IIE Network - Spring 2014 - (Page 41)
FEATURE: THE IMPACT OF GLOBALIZATION ON INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION
Two Models of Global Learning
By Jason A. Scorza
NOW MORE THAN ever before, advocates
of global learning as an important component
of undergraduate education enjoy broad and
deep institutional support. Nonetheless, in
this era of economic challenges and hard
choices, disagreements about what exactly
global learning is, and how best to promote
it, continue to be widespread, and this lack
of consensus often serves as an obstacle to
meaningful curricular action.
Much of the confusion can be traced to the
fact that two very different models of global
learning are evident today, both within and
beyond the United States. The first seeks to
prepare graduates for success in the global
marketplace, where individuals can reasonably expect to change professions several times
during a working lifetime. From this perspective, economic globalization and rapidly evolving technologies require students to develop
capacities and competencies that will help them
throughout their careers, rather than simply
preparing for their first job. However, this "economic" model remains controversial, particularly among those who decry any demand for
professional relevance in the university curriculum as a stain on the ivory tower and sign that
our institutions are becoming "trade schools."
The second popularly conceived model of
global learning seeks to prepare graduates for
globalization in a civic, rather than economic,
sense. As people and places grow increasingly interdependent, and the causes and
solutions to global problems grow increasingly opaque, this perspective asserts that
individuals must possess the capacities and
competencies needed to enjoy the rights and
fulfill the responsibilities of membership in
the global community. This "civic" model will
be familiar to students of cosmopolitanism
in its many varieties, and those committed
to liberal education will probably find themselves drawn, more naturally, to it. However, it
too is controversial, particularly among those
who value academic neutrality toward values.
Yet, as with most binary dichotomies, more
meaningful understanding lies within a synthesis (or "mash-up") of these two models. Dr.
J. Michael Adams, past president of Fairleigh
Dickinson University, discusses the tension
between economic and civic aspirations of
education as a false choice in his book, Coming
of Age in a Globalized World. Adams and his
co-author Angelo Carfagna write, "The values
of a liberal education and professional training
are undeniable. There is nothing wrong with
aiming for professional success and desiring
greater wealth and income through education. On the other hand, a good liberal education that imparts a broad understanding of
the human experience is fundamental to all
human pursuits." Adams suggests a "truce"
between these contending models of global
learning-a truce predicated upon our recognition of genuine urgency of both civic and
professional learning for students growing up
in an increasingly globalized world (Adams
and Carfegna 2006, 156).
Fortunately, for those of us tasked with
implementing such a truce on the ground,
many of the learning objectives-and concrete competencies-for these two models
of global learning are actually quite similar.
Indeed, many common general education
learning goals are useful both to the responsible
member of the global community and the successful participant in the global marketplace.
Consider, for example, these common elements
of competency-based general education:
Written and Oral Communication
* Successful people convey information and
ideas efficiently and effectively through
written and oral communication.
* Responsible people use writing and speech
to persuade others to address shared
* Successful people use basic scientific principles to solve complex technical problems
related to business enterprises.
* Responsible people use basic scientific
principles to understand global issues
ranging from climate change to the spread
of infectious disease.
* Successful people possess personal ethics as well as the ability to recognize
and analyze ethical problems within an
* Responsible people use ethical analysis
to understand their personal role in, and
responsibility for, shared global concerns.
* Successful people learn from diverse
sources of information and differentiate
between reliable and unreliable information to enhance an enterprise.
* Responsible people learn from diverse
sources of information, and differentiate
between reliable and unreliable sources,
to understand shared global concerns.
This list could easily be extended to
include foreign languages, critical thinking,
intercultural understanding, technological
literacy, quantitative literacy, and more. What
matters most is their application and context,
not their essence. A strong global education,
therefore, must make both economic and civic
contexts and applications clear to students,
ideally through authentic assessments that
engage, or at least model, real-life conditions
However, most degree programs-including both professionally oriented ones and
traditional liberal arts fields like history and
philosophy-are under great pressure to favor
the economic model of global learning, as
institutions increasingly tout the professional
benefits university education, measured in job
placements, salaries, and employment rates.
This is completely understandable given that
these institutions compete among themselves
for student enrollment, and a competitive
edge is what most of our students, and their
families, are looking for. It may make relatively
little sense to them that they should strive to
become better "world citizens," in the purely
civic sense, when globalization, as they understand it, confronts them with diminishing
career prospects, corporate downsizing and
outsourcing, and wage deflation, to say nothing of unprecedented student loan debt.
Regardless of such pressure, some institutions have sought to navigate a course
between these two concepts of global learning. At Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU),
both the civic and the economic approaches to
global learning are much in evidence. Indeed,
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Network - Spring 2014
A Message from Allan E. Goodman
2014 IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education
An Interview with Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Minister of Education and Research, Government of Norway
Introduction to the Globalization of International Education
Internationalization as Acquisitions, Mergers, and Synergy: A Value-Based Framework of Internationalization
Globalized Internationalization: Implications for Policy and Practice
Advocating the Value of Experiential Learning in the Age of Globalization
The Translocal Urban Nexus in International Education: Trinity College in China and Southeast Asia
Mission Apt: Evolving Strategies for Global Student Recruitment
Global Research Networks: Experiments in Internationalization
Two Models of Global Learning
Final Thought: Fostering Global Research Capacity Through Multilateral Partnerships: The Global Innovation Initiative
IIE Network - Spring 2014
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