2013 Global Learning in College: Asking Big Questions, Engaging Urgent Challenges

2013 Global Learning in College: Asking Big Questions, Engaging Urgent Challenges

October 3, 2013 to October 5, 2013
Providence, Rhode Island
Omni Providence Hotel
One West Exchange Street
Providence, RI 02903

Colleges and universities are working energetically to define what they mean by global learning and to devise curricular frameworks in general education and the majors that advance student learning and responsibility for a global society.  They are also working to create new spheres for global learning – physical and virtual, near and far, curricular and co-curricular.  At its best, global learning provides opportunities for all students to think critically about complex, interdependent systems—natural, physical, social, cultural, economic, and political; and to engage the histories and possible futures of these systems.  Global learning can and should invite all students to learn how to be responsible citizens, attentive to issues of culture, diversity, perspective, power, and privilege.  And global learning should encourage students to question and engage the world’s most pressing problems and to measure the impact of their actions on the common good of both local and global communities. Global Learning in College: Asking Big Questions, Engaging Urgent Challenges will examine campus practices that match the ambitious goals of global learning with concrete learning opportunities that help students gain the knowledge, skills, and commitments needed for global competence. 

Calls that invoke the U.S. desire to remain a “global leader” and workforce demands for collaborative understanding and skills serve as constant reminders that global learning matters greatly in the twenty-first century.  Yet much more remains to be done if students’ demonstrated global knowledge and engagement are to become essential to work on campuses and essential to national accountability frameworks in higher education.

How do colleges and universities ensure that a liberal education prepares students—with the help of educators, scholars, and researchers at home and around the globe—to meaningfully test their deepening knowledge and developing skills against the big, complex questions and urgent challenges that transcend boundaries and invite collaboration?  How and where are students learning about the cultural and geopolitical contexts in which these urgent challenges exist?  As advances in technology, communications, and trade connect people and resources across great distances, what are the concomitant implications for both personal and social responsibilities for the common good?  What efforts are underway to address questions of diversity and equity as students explore contested definitions of the common good through global learning?  How is the concept of “Global Commons” understood and differentiated from multiple vantage points and what is its role in global learning?  And how can we leverage our efforts to articulate the theory and practice of global learning in order to reimagine the dominant—and still largely Western—structures and designs of undergraduate education?

AAC&U offers the LEAP Principles of Excellence to help campuses frame global learning to:

Aim High—and Make Excellence Inclusive
Give Students a Compass
Teach the Arts of Inquiry and Innovation
Engage the Big Questions
Connect Knowledge and Choices and Action
Foster Civic, Intercultural, and Ethical Learning
Assess Students’ Ability to Apply Learning to Complex Problems

Please join us in Providence to help define global knowledge, competence, and agency and share promising practices that are helping students collaborate with others in the context of real-world questions, challenges, and projects.