Global competence

Cultivating Global Competence for the 21st Century

The more global your education and professional preparation, the better prepared you will be for life, work and citizenship in the 21st century.

In the 21st century, ‘global education’ is redundant – if it isn’t global, it isn’t an education. (George Forsythe, President of Westminster College)

WKU Mission Statement

  • ‘WKU prepares students of all backgrounds to be productive, engaged, and socially responsible citizen-leaders of a global society.
  • The University provides research, service and lifelong learning opportunities for its students, faculty, and other constituents.
  • WKU enriches the quality of life for those within its reach.’


  • advising = teaching the curriculum (Lowenstein 2005)
  • beyond the curriculum: co-curricular & informal
  • holistic model: prescriptive, developmental & teaching


  • curriculum: curricular infusion & stand-alone courses
  • co-curriculum: programming, service learning, internships, study away, study abroad
  • informal: international students & American students: ‘encounters with difference that make a difference’ (Larry Braskamp, Global Perspective Inventory, GPI)


  • global change: the future is the place where we will spend the rest of our lives
  • 21st century: global level most relevant professionally, personally, and as citizens
  • global grand challenges: peace, development, health, sustainability/resilience
  • globalization of education lagging behind globalization of the world
  • ‘Larry Braskamp found that entering American freshmen do not tend to think complexly, are not comfortable amidst difference and do not typically have friends who are unlike them. “We’ve said, O.K., the implication of all this is we need to create ‘encounters with difference that make a difference.’ . . .’


  • purpose of education: prepare learners as best as we can for the world they are going to live and work in
  • the more globalized education is, the better

Turn yourself into a T: Talent Development

  • vertical: depth, specialization
  • horizontal: breadth, big picture
  • the vertical is shaped by the horizontal (rhizome)
  • disposition for cross-disciplinary collaboration: empathy and enthusiasm

Global education

  • holistic model: transdisciplinary & transformative education cultivating global competence
  • head: knowledge, literacies
  • hands: skills
  • heart: dispositions, values
  • transformation: global, professional, personal and public change & competence to cope and deal with this change effectively (resilience)

Global Competence

  • ‘the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance’ (Boix Mansilla & Jackson 2011)

Liberal Education

  • Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), AACU, 2005
  • WKU: Colonnade
  • empowering: ‘prepares students to deal with complexity, diversity, and change’

AACU Strategic Plan 2013-2017

  • LEAP: Liberal Education as a Global Necessity
  • Social Responsibility: Integrative Liberal Learning for the Global Commons

An Education for the Twenty-First Century: Stewardship of the Global Commons

  • Global Liberal Arts Alliance (2012)
  • ‘The purpose of a 21st-century education is to produce graduates who recognize themselves to be of the world and who also assume responsibility for the world’
  • ‘The earth has become a place of global cultures, in all of their valued particularity, and increasingly a global commons, in all of its necessary interdependence. An appropriate university education for everyone, not just a privileged elite, must prepare women and men for participation in these cultures and this commons’

Literacies for global stewardship

  • scientific understanding
  • cultural understanding
  • understanding of global issues

Skills for global engagement

  • 4 Cs/21st century skills: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity: real-world, complex problem solving
  • pluralism & intellectual empathy
  • multilingualism
  • quantitative & IT literacy and skills
  • praxis: disciplined reflection upon action
  • mastering scalar thinking: Google Earth
  • Triangulating differences: Cosmopolitan GPS: orientation/navigation

Dispositions for global engagement

  • respect
  • vulnerability
  • hospitality
  • compassion
  • agency
  • agility
  • fairness
  • service
  • leadership

Challenges, Obstacles & Constraints

  • resources – peak/plateau of study abroad, education
  • institutional: preparation
  • cultural: from parochialism to cosmopolitanism

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