Global Citizens Plaza

Where in the world are Chapman’s traveling Panthers?

Summer doesn’t mean a break from education for many Chapman University faculty, if often just means a more international take on a classroom.

Even though summertime is the season of “No more pencils, no more books,” Chapman University faculty often hit the road, usually with students in tow, for additional education in far off places.

Adding international travel to the Chapman student experience is a key element of the University’s dedication to creating a culture of global citizenship.

Jim Coyle, Ph.D., director of Chapman’s
Center for Global Education
, says having an international education is essential to the 21st century – something that was maybe not as important to a student’s journey around 100 years ago. Even since roughly the middle of the last century, Chapman education has been ahead of the international learning game: In 1965, Chapman was home of the University of the Seven Seas and then the World Campus Afloat, what is now known as Semester at Sea.

streets of Japan

A street scene from Professor Clas Wihlborg and Associate Professor Kenneth Murphy’s recent summer course trip to China. While there, they introduced students to the fast-paced world of China’s business and economic world.

“In the old days, it was good enough to know how to get from Anaheim to Mission Viejo,” Coyle says.

Now, Coyle says, students are looking at futures where they need to know how to socially navigate with other cultures and in other countries. Chapman is meeting that potential future head-on: approximately 50 percent of Chapman students achieve some level of international education during their time here. Coyle says the results, for faculty and students alike, are eye-opening.

“They get exposure to other people from other cultures and exposure to other ways of learning,” Coyle says.

Chancellor Danielle Struppa, Ph.D, is an avid proponent of international education, as it was important to him in his own collegiate journey. Struppa credits his international graduate studies for shaping much of who he is today. Struppa said the diverse group of friends made during that time exposed him to the wide world of different traditions, foods, literature and politics – even when they didn’t necessarily agree.

“I am a big believer in the value of an international experience, but it has to be an experience where the students allow themselves the discomfort and the excitement of hearing different ideas, reading different texts, and entering complex discussions,” Struppa said.

For these shorter summer jaunts in international exposure, the education can be a quick crash-course on how to navigate in another culture.

Much of the task falls to faculty to develop, organize and recruit interested students to come along for the ride.

For these educators, it’s more than a chance to take a trip to a far-off location: It’s an opportunity to provide an in-depth, hands-on education far away from the four walls of a classroom.

Associate Professor
Bill Cumiford
, Ph.D., describes his “Historical Rome” course as a chance to take learning off the pages. His students get to wander the locations they’ve read about in their textbooks and seen in movies, treading the paths of ancient peoples through major historic locations.

Grace Fong
, Ph.D associate professor, director of Keyboard Studies, happens to be a featured guest artist at the 
Costa Rica Youth Piano Festival
and is taking  four select students with her. For Fong, besides the opportunity to play, it’s a chance to explore and share a new experience with students.

“I am excited to hear and recruit students from various backgrounds, and to perform for and meet new audiences. I have never been to Costa Rica, so I’m looking forward to spending some time in a new culture,” Fong said.

One faculty traveler is making a trek to Prague in the Czech Republic with a former Chapman student to present at the prestigious 25th V.M. Goldschmidt Conference. It’s a major learning opportunity for both of them, but is also a chance to connect with far-flung friends.

“This is the premier conference for geochemists in the world and alternates between the U.S. and Europe each year,” 
Chris Kim
, Ph.D., associate professor, says. “I feel fortunate to be able to visit Prague this summer and reconnect with a number of my geochemist colleagues and friends.”

On the road?

Panthers – if you’re traveling somewhere interesting this summer, we want to hear from you and put you on our map! Tell us where you are and send your travel photos and tips to

Another trip takes 15 student documentarians through the spiritual heart of Japan. At the end of their class trip, “Discover Documentary Japan,” they will have shot rough cuts of small, anthropological and ethnographic documentaries of the Kii Peninsula region and Tokyo – a cultural far cry from downtown Orange.

“The goal of  this course is introduce Chapman students to Japanese culture and spirituality,”
Sally Rubin
, assistant professor and course leader.

group of students in Japan

Associate professor Sally Rubin’s students traveled to Tokyo and the Kii Peninsula to learning about the spiritual history and culture of Japan. They are pictured here in front of the Kumano Hongu Taisha in the Kumano Kodo region.

By the time everyone has disembarked from their flights before school starts, Panther travelers will have covered enough miles to circle the earth multiple times.

This is just a small sampling of people and locations that Panthers have traveled or will be traveling to this summer.

Each year, our faculty and hundreds of our students fly around the world collecting knowledge and information. We
some of the faculty ringleaders on their summer expeditions and have profiled them here for you.


girl sitting with suitcase
Grace Fong in travel mode, waiting for a plane.

Costa Rica and Grace Fong

Who: Grace Fong, Ph.D. associate professor, director of Keyboard Studies

Students: Four

Where: Costa Rica’s capital, San José

What: Fong will be performing and teaching private lessons and master classes at five music festivals this summer, including the Costa Rica Piano Festival, where she will perform Debussy’s Petite Suite, Poulenc’s Scaramouche, and Brahms’ Hungarian dances, which she describes as super fun pieces to work with.

This isn’t the only piano festival she’s traveling to this summer, but it is the sole one out of country. Fong will also be playing the Mainly Mozart Festival in Miami, the Lee International Piano Competition and Festival in Tennessee,SoCal Chamber Music, plus the Rheinhardt Piano Festival and Academy in Georgia. However, this trip to Costa Rica is her “Big Trip” for the season – it’s a  new place, in a new country.

Must Do: Hiking to Poas Volcano and take a zip lining canopy tour.

Travel Tip: Fong says to bring raincoats and lots of mosquito repellent.

man tossing coin into fountain
Bill Cumiford tossing a coin in the Trevi Fountain in Rome for good luck.

Italy and Bill Cumiford

Who: Bill Cumiford, Ph.D  associate professor of History

Students: 11 students

Where: Italy Rome, Pompeii and Florence in Italy

What: Summer travel course: “Historical Rome.” On this trip, students will see locations, cultural icons and art prominently mentioned in their educations. Cumiford encourages students to see as much as possible of Rome when enjoying their free days; especially if there are sites and structures specific to their educational interests.

Travel Tip: Cumiford says you might want to avoid discussions of national politics with the locals. It can become heated and may not the best expression of good American citizenship.

Must See: The Republican Forum and the Colosseum in Rome.


selfie of two men riding bikes
From Left: Ron Leland and Eric Chimenti chose bicycles as their mode of transport in London, even in suits.

London with Eric Chimenti and Ron Leland

Who: Eric Chimenti, associate professor and Ron Leland, adjunct faculty, both of Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Department of Art

Students: 13 students

Where: London, England

What: A 5-week partnership between Chapman University and Lunar Mission One (LM1) in London where Chapman students create communication materials to get middle schools, high schools and universities to submit cultural content such as art, poetry and music for a time capsule that will be left on the moon.

Travel Tip: Seeing London from a bus or a bike is better than taking the tube, even if you are on your way to a meeting in a suit.

Must Do: Try the food and don’t believe the rumors — Chimenti says the quality and variety of London food is amazing.

woman headshot
Shira Klein has been working in London researching the experience of the post-war Jewish population in Italy.

Oxford and Shira Klein

Who: Shira Klein, Ph.D assistant professor, History

Where: University of Oxford, United Kingdom

What: Klein gave a talk entitled “Holocaust Memory in Italy,” based on her upcoming book. The location, The University of Oxford, was picked for the talk as it  houses one of the leading centers of Jewish Studies. Forty people attended Klein’s talk.

Must Do: Klein’s travel tips are very literary-minded. She advises to visit Christ Church College, where the Harry Potter movies were filmed. Additionally, if you’re in town, you should drop by the Eagle & Child pub to see where J.R.R. Tolkien had a pint while writing The Lord of the Rings.

Travel Tip: Don’t drive on the wrong side of the road!

students climbing stairs in a forest
Sally Rubin’s documentary students take to the wooded hills of the Komono Kodo region in Japan, which is a spiritual center for Shinto and Buddhism practitioners.

Sally Rubin and Japan

Who: Sally Rubin, assistant professor, artistic faculty, Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts

Students: 15

Where: Japan in Tokyo, Kumano Kodo and the Kii Peninsula.

What:   A travel course, “Discover Documentary: Japan.” Rubin says the goal of this course is to introduce Chapman students to Japanese culture and spirituality. The region they are traveling, Kumano Kodo, holds an ancient pilgrimage site important to the practices of Shinto and Buddhism. The region of Kumono Kodo is considered by many to be the spiritual heartland of traditional Japanese culture.

Must Do: Rubin says an absolute must-do is to visit the Shirahama Onsen, a natural hot spring mineral bath location that.

Travel Tip:  Rubin says to be sure to observe and respect the fact that the Japanese have different boundaries than Americans. While we tend to share more openly, they tend to be a more reserved, but still extremely warm culture.


Man standing under umbrella
Chris Kim, pictured here, is traveling to Prague with his former lab assistant, Tyler Anthony ’14, to the 25th V.M. Goldschmidt international geochemistry conference, where they will each present on their recent research.

Chris Kim and Prague

Who: Chris Kim, Ph.D., associate professor, associate dean for Academic Programs; co-director, Office of Undergraduate Research, Schmid College of Science and Technology and alumni Tyler Anthony ‘14

Where: Prague, Czech Republic

What: Kim and Anthony are attending the 25th V.M. Goldschmidt international geochemistry conference, the premier geochemist conference in the world. Kim is giving an oral presentation on his recent research. Anthony was Kim’s former lab assistant and will be presenting his own research.

Must Do: Kim didn’t have any tips specific to Prague, but recommended that traveling groups rent an apartment instead of hotel rooms. Services such as make this easy and will allow you more space and comfort during a stay.

Travel Tip: Try to stay close to your conference location, especially if you have early morning lectures or presentations.

China with Clas Wilhborg, Kenneth E. Murphy and Niklas Myhr


Who: Kenneth E. Murphy, associate professor, assistant dean of Undergraduate Programs Argyros School of Business and Economics, Clas Wilhborg, professor, Fletcher Jones Chair in International Business; Research Faculty, Argyros School of Business and Economics and Niklas Myhr, assistant professor, Ph.D

Students: 19 students

Where: Beijing and Shanghai, China

What: A course called “Politics and Culture in Finance, Governance and Trade” on the world of international business dealings as reflected in China and Chinese business culture. Students get to explore Beijing and Shanghai and get exposure to the fast-paced business culture of China.

Must Do: Murphy said no one should miss Shanghai, the financial center of China.

Travel Tip: Murphy’s travel laws in China are to stay away from the three T’s: Tienanmen, Tibet and Taiwan. Additionally, no one in Shanghai wants to discuss politics at all.

group of students
Kenneth Murphy, middle in white with backpack strap, Clas Wilhborg, in back at far left,  and Niklas Myhr, far right, pictured with their students at the Shanghai Stock Exchange.




Woman with red hair in yellow dress

Brittany Hanson

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