TVS Director of Global Initiatives
Meet Dr. Michael Roemer
When I was eight years old, my family moved to a small town in Japan. At first, we were overwhelmed. We didn't speak the language, we knew almost nothing about the culture, and we weren't exactly sure how the year ahead would go. From day one, we put our trust in the hands of complete strangers—taxi drivers, train conductors, random people we met, my father's colleagues at the university where he would teach, my school, and many, many others. We left everything we knew—our home, our friends, American pizza, root beer, and all the other things we were beginning to take for granted. What we found, however, was a year of new experiences, new friends, new foods, and a new second home.
Since that year, I have been to Japan eight other times as a junior in college, Coordinator for International Relations in Kumamoto City Hall on the Japan Exchange Teaching Programme, teacher/trip leader for American high school and college students, and researcher. Each time brings new learning opportunities and new friendships—many of which are completely unplanned.
My childhood experiences abroad taught me the immeasurable value of interacting with people from other countries and cultures. I have learned so much from them about myself, my country, and the world beyond.
It is my hope that I can share similar learning opportunities with students at TVS and around the world. In our highly connected world, traveling abroad is not the only way to experience other cultures. The Global Initiatives Program takes advantage of contemporary technologies to connect our students with others via the Internet. Ultimately, it is our vision that every student at TVS will be given repeated opportunities to interact with people around the world in meaningful ways—intellectually and socially.
Dr. Gary Krahn (TVS Headmaster 2006-2015) often said, “If you want to be a leader in the world, you need to understand the world.”
To that I add, “To understand the world, you need to interact with it.”
Trinity Valley School’s Global Initiatives Program aims to connect all our students and educators with people from around the world.
The DGI’s Responsibilities
The Director of Global Initiatives’ main responsibilities include teaching lessons with all grades about different cultures, histories, and ways of life; organizing stays for foreign visitors (students and adults); creating and maintaining blogs and Web sites with which our students communicate and learn with students in other countries; informing students and faculty of travel/study abroad opportunities and local events/speakers/workshops; filming and editing videos of life at TVS to share with our friends around the world; encouraging faculty to attend internationalization in the classroom workshops, talks, or trips abroad; sponsoring the Upper School Junior World Affairs Council club; and arranging for guest speakers/performances to enhance faculty lessons. Though there are many other roles the DGI fills, Dr. Roemer is most concerned with connecting our students with people from different cultures.
About the Director
Dr. Roemer received a Ph.D. in Sociology and an M.A. in Asian Cultures and Languages from The University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Japanese and Asian Studies (China & Japan) from Connecticut College. A six-month field study in Kyoto, Japan during his junior year abroad at Doshisha University eventually led him to graduate and post-graduate research on Japanese religious practices. After earning his Ph.D., Dr. Roemer taught at Ball State University (Muncie, IN) as an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. He developed courses on Japanese religions and Buddhism and published a number of works based on his research on Japanese religiousness, festivals, and connections between religion and health. Before graduate school, Dr. Roemer taught Japanese and Asian and African Civilizations at St. Mary’s Hall in San Antonio, TX. He has lived in Japan for over three years (as a second-grader, junior in college, and Kumamoto City Hall employee) and has made 8 other shorter trips there with students and for research (see his travel blog for recent trips to many other countries). He is excited to have returned to the K-12 setting in Texas to help make global awareness, global competence, and intercultural interactions an integral part of the TVS educational experience.
Dr. Roemer's research can be found in the Journal of the European Teacher Education Network (2015), Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions (Brill 2012), Journal of Ritual Studies (2012), Religion and the Social Order (Brill 2006, 2011, & 2015), Atheism and Secularity (Praeger 2010), Social Forces (2010), Japan Forum (2010), Review of Religious Reserach (2009, 2010), and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (2007).
Dr. Roemer serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Worth Sister Cities International, he is the TVS Coordinator (ECO) for the European Teacher Education Network, he is a member of the DFW World Affairs Council and the Global Education Benchmark Group, and he is the Advisor for our campus Junior World Affairs Council.
To learn more about Dr. Roemer or his publications, please see his curriculum vita.
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