Global Education and Liberal Education

Dan Weiner passed along an essay entitled “Global Education and Liberal Education” from Peter N. Stearns, Provost at George Mason University.  It appeared in the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Liberal Education, Summer 2010, Vol. 96, No. 3.

In the essay Provost Stearns notes:

“But no effort to provide a global education can possibly succeed without a solid curricular base, which must be the focus of any discussion of the relationship between global and liberal education. Considerable attention must go to programs that serve students for whom global issues constitute a major focus, and there are clearly liberal-educational opportunities here. Because globalization itself is a multifaceted process, embracing contacts ranging from trade to culture and from the environment to health, a state-of-the-art global affairs major becomes a significantly interdisciplinary endeavor, always remembering that language training and discussion of international relations continue to have strong roles to play. A dozen or more disciplines can be (actively and) usefully engaged in shaping and staffing concentrations of this sort, which, happily, at least for the moment, also draw in sizeable numbers of interested students.”


A Canadian Perspective

Mamdouh Shoukri, President and Vice Chancellor of York University, in an October 29 column “Universities Change with the Times” in the Toronto Star discussed what he sees as the most important trends in higher education:

“Evolving cultural and social environments, heightened demands for a post-secondary education, rising costs and expectations surrounding the role of universities, funding uncertainties and reluctance to accept change are some of the many obstacles facing post-secondary institutions. If Canadian universities are going to compete successfully in today’s global knowledge-based society, it is crucial they address these challenges.

At a recent conference in New York, I presented my views on the leading drivers affecting this change to the presidents of some of world’s foremost universities. In my opinion, these drivers are: internationalization, online learning, demographics, challenges to university autonomy and society engagement.”

Your Comments Needed

The two open forums held this week provided an opportunity to gather reaction to the draft University Environmental Scan report.  Thank you to those who participated.  The University Environmental Scan Team wants to make sure that it gathers any additional feedback before beginning work on revisions to the draft report.  If you have comments, please respond to this post by 4:00 PM on November 3.

Open Forums, Planning Unit Scans, & Update

Open Forums
Please note that open forums on the draft University Environmental Scan Report will be held as follows:
October 26, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m., 205 Baker (Multicultural Multipurpose Room). This forum also will be webcast
October 27, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m., 235 Walter
Members of the university community are encouraged to read the draft report (available here, OAK ID and password required) and attend one of the forums to participate in a discussion of trends that the university and its units will face in the course of the next six years.  The University Environmental Scan Team needs your assistance in ensuring that the most significant trends are identified.

Planning Unit Scans
Planning units were asked to conduct environmental scans for their areas.  Drafts of those scans are now available here, OAK ID and password required.

On September 16, the leaders of Administrative Senate, Chairs & Directors Council, Classified Senate, Faculty Senate, Graduate Student Senate, and Student Senate were sent a copy of the draft University Environmental Scan Report.  On September 21, the University Environmental Scan Team met with the leaders of the constituent groups and members of their executive committees to receive initial feedback on the draft report and answer questions about the process.  On the same day, the draft report was placed on the University Environmental Scan blog.  Constituent leaders were asked to consult with their membership and forward input to the scan team by the end of September.  That input was collected and reviewed by the scan team in early October.  An addendum containing constituent feedback has been added to the draft report.

Draft Environmental Scan Report

The first draft of the University Environmental Scan Team report is now available.  Click here.  Please note that this is “take one” and it is anticipated that the document will change as input is received and reviewed.

Figuring Out the Future

Mark Weinberg recommends:  Scott D. Anthony and Clayton M. Christensen, “Are You Reading the Right Signals,” September 2004, Strategy and Innovation (Harvard Business School)

“All of us make countless decisions every day based on what we think the future will hold. The challenge, naturally, is that the future rarely turns out as expected. Companies that appear to be poised to take off suddenly fizzle out; an analyst’s seemingly prescient predictions turn out to be 100% wrong. Determining whether a hyped innovation truly has the potential to transform an industry is a similarly challenging endeavor: Which developments are transformational and which will end up being more hype than reality.”

Environmental Scan Team Update, Sept. 10, 2010

The Environmental Scan Team met on Friday, September 10 to discuss the first draft of a report on key trends.  After further revisions, the report will be shared with the executive committees of the constituent senates for their review and comment.  After this iteration, the report will be made available to the University community and open forums will be held in October to discuss the University report and its intersection with the environmental scans from the planning units.  The report will be reviewed in light of the comments and suggestions heard at the forums and an initial draft will be shared in early November with the President and the Board of Trustees.