Global Learning and the College Curriculum: Nurturing Student Efficacy in a Global World
As more colleges and universities integrate the language of global learning into campus mission statements and strategic plans, the prominence and profile of global learning continues to rise. Institutional cases for offering global learning across all disciplines and majors have been made. Global learning ensures that students draw from scholarship generated across the globe to solve problems that exist both at home and abroad. In order to truly provide integrated global learning opportunities for all students, it is essential to understand what global learning means in diverse contexts on our campuses, in our nation, and throughout the world and to offer multiple opportunities for global learning across the curriculum and co-curricular activities both on and off campus.
Study abroad remains the highest profile global learning practice, but with only 10% of students participating in study abroad programs nationally, institutions must investigate and offer additional global learning opportunities in which all students can participate—opportunities including community engagement, global internships, multicultural studies, intercultural immersion experiences, integration of international students, interactive videoconferencing, language study, study away, and interdisciplinary problem-based learning. These are the kinds of learning experiences that provide students with opportunities to learn about differences and attempt to solve global problems collaboratively and creatively—experiences central to preparing all students to be active citizens and successful employees in their home communities, their nation, and the world.
Many of the challenges facing our nation and the world in the twenty-first century are global in nature, and students need to be prepared to solve these problems with an ethical, global mindset—an awareness and a willingness to investigate and solve problems using diverse perspectives and working with diverse groups of people. Students need these experiences while they are in college to prepare them for life and work once they leave their campuses. As it stands, some students have access to global learning, but new majority students—first generation, low income, non-traditional ages, and/or students of color—and many others, have been underserved and underrepresented in global learning opportunities. The skills associated with global learning are essential for all students, so opportunities to meaningfully engage new majority and international students must be developed as a part of strategic planning and other global learning campus initiatives. Nurturing global learning outcomes in college compels us to address questions such as:
- How do colleges and universities ensure meaningful global learning opportunities are extended to all students?
- How do global learning outcomes at the institutional, school, department, or course level guide global learning opportunities?
- How do curricular pathways provide global learning experiences across the educational experience?
- How are ethical global learning experiences developed at home and abroad? How are community and business partners integrated into the program development and assessment process to ensure integrity for experiences and student learning?
- How are global learning experiences assessed?
- How are international students engaged and integrated into the educational experience?
- How are global learning experiences organized with limited financial support?
- How does technology facilitate meaning global learning experiences for students?
- How does global learning contribute to knowledge generation and understanding of real world concerns related to natural resources, climate change, water and food security, health issues, education, equity, empowerment, and personal safety?
Global learning has the potential to provide all students with opportunities to engage in crucial real-world learning about both local and global issues. Sessions at this conference will examine and discuss how institutions are integrating and assessing global learning across the curriculum; creating, implementing, and assessing globally-focused courses and programs; developing and implementing global civic engagement experiences at home and abroad; integrating international students in meaningful ways; providing global learning experiences for new majority students; and examining global sustainability issues.
For a review of the 2015 Global Learning in College conference, please see 2015 conference information.