Global Crossroads and Global Forum at the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs
This Fall, Occidental College will reopen Johnson Hall for classes after closing the building for renovation at the end of the 2011/12 academic year.
The results are well worth the wait. Johnson Hall is the new home of the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs, which is named in recognition of Oxy alumnus Ian McKinnon (’89). The Center includes the departments of Politics; Diplomacy and World Affairs; Spanish and French Studies; East Asian Languages and Cultures; and German, Russian, and Classical Studies as well as the International Programs Office. In its new form, Johnson Hall reflects a fundamental reconsideration of how people think, communicate, act, and learn in the emerging world communities of the 21st Century.
This high-profile Center is powered by state-of-the-art digital media technologies. A dramatic two-story Media Wall occupies the building’s atrium, with curving, backlit glass panels and multiple embedded video screens. Immediately adjacent is the transparent thinking and working space, the Varelas Innovation Lab. Classrooms are enhanced with wireless and advanced digital media projection. And the old Johnson 200 lecture hall has been reoriented 90 degrees to become the Choi Family Auditorium, which adjoins two upper-tier gallery classrooms with flexible glass walls. Together, these facilities form the Global Forum, Occidental’s marketplace of ideas, images, and information about matters of international importance.
The physical spaces of the Global Forum are supplemented by the virtual space of Global Crossroads. In this custom-developed web application for desktop and mobile devices, every member of the Occidental community with an Oxy or guest user ID, including students, staff, faculty and administration, has a voice. Content in Global Crossroads is drawn from current events, lab or archival research, and coursework. Discussion is responsive to campus events such as lectures, colloquia, and performances and is augmented by streaming feeds from contemporary mass- and social-media sources. Academic content is supplemented by announcements and by updates about Oxy events and curricula.
Occidental IR administrators and staff have been instrumental in the conception and design of Global Crossroads and the instructional spaces of the Global Forum, working closely with faculty and administration from across the campus. Scholarship Technology will oversee the rollout and implementation of Global Crossroads for integration with coursework and coverage of special events. Faculty volunteers will be supported in their use of Global Crossroads by a grant from the Mellon Foundation and with guidance from the Center for Digital Learning + Research. Johnson Hall instructional spaces and the Varelas Innovation Lab will be staffed by trained student workers from the DSSA program of Instruction + Research. Big things are coming, now that Johnson Hall is back online.
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