Diversity & Democracy: Undergraduate Global Health—Call for Proposals

In an era when disaffection with higher education has become a staple of American media coverage, undergraduate Global Health programs represent a striking counterpoint, showcasing growth in student interest, administrative support, and the range of available post-graduation career pathways. The increasing complexity of global health challenges signals an urgent need for the multifaceted approach of liberal learning and the problem-solving skills it fosters. As a global community, we are facing a range of serious threats to human health, from emerging and re-emerging infectious and vector-borne diseases, to the ubiquitous scourge of sexual violence, to increasing pressures on limited natural resources such as potable water, to mass migration from civil unrest and the effects of climate change. These urgent and vital problems are clearly beyond the purview of any single traditional discipline or professional specialty to solve.

In recent years, higher education has seen a rapid expansion of Global Health undergraduate education as a strategy uniquely suited to prepare students to function effectively in the interdisciplinary teams of scholars, clinicians, practitioners, and other professionals who are desperately needed to solve such problems. But these interdisciplinary Global Health programs face their own suite of challenges as well, such as a lack of existing programmatic models, high demands on faculty and staff, and ever tighter budgets across a range of institutions.

This issue of Diversity & Democracy—produced by the Association of American Colleges and Universities in partnership with Allegheny College—provides a forum for advancing the public conversation about undergraduate Global Health education in this contemporary context. Of particular interest are contributions that reflect a commitment to student diversity, social justice, civic engagement, and global citizenship.

The volume will address three main topic areas.

1. Global Health education in the classroom

The challenges of designing and teaching effective interdisciplinary courses at the undergraduate level are significant. Many faculty are trained in more traditionally defined fields or departments, and our students often arrive in our classrooms without much awareness of even the types of work encompassed under the broad umbrella of health. So how can we teach effectively in such circumstances? Articles on this topic will showcase a range of assignments, course elements, and student activities that speak directly to the needs of the undergraduate Global Health classroom and contribute to the wider discussion of effective interdisciplinary pedagogy.

2. Global Health education beyond the classroom

While the classroom components of any undergraduate Global Health program are a vital aspect of student success, the nature of global health work demands that students engage with communities, cultures, and problems beyond their coursework as well. Both domestic and international community-engaged work places high demands on home institutions in terms of resources and personnel, and requires a great deal of preparation on the part of the students and those supervising these experiences. Submissions related to this topic may evaluate a wide range of experiential learning opportunities, but in each case should directly address the unique needs/challenges of undergraduate students in such programs.

3. Structures and institutions of Global Health education

The success of undergraduate Global Health education depends on more than just the work of faculty and students—it also relies upon a network of partners both within and beyond our home institutions. Developing, launching, and sustaining a robust undergraduate Global Health curriculum requires the support of administrators, structures that recognize the value of interdisciplinary work, and opportunities for undergraduate faculty development in Global Health. These essays will showcase creative approaches to support undergraduate Global Health education in particular institutional contexts.

Proposals should reflect the interdisciplinary nature of Global Health education, should be grounded in relevant literature, and might include student perspectives as appropriate. Contributions from a wide range of educational settings, including collaborations between institutions, are particularly welcome. Submissions should include a short abstract of the proposed essay (200–300 words) and a brief explanation of how the authors see the essay contributing to the larger conversation on undergraduate Global Health education.

Accepted authors will be invited to contribute a finished essay (1,300–2,000 words). Final essays will be subject to editorial review and must meet the needs of the volume.


CFP released: Friday, June 15, 2018

Proposals due: Friday, August 31, 2018

Authors notified by: Monday, October 1, 2018

Completed essays due: Friday, November 30, 2018

To ask questions related to this call or to submit proposals, contact Emily Schuster, editor of Diversity & Democracy at AAC&U, schuster@aacu.org.