2018 Global Engagement and Spaces of Practice
Exploring Global Challenges across Disciplinary Boundaries
In today’s interconnected world, place is a crucial point of departure for inquiry, collaboration, and discovery. At the same time, the most pressing problems respect no borders, whether geopolitical, philosophical, or disciplinary. Therefore, traditional approaches to learning—often defined by campus boundaries, barriers, and silos—may not fully equip students to understand the complexity of contemporary issues. To live, compete, and innovate in a global society, students need learning experiences that are rooted in the messy intricacies of the real world. To provide such experiences, colleges and universities need new, boundary-spanning approaches to teaching and learning.
How are educators creating opportunities for students to cross disciplinary, geographical, and philosophical boundaries? How are students interrogating and participating in informed civil discussion about different placed-based responses to global issues? How are they engaging in current debates about contested topics, including disputes about monuments and memorials and conversations about policies and practices affecting human migration? How are students using their lived experiences and acquired knowledge to examine emerging narratives about these and other subjects, and how are they applying research and evidence to challenge their own and others’ assumptions? How are they learning to become globally aware citizens and employees with a sense of personal and social responsibility in a shared world?
This year’s Global Engagement and Spaces of Practice conference will consider how educators are using place-based disciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiry to focus and integrate learning across a variety of geographic, cultural, and philosophical domains to engage students in issues that matter to them and to society. Participants will share how they are connecting institutional leadership with curricular and cocurricular options to ensure that all students experience global learning, using place as a lens through which to understand the world. They will examine how these campus-wide approaches can become part of the institutional fabric, and how faculty and staff are prepared, supported, and incentivized to provide students with opportunities to apply their skills in a variety of settings, at increasingly challenging levels.
AAC&U encourages individuals and teams of faculty, student affairs educators, administrators, and students to explore new approaches to global learning in the disciplines and through interdisciplinary courses and programs—study on campus, study away, study abroad, and community-based learning. Together, we will interrogate how institutions are connecting their campuses with communities across the street or around the globe in response to pressing issues of global concern. We aim to ensure that students are prepared to enhance the well-being of local and global communities and succeed in the workforce through collaboration with individuals from diverse disciplinary and cultural backgrounds, drawing on knowledge from traditional and nontraditional spaces.