Global Learning Initiative
Global Learning Coordinator
238 Wilkinson Hall
What I've Been Reading
Internationalization: In Search of Intercultural Competence Darla Deardorff
A Foundation for the Internationalization of the Academic Self Gavin Sanderson
Global Learning at OSU
At Oregon State University, global learning means that faculty, students and staff are engaged in developing knowledge, skills and attitudes about the world, its problems and its people through the academic curriculum, research and experiences beyond the classroom that include diverse members of our community. University-wide Learning Goals for Graduates of Oregon State University frame our commitment that learners will develop an understanding of global forces that affect life in the ecosystems of our planet, addressing global issues from a multi-disciplinary perspective and appreciating the diversity of human experience.
Learners acquire skills that enable them to construct new and creative ideas that would generate effective action in an evolving global environment. They also develop an understanding of cultural difference in verbal and nonverbal communication and negotiate a shared understanding based on those differences. Learners with a global perspective care about global issues, possess a sense of global identity, and consider the implications of their decisions on local and global systems.
Global awareness and global literacy have become calls in higher education in the United States and Canada (Clark and Clark 2003, Hooker 2003, Burnouf 2004). There are multiple challenges in achieving these outcomes. One challenge lies in making this “literacy” authentic and relevant for diverse students aspiring to be professionals in different fields. A second challenge is in reconciling the tension between teaching for deep “mastery” of knowledge in a subject area and teaching for broader global awareness through a collection of courses or experiences. A third challenge is developing in students the tacit understanding that enables them to link the global and the local in ways that are meaningful and useful in their work and life. This is particularly relevant in science, engineering and technology where problems and solutions students see in the classroom are usually decontextualized and solutions developed as if the broader (e.g., social, environmental, political) context were irrelevant. Perhaps the largest challenge of all is supporting faculty as they wade into the necessarily interdisciplinary nature of such teaching and learning. Some of these tensions were pointed out by Peter Stearns who describes the efforts at George Mason University to include a global affairs category in their general education (Stearns 2010).