Global issues incorporated in JCU education

November 4th, 2010

John Carroll University has recently been selected as one of thirty-two colleges and universities to participate in a new program called General Education for a Global Century. This program is sponsored and run by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). The AAC&U is an organization dedicated to enhancing liberal education through various programs.

John Carroll has worked with the association several times in the past.  In order to be selected for this new program, a group of John Carroll faculty members had to apply and submit a narrative on the University’s stance and commitment to global issues. John Carroll is currently undergoing an academic transformation and saw this program as a great opportunity to get more involved in a global sense.

One of the faculty members involved in this new project is Nicholas Santilli, the associate academic vice president for planning and assessment. He describes the transformation John Carroll is undergoing as an “Academic strategic planning process [where] we can get a more comprehensive look at the student experience at our university.”  The faculty is trying to match the way they teach to the way students learn and make John Carroll a unique experience with specific core elements that will be taught from freshman through senior year.

A big element to the General Education for a Global Century program is to be able to incorporate contemporary world issues into the courses. So what exactly does this mean for the JCU curriculum? The program is just starting to develop and nothing is surely decided yet but the program will set into motion the discussion of re-examining core curriculum, major, minors and certain requirements. JCU wants to reinforce the concept of globalization into every aspect of the university experience. Santilli, along with Lauren Bowen, associate academic vice president for academic programs and faculty diversity; Jeanne Colleran, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Anne Kugler, a JCU professor of history, and Gwen Compton-Engle, an associate professor in classical and modern languages, will begin the first stages of the program by attending several workshops over the summer. At these workshops they will learn different methods of how to strengthen globalization through teaching and how other colleges and universities are implementing global awareness and action into their education. General Education for a Global Century’s content includes diversity, democracy, global emphasis, scientific literacy, and advanced integrative inquiry: skills that are all deemed necessary for a young person to be aware and involved in a globalized world.

Bowen explained the objective of the new program, “Our overall goal is for our students to be able to function in a global society.”

The program will be a lot of work for our faculty and it will be awhile before any real changes to curriculum are made, but the faculty is very hopeful and excited about the new opportunity they have been given.

Colleran is the project director of General Education for a Global Century and described globalization and the promises of the new program at John Carroll.

“The transformative effects of globalization are felt not only economically, but also culturally, politically, technologically and ecologically,” she said. “Because globalization affects virtually every aspect of contemporary life, it is important that faculty at JCU think about how best to equip students to understand its processes, meet its challenges and critique its values. Participating in the Global Futures Project will help us to achieve this goal.”