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Dr. Clifford Peterson of Ramapo College Named New Jersey Global Educator of the Year

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)November 6, 2002

(Mahwah) – Dr. Clifford Peterson, professor of international politics at Ramapo College of New Jersey, was named New Jersey Global Educator of the Year at the New Jersey Global Educator’s Third Annual International Education Conference held at Raritan Valley Community College October 25.

In nominating him for the award, Ramapo College President Rodney D. Smith stated: Dr. Peterson’s three decades of promoting global education in the classroom, in the region, the nation and the world, have had a continuous and lasting impact on this institution and the many students whose lives he has influenced and enriched. Through these students and the organizations he has had a hand in shaping, his impact has extended far beyond the Ramapo campus.”

For over 30 years Peterson has been involved in Ramapo’s international programs and initiatives. As primary architect, author of and co-director of the Challenge Grant, Dr. Peterson was instrumental in Ramapo’s defining itself as a global college. In 1986, the college received $3.4 million to internationalize the mission and curriculum and become a center for global education. Ramapo’s proposal, Toward Global and Multicultural Literacy: Education for the 21st Century,” received what was then the largest state grant to a college for the purpose of expanding global education.

Peterson was responsible for initial negotiations to forge exchange agreements with Shanghai Teachers University and Volgograd Pedagogical University; he continues to work with visiting scholars from these institutions and to mentor them. This has resulted in ongoing opportunities for Ramapo faculty to teach abroad and Ramapo students to benefit from the expertise of international scholars.

As co-director of Ramapo’s Study Abroad to China Program, Peterson takes students on a month-long summer journey to study Chinese history, politics, economics and language while experiencing contemporary and ancient China through guest speakers, field trips and briefings with government and business leaders. Summer 2003 will mark Peterson’s seventh Study Abroad trip to China.

In his role as chair of the International Studies major since its inception in 1990, Peterson has facilitated the internationalization of the general education requirements. He currently is working to globalize Western Studies courses within the framework of the World History curriculum.

Peterson is a leader in creating networks that expand experiential opportunities for students. Through his service on the advisory board of Ramapo’s International Co-operative Education program, he has facilitated the development of internships and co-op positions in embassies in Washington, D.C., U.N. missions and consulates.

He was on the planning committee that created the Governor’s School of International Studies at Ramapo College in 2000 and has taught in the program (which brings 100 talented high school students to the campus for one month each summer) for the last three years.

As advisor to Ramapo’s award-winning Model United Nations Club since the early 1980s, Peterson, leads teams of students in preparing for and competing at the annual National Model UN Conference. In addition, he oversees Club activities throughout the year.

He is a member of CIE (Committee on International Education) and pioneered the ICONS Project (International Communications and Negotiations Simulation) beginning in the mid-1980s that brought student teams from around the world.

He currently chairs the International Education Task Force with responsibility for planning for the soon-to-be-built Marge Roukema Center for International Education and Entrepreneursip. These plans call for expanding Study Abroad opportunities, international internships and international career counseling, developing workshops for teachers and teacher education students, expanding facilities for conferences and teleconferencing for international academic and business organizations and building close links to the United Nations and consulates in the metropolitan area.

As proof of his commitment to touching the lives that change the world,” Peterson’s former students are working at the United Nations headquarters, within non-governmental organizations and in international organizations such as UNESCO. One, who is now in graduate school at Columbia, was part of the team overseeing the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords in Bosnia. Another student, a well-respected author, regularly interviews and writes about international figures in the fields of politics, religion and gender studies.

Beyond Ramapo, Peterson is on the Advisory Board on International Studies at Bergen Community College and on the Board of Trustees of Global Learning, a non-profit organization in New Jersey that works with K-12 schools and two-year and four-year colleges/universities.

In 1981 he was on the steering committee responsible for the creation of the New Jersey Consortium for Global Education (for two- and four-year institutions) and served as state chair. That same year he was co-director of the New Jersey Department of Higher Education’s Grant Project on Internationalizing the College Curriculum.

He served as a board member of Bridges for Peace, which pioneered exchanges with the Soviet Union and then Russia. He served as vice president for the past five years of NJHEPS – (Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability), which promotes environmental sustainability. He served on two local school boards, both in K-8 districts: Northern Valley Regional for eight years and Harrington Park for six years. In these positions, he worked to forge collaborative projects emphasizing global education.

Peterson was awarded a Fulbright-Hayes Group Projects Abroad Grant in 1985 to take a group of high school teachers and two- and four-year college faculty to Jamaica for six weeks to study Jamaican society and politics. The educators then integrated that experience into their coursework.

Ramapo’s president, Dr. Smith, summed up his nomination of Peterson by saying, Dr. Clifford Peterson’s accomplishments in any given year are remarkable. As a body of work over a 30-year career (so far), his achievements are awe-inspiring. His mark on this institution is seen in every quarter and amounts to a major contribution to Ramapo’s increasingly rigorous and diverse curriculum and to its competitive reputation and selection as a first-choice college among potential students. He has worked tirelessly to bring the globe to this campus and to give back his best and the best of Ramapo to the world.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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