Santa Monica College (SMC) has received a nearly $180,000 two-year federal grant that college officials say will be used to develop a comprehensive international studies program.

The U.S. Department of Education grant is for $88,500 in 2009-10 and is expected to total $89,986 in 2010-11.

Specifically, the funding comes from the department’s Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program, which provides grants to strengthen and improve undergraduate instruction in international studies and foreign languages.

“We’re very pleased to have received this grant, which will help tremendously as we continue our comprehensive efforts to enhance global awareness reflected in the curriculum and campus environment as part of the Santa Monica College experience,” said Kelley Brayton, dean of International Studies.

The grant comes in the third year of SMC’s global citizenship initiative, which college officials say seeks to foster in students an understanding of international, intercultural and ecological issues, as well as an understanding of economic factors and human rights and environmental issues.

The initiative distinguishes itself from other colleges and universities by incorporating volunteer work and the cultivation of a sense of global responsibility, college officials said.

In the two and a half years since the global citizenship initiative was launched, the college has taken major steps toward realizing its goal, officials note. The college has added a global citizenship requirement (one class) for students to receive an Associate of Arts degree.

SMC has also strengthened its Study Abroad program and, through the Associated Students, provided scholarships for low-income students to participate in such overseas study trips, according to the college.

The grant money will allow the college to expand its global citizenship initiative, particularly with the goal of establishing Study Abroad programs in China and Turkey, Brayton said.