Demographic pressures, natural resource demands, environmental challenges, rapid technological change, economic integration, new security threats, and other transnational issues invite global engagement on the part of colleges and universities. As educators and citizens, faculty and administrators should want their graduates to possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to effectively communicate and collaborate across cultures in an effort to address pressing global issues.
The Global Engagement Initiative (formerly Seven Revolutions Project), part of the American Democracy Project at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), focuses on educating globally competent citizens at colleges and universities. AASCU partnered originally with The New York Times Company, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and 10 AASCU member campuses to create a faculty toolkit, a national online blended-learning course, an eBook, faculty development workshops, and a student guide. All of these products focus on the promise and peril inherent in the global challenges of population, resources, technology, information, economies, conflict, and governance. The evolution of the partnerships, the products produced, and the distinctive aspects of the initiative are explained in this article.
In 2006 the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) launched its Global Engagement Initiative and began developing a set of curricular tools for faculty to use in educating globally competent citizens. In 2011 the initiative developed a national blended model course. That course has now been delivered to more than 1,200 students on 15 campuses across the country and abroad. This paper explores the effectiveness of the national blended course in meeting its stated learning objectives. In 2013-14, pre/post-tests were conducted on three pilot campuses. The pre/post-tests indicate that students’ knowledge about global issues and ways to get involved in civic life increased after taking the model course. Progress toward some of the other learning objectives was less clear, and the authors make recommendations for further study.
Why should students study abroad? The standard answer universities give cites three types of benefit: academic, cultural, and professional. We argue that this answer sells the value of study abroad short. Just as important as any of these benefits is the value study abroad has in promoting moral development. Drawing on key ideas of the seminal developmental psychologists Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg, we make the case that study abroad can facilitate moral development, whether one understands morality in utilitarian, Kantian, or sentimentalist terms. It does so by helping students take the perspective of those who are culturally different, inducing the cognitive disequilibrium that is crucial to growth in moral and empirical knowledge, and expanding the scope of feelings of empathy.
To become citizens of the world, students must understand with their heads, hands, and hearts the complex realities that people live within in a globalizing but nonetheless richly diverse world. A short-term study-abroad program, while brief in duration, may profoundly affect student learning and, indeed, transform life paths by providing students real experiences of cosmopolitan consciousness. The program described below and represented by the accompanying videos focuses on immersive, service-based learning in Costa Rica for the purpose of exploring sustainability in its multiple registers—social, environmental, and economic. Student reflection and commentary from our Costa Rican host institution confirm that programs such as this contribute critical insight toward the formation of globally competent citizens.
These three TED Talks address global challenges, and how we (the world’s seven billion inhabitants), our national governments, and the international community can make the world a better, safer, more prosperous place. In this review, we will summarize each talk, offer a brief critique, and then synthesize some of the most salient points of each. We will review the talks in chronological order.
In the Global Studies Reader, 2nd Edition, editor Manfred Steger offers an excellent compilation of 20 articles that address the varied and complex nature of global issues that are of concern today. Global studies (GS) has, according to Steger (2015), “emerged as a vibrant field of academic study that cuts across conventional disciplinary boundaries and subject markers” (p. 3). Within this book, Steger addresses GS from a problem-centered perspective and contrasts it to its more traditional academic cousin, international relations (IR). While IR is concerned almost solely with the actions of the state, Steger argues that GS goes beyond that to also look at social, environmental, and contextual (gender, poverty, etc.) problems with a much greater focus on applied public policy.
Today’s college students, much like our planet, are experiencing change at a rapidly increasing rate. Young people’s access to technology, and with it their susceptibility to cyber crises, connects them more than ever before to the driving forces in our global society. As educators grapple with how to engage students with these forces, they may look to programs or initiatives that seek to increase interpersonal connections and exposure to new environments. While these approaches carry with them enormous benefits, we cannot lose sight of the importance of inner-personal development and reflection. In addition to understanding how globalization affects populations, students must be able to articulate how global change affects them individually. Establishing this personal connection is key to their engagement on a larger scale.