Global Education Initiative in process at UC Davis

ALLYSON KO / AGGIE

Global Affairs is developing a global education program for UC Davis students

The Global Education Initiative is a program being developed by UC Davis Global Affairs that intends to incorporate the realities of a globally-connected world into UC Davis students’ education.

Vice Provost and Associate Chancellor of Global Affairs Joanna Regulska is one of the individuals leading the initiative.

“Global Education for All was selected in the first round of UC Davis’ call for ‘Big Ideas’ and I am the ‘champion’ of the idea,” Regulska said via email. “This means I am ensuring that we develop robust programming for students with many diverse opportunities of engaging domestically or abroad in global learning. I am serving as a spokesperson, working with faculty, academic units, alumni and potential donors to make this ambitious goal a reality.”

Nancy Erbstein, the director of Global Education for All, explained that UC Davis put out a call for what they called ‘Big Ideas’ a few years ago, and Global Education for All was selected out of the pool of ‘Big Ideas’, as it was the only proposal focused on student experience rather than research.

Regulska said that her personal experiences have allowed her to recognize the value of global learning.

“I was an international student here in the U.S. so I know what it means to gain and have a global and intercultural perspective and to learn surrounded by faculty and classmates from different cultural backgrounds and countries,” Regulska said. “I also know through lived experiences, my scholarly and professional career, and emerging trends that international and intercultural experiences are more valuable than ever in preparing our students to succeed.”

Students with skills that can be developed through global learning, such as “problem-solving, adaptability and connecting across cultures,” are in-demand upon graduation.

Erbstein explained why she believes it is important for students to engage in global education.

“We recognize that these days a lot of the major world challenges have a global dimension to them — whether you’re talking about climate change, spread of disease, inequality or migration,” Erbstein said. “We have all these new forms of transportation, new technologies, and new global institutions that are increasing our ability to connect around the world and to connect with people across cultures. If UC Davis is going to really take seriously its responsibility to be preparing students to live in that kind of world, we need to be supporting students to get connected globally and develop the skills to work globally.”

According to Erbstein, there all multiple ways to engage in global learning and studying abroad is just one of them. Global Education for All will also focus on expanding global learning within the coursework offered on campus.

“There could be virtual collaboration happening through a course with people even in another country or on another campus,” Erbstein said. “We’re looking at expanding global learning opportunities through experiential learning opportunities, so that could be involvement in research, internships, or externships or some sort of community engaged service learning. It could involve working with the refugee community that’s based in Sacramento or working with a business that has offices in northern California that works globally.”

Regulska specified three pathways through which UC Davis students might incorporate global learning: academic, experience and living and leading. The academic pathway includes participating in study abroad programs, “global, international, or intercultural dimensions” in classes students already take on campus and virtual collaborations with universities in other countries.

“Within the experience pathway, there will be an emphasis on hands-on learning experiences, whether it be internships/externships, participating in research or in service learning programs or other ways of putting classroom learning into action,” Regulska said via email. “And within the living and leading pathway, we will expand opportunities for students to gain leadership and intercultural skills on campus, in the dorms, and in the community through various student groups, community organizations and campus partners.”

Erbstein said that the initiative’s long term goal is to engage every UC Davis student in global learning. The project coordinators are still sorting through the multitude of possibilities for enhancing global learning on campus, including an enhanced global learning minor.

Erbstein also stressed student involvement in the initiative, particularly in a campus-wide steering committee with faculty, staff, administrators and four students.

“We’ve worked with … four students to convene a larger student advisory committee,” Erbstein said. “We have students from all the different colleges, undergraduate, graduate and professional students. We’re really trying to hear from students what they want global learning to look like and how it would be useful to students to have it be recognized by the campus as they think about going on and applying to grad school or postgraduate programming or jobs.”

Tiffany Trinh, a fifth-year community regional development major, is part of the Millenium Fellows cohort, which is involved in the global education initiative and engaged in incorporating a program that links their fellowships to global education for all.

“A group of us were selected to become part of the U.N. millennium fellowship, and we are branching off global education for all and trying to get the campus involved with global education either through events or performances or anything these student organizations can think of,” Trinh said. “We’re currently reviewing some pre-proposals for student organizations’ ideas and these will give us an idea for what people want to do, and there’s also applications for mini grants.”

According to Regulska, “students with ideas, questions, feedback or interest in getting involved are encouraged to email globaleducationforall@ucdavis.edu.”

 

Written By: Sabrina Habchi — campus@theaggie.org