One of my theories about great colleges is that they must include a few “magnificent crazy zealots.” Too many MCZs, and the institution could implode. Too few, and the school has a tendency to settle for good instead of great. The MCZs are the professors and coaches who refuse to accept constraints … whether they be resources, attitudes, “turf” or time … in their pursuit of excellence.
This issue of the North Central Now highlights the College’s immense progress over the past 15 years in becoming more global in every dimension—in the classroom; in many more student experiences abroad; in increased numbers of international students; and in the addition of more faculty from outside the United States. Credit for internationalizing the campus can be widely shared, but it is no exaggeration to say that it would not have happened without the tireless, enthusiastic, unceasing advocacy and hard work of Professor of English and Director of International Programs Jack Shindler, a MCZ if there ever was one (see page 3).
The numbers speak for themselves. This fall there were 55 international students from 28 countries. Last year, more than 230 North Central students traveled abroad. In December 2011, faculty plan to lead student groups to France, Nicaragua, London, India, Rome, Greece, Germany, Morocco and Brazil. We have group study abroad programs in three countries, student exchange programs in 16 nations and direct enrollment programs in 25 countries.
It’s become a cliché that we’re preparing students for a global century, but at North Central—which is not a wealthy school, and which did not have a faculty 15 years ago that included many with international experience—when professor Shindler assumed his role as catalyst for global education, all that progress was anything but inevitable. Sure, as the College approaches its Sesquicentennial, the presence of students from abroad, and the role of some graduates as missionaries (and the subsequent arrival of students they converted) have been a part of who we are since the 19th century. But the impact on the campus of that global involvement was the exception; today, that globalism is becoming the rule.
And that is something to celebrate, as we reflect upon the theme—“A Promising Start”—of the Sesquicentennial, and the magnificent crazy zealots like Jack Shindler who are insuring that this College never lets up in its drive to better prepare students for the world to come.
Food service staff stayed overnight on campus. The men and women who manned shovels and sweepers and plows worked 24 hours straight. The Blizzard of 2011 (February 1-2)—celebrated on the cover of this North Central Now—was cleaned up faster and better at our college than anywhere else in metropolitan Chicago … because nothing less would be acceptable to our physical plant, dining and residence hall staffs, a veritable army of MCZs. As I told a couple of football recruits and their dads standing on the clear-shoveled walk outside Old Main the day after: “If you want to understand what makes this college so special, look around you.”
Harold R. Wilde