Jane Palmer is the coordinator for Denison’s new Global Commerce major. In an interview with Jay Burgin ’17, Palmer gives us an inside glimpse into the global breadth of her work.
1. What will your job look like as Denison’s New Global Commerce Coordinator?
“I’ll have many different balls in the air. I have many of the responsibilities of academic assistant, but I am also responsible for cultivating and managing relationships with interested students, faculty and alumna, as well as managing potential internships and off campus study for Global Commerce majors. I spend a lot of my time working with the Off-Campus Study Office and the Knowlton Career Center, exploring different possibilities for students outside of the classroom, that may take place as close as Newark or as far as another hemisphere.”
2. Tell us a little bit about the Global Commerce major.
“Well it’s brand new, so the fall of 2016 is the first semester of the program. There are a lot of ways to describe the program, but it is essentially a practical application of a liberal arts degree into ways of understanding the world from the viewpoint of commercial activities. Students are required to have a regional focus and to complete research on a particular region of the world. An off-campus experience project also is a requirement, either a semester studying abroad or an off-campus internship. Students will have to complete a ‘commerce core’ in the major, including classes in elements of commerce, commerce and society, global financial markets and statistics. There is foundational coursework in business and economics, but this is not a business degree. This major is truly interdisciplinary.”
3. Tell us about your experience with global programs.
“I have a background in higher education, both within the classroom and administratively. I am a product of a liberal arts college, and I studied higher education and student affairs in my masters program. So, pretty much my entire career has been working with international students, or taking American students to international destinations. I worked as an administrator director, traveling with students to places like London, Rio de Janiero, Panama and Senegal. As a College of Business Academic Counselor, I helped manage the ‘global option’ in business school, teaching a class called ‘Global Culture,’ which studies international business through the lens of education, politics and society.”
4. What is your first impression of Denison?
“Denison is incredibly welcoming, an absolutely gorgeous campus. It is much closer to Columbus than I originally imagined it. I can’t wait to learn more about it.”
5. What are you most excited about for the upcoming year?
“I am very excited to work with a smaller population of students, and to implement new ideas that weren’t possible with the huge numbers of students in my previous positions. I want to get students to explore the world – and to love doing so. I can’t wait to meet with interested faculty/staff and explore ways to place even more experiential learning into the curriculum at Denison. Basically, I love working with students, whatever form that takes. I also am a firm believer that teaching and learning happens both inside and outside the classroom.”
6. What do you think is unique about Denison's Global Commerce program?
“I love that it is grounded in the liberal arts. The program encourages students to work through tough ideas in parts of the world that may at first appear strange to them. From there, they can apply their research in a practical manner. These new students coming into the first year of the program have the unique opportunity to work with a dedicated faculty that is heavily invested in launching the new major. This program has resources, because Denison understands that global commerce is such a crucially relevant subject in today’s world.
“It is not a business degree by design, but it gives students practical business understanding that will be the pathway for connections, career opportunities, and ‘aha moments.’ I think the department embraces the idea that commerce does not exist in a silo, and regardless of where a Denison graduate goes, they need to be adaptive and leaders that understand the nuances of commerce – and know that commerce has to be global.”
7. Tell us something about yourself that we might not know about you.
“I was an international student! I am originally from Canada, but I have spent most of my life in the United States, so I’m what they call a ‘third culture kid.’ Because I’ve spent so much of my life on the move, especially in England and the Netherlands, I like to think of myself as a global nomad. Besides that, I have two kids, Ryder and London, and I will happily show every student my kids’ pictures.”
8. If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
“I would say: empathetic, relationship-builder, and fun! For anything beyond that, students will have to stop by my office and get to know me!”