University requires students appreciate ‘global perspectives’ in order to graduate

BY JILL CUENI-COHEN / FEBRUARY 11, 2018 /

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A new requirement at the University of Wisconsin-Stout is designed to make sure that graduates “appreciate cultural, economic, political, environmental, and social differences.”

The new “global perspectives” course is intended to supplement the Racial and Ethnic Studies requirement that all students must complete before graduating, according to a report from Campus Reform on Friday.

Approved by the Faculty Senate last March, required courses will teach that inequities are “the impact of globalized capitalism and neo-liberalism on economic systems,” and train students to adjust their “worldview” by “knowing and valuing the histories, identities, and values of diverse others.”

“Understanding global perspectives and how they are formed is not just a prerequisite for becoming a global citizen; it is necessary for becoming an engaged citizen of any local community,” reads the preamble of the document approving the new mandate.

It further states that the new requirements play “a critical role in helping students develop an understanding of the deeply interconnected nature of the world.”

According to the report:

In order to fulfill the requirement, students must complete at least six credits from a list of approved courses that address at least two out of four categories: Global Self-Awareness, Global Knowledge, Global Viewpoint, and Global Engagement.

“Global self-awareness” courses, for instance, focus on embracing the “values of diverse others,” helping students to “develop appreciation for diverse voices and stories and the contributions of cultures and countries different from one’s own.”

The “global knowledge” goal, meanwhile, addresses “the deeply interconnected nature of the world,” with courses exploring concepts like how “the impact of globalized capitalism and neoliberalism on economic systems, inter and intra-societal stratification, civil and human rights, and sustainability” form the “historical roots” of inequities around the world.

The “global viewpoint” category aims to introduce students to different cultural and historical perspectives, while the “global engagement” element teaches students to “take effective critical action” on the basis of their new knowledge by “contributing to positive change in globally diverse, interconnected, and interdependent natural, social, and business environments.”

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