Fairleigh Dickinson University is a center of academic excellence dedicated to the preparation of world citizens through global education. The University strives to provide students with the multidisciplinary, intercultural and ethical understandings necessary to participate, lead and prosper in the global marketplace of ideas, commerce and culture.
Rationale for a Global Education
Global education is a learning paradigm that promotes the awareness and application of global issues and interdependencies in the teaching of every discipline, as well as across disciplines. Global education thus calls for knowledge acquisition, critical thinking and problem-solving through which students can extend their own views and knowledge bases upon a foundation of global perspectives and understandings. Outcomes of a global education include the capacity of students to examine their roles in the global community, to develop a greater synthetic understanding of what is universal to and differentiating among peoples and societies, and to use this knowledge to inform their actions as global citizens.
Global education continues to do what higher education has traditionally aimed to do: extend students’ awareness of the world they live in by opening them to the heritage of human thought, action and creativity, and their capacity to read, write, and think. Global education responds to changes in this world pointed to by the word “globalization.” For global education, this means not a revolution, but shifts in emphasis and method.
Global education places a different emphasis on the capacities and attitudes higher education has always sought to develop in students. The communication age calls more than ever for the skills of reading, interpretation, writing, visual literacy, and critical thinking traditionally taught in higher education. The production of information on a scale unlike anything ever witnessed before makes techniques for economic access to information, and for its handling, interpretation, and use, more indispensable than ever. The accelerating interactions within and among communities, cultures and beliefs systems in today’s communication order makes the capacity to recognize, understand, and respond to a variety of perspectives on human experience a quality indispensable to the educated college graduate. Global education will, therefore, place a new emphasis on the diversities and commonalities of human experience through space and time, and on the methods, from interactive and cooperative learning on one hand to education by personal initiative on the other, that will equip students for new kinds of jobs and for their tasks and responsibilities as members of society.
From courses in the natural sciences to courses in the social sciences and the arts and humanities, the traditional curriculum will continue to provide much of the knowledge basic to these issues, including a strong knowledge of the heritage of the West and of the United States in particular. If the new technological age threatens familiar notions of human dignity, one task of global education might be correspondingly a new humanism. In general, some material taught now will inevitably be reoriented in the light of the shift in emphasis required by the idea of the global as the widest context of the mission of higher education. Further, global education clearly entails new curriculum development and organization if it is to carry out a mission differentiated from that of traditional higher education. The constraints of subject (or major)-dominated education on our capacity to think about a world in which borders are fading in every area of life and therefore on our capacity to act in this world does not erase the value of knowledge in depth in areas of study, but it does entail a considerably stronger emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, for example through courses defined in terms of problems or issues to which several disciplines can contribute.
The specific expectations for global education at FDU can be related to the following general goals of a global education curriculum:
- To integrate global education into the teaching of all disciplines
- To teach students how to access, interpret, evaluate, and make responsible use of information and communications technology
- To teach students to develop critical-thinking skills appropriate to the information age and to the increasing pressures for intercultural understanding, negotiation, and problem-solving
- To graduate students who are employable in the new markets for labor, that is, not only skilled for their first jobs but for a lifetime of learning and career changes
- To graduate students with a strong sense of the ethical implications of globalization