By Cecilia M. Orphan, National Manager, American Democracy Project
People in higher education often talk about the importance of developing global competence in undergraduate education. In fact, most four-year public institutions declare the goal of exposing their students to international education within university framing documents such as their strategic plans and mission statements. But there is less coherence about what this actually means. The 7 Revolutions initiative was created as a way to experiment with practical strategies for educating globally competent citizens.
Tonight kicks off the start of a three-day meeting with the 7 Revolutions Scholars, a group of academic leaders who have done groundbreaking work in creating a set of best practices for preparing undergraduate students as global citizens. During this meeting, the Scholars will plan for the next steps in the initiative, including hosting future institutes and expanding the core working group to include additional AASCU campuses. The Scholars lead the national 7 Revolutions Initiative, which launched in 2006 in partnership with ADP, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a globally-recognized think tank, and The New York Times. The 7 Revolutions explores the seven major global trends that will shape the world by 2025. These seven trends are:
- resource management and environmental stewardship;
- technological innovation;
- the development and dissemination of information and knowledge;
- economic integration;
- conflict; and
Currently, 10 ADP campuses are involved in the 7 Revolutions initiative, and 55 AASCU institutions have incorporated the 7 Revolutions content and pedagogical materials into their undergraduate programs. To date, the initiative has hosted four institutes and produced a guide for incorporating the 7 Revolutions into course curriculum and on-campus programming entitled, Educating Globally Competent Citizens: A Tool Kit for Teaching Seven Revolutions. The tool kit is available for sale on this website.
In addition to producing the tool kit and the institutes, the 7 Revolutions Scholars have also been working diligently to educate their own students as globally competent citizens. What follows is a sampling of their inspiring work.
Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State has created a learning community that involves a cohort of 28 incoming freshmen. This semester, the freshmen are taking four courses together and 7 Revolutions is one of these courses. The course is called, “Sustainability and the Future: The 7 Revolutions.” In the spring, this group of students will visit CSIS in Washington, DC and meet with some of the leading experts employed by the think tank. In addition to the learning community, Fort Hays State is experimenting with a variety of other strategies for incorporating the 7 Revolutions content into campus programming.
Southeast Missouri State University
For the past four years, Southeast Missouri State has brought a group of junior seminar students to Washington, DC, for a special three-day program at CSIS. During this program, the students explore each of the Revolutions in more detail. In addition to this course, Southeast Missouri State is incorporating 7 Revolutions content into a freshman-level “introduction to college” course. This means that the majority of freshmen students will be exposed to 7 Revolutions content.
Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw created a “Tomorrow’s World Today” course and is currently offering 13 sections of this course. In addition, three sections of this course will be offered in the spring. This course is a first-year seminar that uses the 7 Revolutions framework and serves to anchor a program designed to prepare globally competent leaders. The program consists of 40 honors students enrolled in one of two first-semester learning communities as President’s Emerging Global Scholars (PEGS). Participating students are admitted to the PEGS program based on their high school GPA; SAT/ACT scores, and a personal interview to assess leadership potential. The two learning communities are anchored by a common section of the “Tomorrow’s World Today” first-year seminar course. One group of 20 students with various interests (other than STEM fields) focuses on the 7 Revolutions and Brazil. This group just completed a 10 day trip to Brazil which was embedded in their learning community and occurred from Oct 16-26. A second group of 20 students with an interest in STEM disciplines are in the same first-year seminar section but have a different set of companion courses in their learning community. This group focuses on the 7 Revolutions as they apply to Mexico and the students will travel to Guadalajara, Mexico in the spring. During these travel experiences, the students will learn first-hand how the 7 Revolutions relate to Brazil and Mexico respectively.
California State University, Fresno
CSU Fresno created a first-year experience course for 100 at-risk students. A cohort of these students will take the same classes with the same professors throughout the entire year. The goal is to have the common theme of 7 Revolutions taught in all general education courses that these students take. Many of the CSU Fresno faculty are using the Global Village activity with students as a way to explore the 7 Revolutions. Finally, Martin Shapiro, the 7 Revolutions Scholar from CSU Fresno, is working with a committee on undergraduate education to emphasize Global Citizenship within general education requirements, borrowing lessons learned from the first-year experience course described above.
University of Minnesota Duluth
Dennis Falk, one of the 7 Revolutions Scholars at the University of Minnesota Duluth, is teaching four courses on global issues. One course is being taught online to 50 students. Bill Payne, the other 7 Revolutions Scholar at UM Duluth, is teaching 7 Revolutions as a theatrical framework in theater courses. Students are learning about global citizenship while practicing the arts of directing and acting.
Western Kentucky University (WKU)
The 7 Revolutions are studied by students and faculty in several departments at WKU. Currently, there are 7 Revolutions courses offered in Interdisciplinary Studies, Political Science, and Geography. In addition, there are wider initiatives to “internationalize” the curriculum and the campus as whole, and the 7 Revolutions framework is being employed to help guide that conversation. The 7 Revolutions framework is also being used to develop a four credit hour course for students in the Honors College. This sophomore-level course will serve as one of the cornerstones of a revised general education curriculum that will be required of all students in the college. This team-taught course will analyze a host of developments transforming the world today and emphasize a global perspective on the opportunities and challenges that these trends may produce over the next several decades. Nathan Phelps is developing the course and oversees the 7 Revolutions Program while teaching in the Honors College at WKU.
Question: How is your university working to educate globally competent citizens?