Skip to content

ADP’s 7 Revolutions becomes Global Engagement Initiative

By Dennis Falk, Chair of ADP’s Global Engagement Scholars and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Social Work, University of Minnesota Duluth


Over five years ago The New York Times and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) joined AASCU’s American Democracy Project to create what became known as “The Seven Revolutions Project.” The name of the project emanated from a framework developed by Erik Peterson, who consulted with other leading policy analysts within CSIS and identified the seven global forces (“revolutions”) expected to most impact the world in the next 20-25 years. These revolutions include 1) population, 2) resource management, 3) technology, 4) information, 5) economics, 6) conflict, and 7) governance.

Faculty from 10 AASCU institutions (“Seven Revolutions Scholars”) decided to use the seven revolutions framework to develop curriculum with the goal of educating globally competent citizens at AASCU institutions. These faculty members initially shared teaching materials and resources to develop courses on their home campuses that could meet the identified goal. CSIS provided resources specifically oriented to college and university students, and The Times organized its rich and relevant resources into templates within the Epsilen Learning Environment, a comprehensive course management system that also allows social networking and the development of portfolios.

To expand the impact of the project, the AASCU Seven Revolution Scholars decided to create an extensive monograph titled “Educating Globally Competent Citizens: A Toolkit for Teaching Seven Revolutions” in 2010. This Toolkit provided background information on the project, summarized key content related to seven revolutions content, and compiled three years of campus case studies, teaching and learning materials, and teaching resources. A hard copy of the Toolkit was published, and a pdf version could be downloaded free of charge. The Toolkit is currently being revised and updated.

At the same time, 7 Revs Scholars offered workshops and institutes to interested faculty. Multiple sessions have been offered annually at the ADP National Meeting, and member campuses provided workshops for their colleagues. Two day training institutes were offered in Washington, D.C. in spring 2010 and at CSU Fresno in Fresno, Calif. in fall 2011.

Recent activities focused on developing a national blended learning course on seven revolutions topics that provides print, graphic, audio, and video content; teaching and learning activities; online tests; and additional assessment activities in an integrated format within Epsilen. This course was used in some of the 10 participating schools in fall 2011 and is additionally being piloted in four additional schools across the country. The course is currently being polished for national release in Fall 2012.

In December 2012 AASCU received word that CSIS was withdrawing from the project, but authorized AASCU to continue using the seven revolutions framework and content resources. Losing CSIS as a partner necessitated a number of changes. Consistent with AASCU terminology, the Seven Revolutions Initiative became the Global Engagement Initiative, and the Seven Revolutions Scholars are now Global Engagement Scholars. The blended learning course based on the seven revolutions framework, which was initially to have seven revolutions as part of its name, is now titled “Global Challenges: Promise and Peril in the 21st Century.”

Despite these changes, the Global Engagement Initiative maintains the original goal. We will continue to update and disseminate a toolkit for faculty reference, to offer workshops that assist faculty in developing essential knowledge and skills, and to provide a state-of-the-art national blended learning course—all with the same goal of educating globally competent citizens at AASCU institutions.

For more information about ADP’s Global Engagement Initiative, go here.

For more information about the Global Challenges course, go here.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Christine Kelly #

    THe more I understand about CSIS, the less I find this appropriate for ADP/AASCU. Do campuses really understand the political agenda and interests that define the intellectual frame of this content?


    September 15, 2012
    • In a marketplace of ideas, it is not necessary to buy everything a source has to offer. Rather, we are free to select those ideas that we find thoughtful, engaging and useful. The Seven Revolutions analysis that served as a launching pad for ADP and Red Balloon’s development of its Global Challenges course is a good example of careful and thoughtful selection of an engaging and useful set of well-researched ideas. As it has been developed, the Global Challenges course and materials do not adhere entirely to the larger intellectual frame or agenda of CSIS. Rather, it has become a useful framework for exposing undergraduates to a complex set of pressing global issues. ADP and Red Balloon have made this sweeping view of our world a very useful learning platform independent of other CSIS ideas or activities. In short, we believe we have made a purchase in the marketplace of ideas and made it our own for our own purposes.


      October 3, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: