W&M chosen to participate in national project on curriculum and faculty development

The College of William and Mary is among 32 colleges and universities chosen by the Association of American Colleges and Universities to participate in General Education for a Global Century, a curriculum and faculty development project that is part of AAC&U’s Shared Futures initiative and is funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.  Over 140 institutions across the country applied to be part of the initiative.

“The AAC&U Project is an invaluable resource.  The College of William and Mary already is a leader in international studies and civic engagement. The Shared Futures Initiative gives us an opportunity to learn more about how to bring these two strengths together to educate our students,” said Dean of Arts & Sciences Carl Strikwerda. 

“Increasingly, in their mission statements and strategic plans, colleges and universities promise that their graduates will develop the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to act as responsible and productive global citizens in an interconnected and interdependent world. Yet in most cases general education curricular designs have not kept pace with the rhetoric,” said AAC&U Director of Global Learning and Curricular Change Kevin Hovland.  “These selected institutions will all be working together to create clear and creative pathways—horizontally and vertically—through which students can connect their learning and achieve essential global learning outcomes. Many of these schools have already made significant progress in reimagining general education for a global century and, in this project, they will be able to test new curricular models, assess global learning outcomes, and share insights with each other and with the larger higher education community.”

The institutions selected are from all regions of the country and include institutions of many different types—including two-year and four-year, public and private institutions.  Institutions selected include:

California State University--San Marcos, (CA)
Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
Central College (IA)
College of William and Mary (VA)
Delaware State University (DE)
Haverford College (PA)
John Carroll University (OH)
Keene State College (NH)
Kennesaw State University (GA)
Lynn University (FL)
Miami University (OH)
Michigan State University (MI)
Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MN)
Monroe Community College (NY)
Nebraska Wesleyan University (NE)
Oregon State University (OR)
Rider University (NJ)
San Jose State University (CA)
Southern Connecticut State University (CT)
Spring Hill College (AL)
St. Edward's University (TX)
St. Lawrence University (NY)
The College of Wooster (OH)
University at Albany, SUNY (NY)
University of Maryland College Park (MD)
University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA)
University of North Carolina at Charlotte (NC)
University of South Florida (FL)
University of Wisconsin Colleges (WI)
Utah Valley University (UT)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA)
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA)

The William and Mary team for the project consists of Teresa Longo, Dean for Educational Policy, Sue Peterson, Dean for Undergraduate Studies, and faculty members Carey Bagdassarian (Chemistry), Tuska Benes (History, Global Studies), Elizabeth Mead (Art and Art History), Christine Nemacheck (Government), and John Swaddle (Biology, Environmental Science and Policy). Team leader Longo commented, “We already offer innovative courses and study abroad programs. We would like to share what we have and gather ideas from our partner schools on exciting interdisciplinary ways to give students a solid general education that is also a pathway towards understanding a more complex global civilization. We hope our collaborative efforts will contribute in meaningful ways to the larger campus conversation on the undergraduate curriculum.”

AAC&U’s Shared Futures Project is a national effort to:

-    articulate essential global learning outcomes for all students;
-    refine and disseminate models of global general education curricula that can be adapted across all institutional types;
-    provide faculty development opportunities to assist college faculty in designing and teaching interdisciplinary, integrative courses that focus on real-world global issues; and
-    develop rubrics to assess global learning outcomes.

Institutional teams will spend the fall and winter on their home campuses strengthening connections between existing general education goals and essential global learning outcomes. They will also inventory the curricular and co-curricular opportunities for global learning that already exist on their campuses and ways those opportunities could be better integrated within their larger general education efforts. Working through a social networking website, team members will help identify common areas of interest and concern. Those critical issues will be addressed in the project’s central activity—an intensive summer institute in 2011.

“It was gratifying to see how many campuses applied to be part of this initiative,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider.  “It is testament to how seriously today’s academy takes the challenge of preparing college students to participate effectively and responsibly in an interdependent global community.  Both their future employers and our society need students with much higher levels of global knowledge and skill.  This initiative will help the higher education community graduate students with these critical capacities.  The Shared Futures initiative and this work on general education are important foci for AAC&U’s ongoing work to connect liberal education with the needs of a fast-changing world.”

For additional information about the initiative, see: http://www.aacu.org/SharedFutures/global_century.