Diverse Conversations: The Globalization of Higher Education, Matthew Lynch, Diverse, May 22, 2013
The purpose of education is to prepare students as well as possible for life and work in the increasingly globalized world of the 21st century. Under these conditions, if education is not global, it isn’t really education, as the below quote states. This also implies that the more globalized education becomes, the better its quality. Hence, it is critical to clarify and specify what global education is and how best to achieve it, which is one of the main goals of this blog, and the subject on a paper currently in preparation.
Below are some highlights from a recent interview with George Forsythe that speak to the importance of global education. Dr. Forsythe is president of Westminster College in Salt Lake City, which emphasizes the cultivation of global learning communities:
In the 21st Century, “global education” is redundant – if it isn’t global, it isn’t an education. Both in terms of content and process, students will be better prepared for the challenges they will face after college if their education is global. College graduates must possess the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind that will allow them to thrive in a global community.
I think former Yale President Kingman Brewster’s comment about the value of a liberal education applies equally to the value of global learning communities: “’Perhaps the most fundamental value of a liberal education is that it makes life more interesting. It allows you to think things which do not occur to the less learned; it makes it less likely that you will be bored with life.”
There are several ways to look at globalization of higher education. (1) Academic Content — students need to know about and understand the world and America’s place in the global community. Colleges and universities respond by adding “global awareness” to their curricular outcome goals, including “global perspectives” across the curriculum, or adding specific programs in global studies, international studies, or transnational studies. (2) Educational Process — Colleges and universities provide a rich array of study abroad or study away experiences to students that are designed to immerse them in another culture. (3) Community Building — Colleges and universities recruit students from around the world in order to build the global community on campus where students live and learn together as global citizens. (4) Global Reach — Colleges and universities establish a physical and/or virtual presence in the international market.