Center for Curriculum Transformation

Global Learning Initiative

Expanding Global Learning Opportunities for UW Undergraduates, Spring 2008 Seminar

The Center for Curriculum Transformation, Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, and The Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs sponsored its annual seminar for spring 2008 on the topic of preparing undergraduate students for global citizenship. Seminar participants created new courses, study abroad programs and resource materials that engaged undergraduate students in substantive study of race, gender, ethnicity, and other socially constructed categories of difference and equiped students to address social justice issues. The goal of this program was to provide a more diverse group of students with the knowledge, skills, and values to address pressing global issues in ways that transcend the traditional boundaries between the “global” and the “local.”

Final project reports will be posted online as they become available. Access the report by clicking on the project title below.

Impetus for the Seminar

There is increasing attention on college and university campuses and in higher education associations on preparing students for global citizenship. The term “global citizenship,” however, too often refers only to international education rather than encompassing U.S. diversity and multicultural education as components. The American Council on Education, as part of their Global Learning for All Project, has issued a report calling for institutions of higher education to develop new frameworks for thinking about what and who is “national” or “domestic,” and what and who is “international.” They identify the need for new educational approaches for teaching about difference, for promoting international understanding, and for creating institutions that truly reflect the pluralism of American society. The Association of American Colleges and Universities has launched a new initiative to connect the civic learning movement, the U.S. diversity movement, and the global learning movement, as described in their new online publication, Diversity & Democracy.

At UW, a Global Citizens Task Force is preparing a report and recommendations on developing global citizenship learning goals and how to achieve them in all aspects of the undergraduate experience. Task Force members believe that the education of global citizens includes a deep understanding of the ways in which local populations and challenges are connected to people and issues around the world. Social justice issues are as critical to address at home as in other countries; uniting the global and the local can create powerful learning opportunities.

Finally, there is a strong impetus to expand study abroad opportunities for underserved and underrepresented students. The 2005-2006 International Programs & Exchanges report on student demographics shows that participation of most ethnic minority groups is much lower than their representation at the University. The Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity has begun to address this problem through sponsoring study abroad opportunities for the students they serve as well as developing a strategic plan to address problems of underrepresentation in study abroad programs.

Participants and Projects

Alejandro Cerón Valdés (Department of Anthropology)
Diverse Responses to Health Problems Around The World: A Resource and Study Guide

This resource and study guide will cover different aspects relevant to the diversity of the responses to health problems around the world. Topics include: 1) the diversity of medical systems (beliefs, practices, healers and institutions) that come together in people’s experience of suffering and illness; and 2) the ways in which those medical systems are articulated in health systems (how the medical systems are organized and institutionalized to give access to the people) in different societies. Available resources include readings (academic articles and books), websites, movies, and novels. They will be organized in a database (Excel file) with keywords to identify the resources needed for the user’s purpose, according to specific level (graduate, undergraduate), disciplinary emphasis (anthropology, social sciences, health sciences), geographic focus (region, country), and particular topics relevant to health systems (organization, funding, provision, coordination, etc) and medical systems (therapeutic process, medical pluralism, health knowledge, and practices).

Rachel Chapman (Department of Anthropology)
Introduction to Medical Anthropology and Global Health

The goal of this project is to create a new 200-level introduction to medical anthropology and global health course. This course will serve as a core course in the Anthropology Department’s growing Medical Anthropology and Global Health curriculum which will become sub-disciplinary track for undergraduate anthropology majors. The course will introduce students to the key ideas, concepts, and methods of sociocultural anthropology through the lens medical anthropology and global health. While course materials expose students to a range of topics in medical anthropology, emphasis is placed on analysis of broad cultural, environmental, social-economic, and political systems that contribute to health status and outcomes, health policies, and health care delivery around the world. Drawing on examples from medical anthropology ethnography within a multicultural and global context, students will encounter new frameworks for understanding their own experiences and culture(s) as they explore ways that the practice of medical anthropology can contribute to addressing urgent global health inequalities. By engaging in service learning with local community organizations, students will have the opportunity to take ideas they develop in class into the world through experience into action.

Eugene Edgar (Education)
Replicating the CHID Port Elizabeth Study Abroad Program

This is a new study abroad program conducted for the first time during the 2007-08 academic year and adapted from the CHID Cape Town Program. The program is a result of collaboration between CHID, Undergraduate Academic Affairs, the Athletic Department, and the College of Education. This project will assist in organization of these elements into a comprehensive program for replication. The organizing topic for the CHID Program in Port Elizabeth is Identity, Conflict, Reconciliation, and Forgiveness. The overall purpose of this program is to have the students (and the instructors) examine their sense of self in order to be effective leaders in making the world a better place. Students will develop self-narratives, narratives of South Africa , and narratives of the United States and use these narratives to better understand themselves and their place in the world. The diversity of students in the program, including many student athletes and underrepresented students, fosters this kind of introspection and leadership development. The students were provided with a service learning opportunity through the Bridges to Understanding Project at Garfield High School. This same opportunity will be available during the Spring Quarter.

Betsy Evans (Department of Linguistics)
Developing a Course on Language in Society

This project focuses on the development of a large-size undergraduate course titled Language in Society. This course will acquaint students with the many levels of meaning communicated in everyday use of language, with special attention to issues such as standard language, language maintenance, dialects of American English (ethnic and regional), the social ramifications of language diversity, multilingualism, and language planning. Through the study of language diversity locally (e.g. ethnic dialects of US English) and globally (language variation in languages other than English), students will explore and problematize the notions of global and local. The recognition and understanding of language diversity enables students to then explore the social ramifications of that diversity, such its connection to social justice, discrimination, and power. The analytical tools and explanatory paradigms articulated in this course are directly applicable to all languages and semiotic processes. As such, they provide learners with an effective suite of resources to think about languages other than English as well as other semiotic systems, thus providing preparation and reflection on language for those studying abroad or for students from abroad.

Reagan Jackson (Latin American Studies) & Theron Stevenson (Comparative History of Ideas)
Training Workshop on Student Diversity for Faculty Leading Study Abroad Programs

This project will develop a training workshop for faculty leading Exploration Seminars on how to support and engage with underrepresented students on study abroad programs, particularly students of color and queer students. Research indicates that students of color and queer students studying abroad often have radically different experiences than their white, heterosexual counterparts, based on how they are perceived within their host country and also within their groups. The training will not only address the psychological impacts for these students, but also health and safety issues which of course are a top priority for all UW study abroad programs. It will equip faculty with some basic facilitation skills, such as how to create a cohesive in-country orientation and a supportive group dynamic that will encourage and allow students to feel comfortable expressing themselves and disclosing their experiences. The training will also assistfaculty to become more comfortable discussing sensitive topics with their groups, particularly how a participant’s social identity (nationality, gender, race, class, age, ability, and etc.) can impact his or her trip.

Ralina L. Joseph (Department of Communication)
Developing a Course on Representing the Globally Minoritized

This new course, “Representing the Globally Minoritized,” looks at the experience of how racially minoritized subjects, or groups who are disenfranchised, are represented in the media around the world. Following the tenets of Michael Omi and Howard Winant’s racial formation theory, the course will engage the word and state of being racially “minoritized” as opposed to “minority” in order to stress the idea that disenfranchisement is a state imposed upon various groups and individuals. The course will analyze the representations of racially minoritized groups in a variety of entertainment media productions (reality television shows, soap operas, comedies, and dramas) from diverse, multicultural nations including the U.S. , Canada , Brazil , the UK , South Africa , and Australia . Students will investigate both mainstream representations produced by the majority, and independent representations produced by various minoritized groups. Other topics include the history of and current legislation on affirmative action/quotas in each of the chosen countries, the minoritized communities’ responses to such legislation (or lack thereof) as well as the majority population’s responses.

Miriam Kahn & Rochelle Fonoti (Department of Anthropology)
Exploration Seminar: Exploring Samoa —At the Crossroads of Island Living and Global Flows

This proposed course, an early fall 2008 Exploration Seminar called Exploring Samoa: At the Crossroads of Island Living and Global Flows, focuses on understanding the variety of ways in which small Pacific Islands, like Samoa, are connected to global economic, political, and media systems. Samoa is an ideal setting to investigate the intersection of international and domestic pluralism, as well as how US diversity is connected to global colonial histories. Politically, there are two different places (each of which consists of several islands) that make up “ Samoa :” American Samoa (which is an unincorporated territory of the United States ) and Samoa (the Independent State of Samoa). Thus, students will be experiencing, learning about, and comparing, two places that have similar cultural landscapes and customs, yet have very different economies, political systems, and senses of identity. As a result of these different colonial histories, Samoans living in the U.S. are seen as either underrepresented U.S. minorities or as foreigners. There will be ample opportunity for students to explore and learn about many important aspects of Samoa from local, as well as global, perspectives.

Eunjung Kim (Department of Family and Child Nursing)
Korean Culture, Immigration, and Health

This Exploration Seminar in Seoul , Korea will provide opportunities for students to understand the factors influencing social and health behaviors of ethnic minority populations in the United States using Koreans as an example. The program comprises a broad and diverse look at cultural ideologies of heritage and mainstream cultures, immigration and acculturation processes, social and health behaviors, and issues in families such as intergenerational cultural conflict. Students will investigate the complexities of these issues on the lives of a minority population and how this complexity is related to minority health disparities. In addition to online learning and researching about issues related to Korean and Korean immigrants during summer quarter, the students will pursue a chosen research topic in Korea via on-site field research, special lectures from Korean scholars, meetings and interviews with Korean families, pairing up with college students in Korea, visiting museums and historic sites, writing reflective journals, and learning Korean complementary and alternative medicine methods. By examining the issues related to health disparities in the Korean immigrant population, students will examine the issues of social justice related to access to health care systems and health outcomes.

Georgia M. Roberts (Departments of English and Comparative History of Ideas)
Post-Travel Course for Cape Town Study Abroad

This project will develop a post-travel course that allows students who participated in the Winter 2008 Cape Town program to return to their local ( Seattle ) community-based learning sites and share some of what they learned abroad. Such a course will provide structure for students to be self-reflective about their time away from the university. Ideally, the spring course would also give participants the opportunity to connect with the following year’s cohort of travelers, including those who participate in the summer Exploration Seminar, thus creating program continuity from year to year. The course relates the student’s study abroad experience to issues in the U.S. by focusing on the theme of social movements. Students learn the history of social movements in Seattle and Cape Town ; they are also asked to participate in community-based learning with organizations working on issues of social justice. One of the main teaching goals for the first two courses has been to provide structure for self-reflection on the practices of participation. The third course would build upon this goal, while providing opportunities for students to critically reflect on their varied learning experiences.

Crispin Thurlow (Department of Communication)
Class Acts: Re-Envisioning Intercultural Communication

 This project entails designing a course which re-envisions and combines two standard departmental offerings: COM 478 Intercultural Communication and COM 322 Global Communication. The project has four objectives. The first objective is to bring the issue of class difference/inequality into our curriculum more explicitly and to do this as a matter of local (i.e. Seattle), national, and global significance. Second, the new course will engage students in the “human consequences” of globalization, that is, to have them understand it as a interactional/social accomplishment as much as an economic/political one. Third, it will make explicit links between contemporary, communicative processes of intercultural exchange, cultural production and those of global capitalism. The final course objective is to bring Intercultural Communication up to date by situating it in the context of the global political economy, making it an action-oriented, practice-based subject rather than a theoretical one, and using it to engage with the full range of students’ own experiences of cultural difference and inequality (e.g. race/ethnicity, gender/sexuality, dis/ability).

Manka M. Varghese (Department of Curriculum and Instruction)
Immigration, Education, and Identity in Italy

In this 2008 Early Fall Exploration Seminar, students will investigate immigration and identity at several levels through the lens of schooling. They will explore how immigrant youth and their families are making sense of schooling; how this influences who they are and how immigrant youth and their families change the identity of the country while they navigate its diverse institutional contexts, especially the context of schooling; and how the institution of schooling is making programmatic and instructional decisions around their immigrant student population, thereby crafting identities for them. Throughout the seminar, students will be asked to reflect on how the immigrant lives and the intersection of immigration and schooling can be compared to what is happening in the United States , especially in Seattle , WA . A pre-departure seminar will focus on community-building, building background knowledge, as well as raising students’ awareness of interviewing and observing in communities that are different from those they are accustomed to. Two post-program seminars will allow students to further debrief and reflect on their experiences.

Daniel Winterbottom (Department of Landscape Architecture)
Bosnia Design/Build Program

The Bosnia Design/Build program will offer students a unique opportunity to study the history, culture and repercussions of the war. Students will visit the different enclaves of Croatians’, Serbs and Muslims and work with a unique mixed community of war survivors representing each of the ethnic groups. In this program students will create two therapeutic gardens for groups of war survivors many of whom suffer from severe mental, physical, and emotional problems. During the building phase students will attend a seminar and discuss the origins and impacts of the conflict, and the rebuilding processes. In a pre-program seminar, during the community design and build and in the post discussions students will explore strategies to resolve and alleviate the effects of genocide and compare their experience in Bosnia with their lives here in the USA. Issues of discrimination, gender inequity, and class based hierarchies and how the Bosnian experience has changed their perceptions and understanding of their communities will be raised. Through our service learning program we strive to train leaders, prepare them to become social justice activists, and develop skills to teach others as they themselves continue to address social justice issues as they pursue their careers.  See related study abroad program in Guatemala City.