those scholars,” said Raphoon. “This year LaGrange College made its way onto the ‘Undergraduate Participation in Study Abroad: Top 40 Baccalaureate Colleges’ list, with 68 percent of our undergraduates studying abroad.”

Although there is still a lot of uncertainty with COVID-19, Raphoon said the college is moving ahead with plans.

“We are monitoring the health and safety situation of the destinations, as well as the State Department’s travel advisories, CDC Health Notices, travel bans, airline requirements, etc.,” she said. “We’re also working with program providers that have personnel and study centers in these countries so we have additional support for our traveling students and faculty.”

Her office keeps faculty and students informed through two Global Engagement newsletters - Your Global Passport for students and Global Updates for faculty.

Virtual events can’t replace the experience of actually being in a different country, but they open other opportunities.

“They offer options for students who are hesitant about going abroad,” she said. “They are also good for those who have time constraints or financial barriers. Virtual programs diversify our Global Engagement catalogue.”

For more information, contact Raphoon at or 706-880-8429.

Campus notes


The next “Lunch and Learn” event is “Creating your Personal Email Archives” at noon Wednesday. It will be led by Felecia Moore M ’93, archives specialist at Lewis Library. Register here – you will be sent a Zoom invitation.


Know your Panther facts? A live sports trivia game all about LC athletics will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 8, hosted by Athletic Director Jennifer DeMooney Claybrook ’99 M’01. The trivia questions will cover a wide range of sports through the decades. Everyone is encouraged to wear Panther gear, show off favorite Zoom backgrounds. We hope you can make it for a fun night of trivia and hanging out with LaGrange College friends! There will be prizes. Click here to register.

Get them before they’re gone! There are only a few LC masks left. For $15 you will receive a mask with $10 counting as a gift, or you can get two for $25 with $15 going to help students. For details visit here.

Cultural Enrichment events  

Check LC Connect for Virtual CE events and instructions. For in-person events, all COVID guidelines apply.   

Feb. 3, 2 p.m. – It’s OK Not to Be OK – Archie Messersmith-Bunting

Messersmith-Bunting is an award-winning speaker and author who challenges people to rethink complicated and emotional topics like depression, suicide, alcohol and drug addiction.

Feb. 4-14 Local Professional Interview Series – Lucinda Muncy, Human Resources

Muncy is Director of Human Resources at LaGrange College.

Young Alumni Virtual Interview Series – Robert Allen ’19, Foreign Affairs

Allen earned his degree in Political Science and served with the Peace Corps until the pandemic. He recently was named a Pickering Foreigh Affairs Fellow at the U.S. Department of State

Feb. 8 – Healthy Relationships – Brandi Cameron

Cameron works in the college’s Counseling Center



After averaging 25.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.5 steals per game in two wins over Covenant last week, senior captain Jahpera McEachin of the women’s basketball team was named USA South Player of the Week.

Faculty, staff February birthdays

3 – Stacy Jackson

4 – Jeff Lukken

6 – Patricia Marchesi

7 – Susan Mansour

Angela McSpradden

8 – Alicia Campbell

12 – Rob Dicks

17 – Lydia Rosencrants

21 – Don Livingston

22 – Bobby Jo Otto

Video of the week

Although temporarily sidelined by COVID, the college’s Study-Away program gives students a larger world view.

In the headlines

LaGrange College’s Cameron hits milestone in road loss – LaGrange Daily News, Jan. 23-24

LaGrange College films children’s opera amid pandemic – LaGrange Daily News, Jan. 23-24

Panthers’ McEachin earns USA South honor – LaGrange Daily News, Jan. 27, 2021

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Category: Global engagement, Academics, Students, College

Keywords: Interim Global Engagement travel COVID

Press Contact

Debby Baker

Last updated: 01/29/2021