Global Challenges

The study of global issues is more critical than ever now that we have truly become a “global village.” The decisions that we make in the next few years will determine the collective future of that village. Together we are confronted with many pressing and often competing global challenges that demand thoughtful responses and solutions. For example, population is growing at an alarming rate in some regions; environmental concerns are everywhere; global resources appear to be dwindling; national security eludes many countries; and human rights are violated in a variety of ways. These crises certainly represent problems facing our world today; on the other hand, they also provide opportunities for us to bring about changes that will significantly increase the ongoing quality of life around the world.

Some degree of economic inequality occurs naturally in a free and open society, but a vibrant democracy experiencing these dramatic trends ought to be asking tough In this course, students will encounter topics from a variety of disciplines and perspectives. The organizing framework of this course is seven global challenges:

  • Population – Growth, aging, migration, urbanization
  • Resources – Food, water, energy, climate
  • Technology – Computation, biotechnology, nanotechnology, transhumanism
  • Information – Data growth, access, social networking, information integrity, knowledge
  • Economies – Interconnections, emerging players, debt, poverty
  • Conflict – Causes of conflict, nature of conflict, conflict resolution
  • Governance – State actors, international organizations, multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations

Throughout the course, as students engage with each of these challenges, they will be charged with developing a greater sense of global citizenship. The course is designed to provide students with knowledge, skills and attitudes to be engaged, responsible and effective members of a globally interdependent society.

Key Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify issues and impacts for key global challenges, drawing from various disciplines;
  • Analyze political, economic, social, and/or environmental impacts of key global challenges;
  • Employ information literacy in learning about key global challenges;
  • Develop a sense of global empathy; and
  • Evaluate various approaches and/or solutions to key global challenges.

Created by Tina Zappile and Shala Mills

Additional contributors include Brett Whitaker, Dennis Falk, Keisha Hoernner, Steven Elliott-Gower, Willie Redmond, Martin Shapiro, and John Hammang. Also a apecial thanks to those involved in the AASCU Global Challenges Initiative: Amy Jordan, former Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership and Director of the American Democracy Project, University of Arkansas, Fort Smith; Bill Payne, former Dean, School of Fine Arts, University of Minnesota Duluth; Blase Scarnati, founding Director of the First Year Seminar-Action Research Team Program, Northern Arizona University; Brett Whitaker, Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies, Fort Hays State University; Curt Brungardt, Omar C. Voss Distinguished Professor of Leadership Studies and Executive Director of the Center for Civic Leadership, Fort Hays State University; Darrell Hamlin, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Senior Fellow at the Center for Civic Leadership, Fort Hays State University; Denny Falk, Former Chair, AASCU Global Engagement Scholars and Professor of Social Work, University of Minnesota Duluth; Karie Hollarbach, Professor of Mass Media, Southeast Missouri State University; Keisha Hoerrner, Former Chair, AASCU Global Engagement Scholars and former Dean, University College and Professor of Communication, Kennesaw State University; Ken Hill, Manager of the President’s Emerging Global Scholars (PEGS) program and Senior Lecturer of Management, Kennesaw State University; Larry Gould, former Provost, Fort Hays State University; Martin Shapiro, Professor of Psychology, University of California Fresno; Matthew Hipps, Associate Professor of Political Science, Dalton State College; Nathan Phelps, former Assistant Professor of Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies, Western Kentucky University; Paul McGurr, Interim Dean, School of Business Administration, Fort Lewis College; Shala Mills, Former National Coordinator, AASCU Global Challenges Project and formerly Chair and Professor of Political Science, Fort Hays State University; Steve Roderick, former Provost, Fort Lewis College; Steven Elliott-Gower, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Honors Program and Scholars, Georgia College and State University; Susan Moss, Chair and Professor of Art, Fort Lewis College; Tina Zappile, Associate Professor of Political Science, Stockton University; Willie Redmond, Professor of Economics and Finance, Southeast Missouri State University; and Yohannes Woldemariam, Associate Professor of Political Science, Fort Lewis College. Particular thanks to Thomas Edison State College’s Provost Bill Seaton, Associate Provost Matt Cooper, former Dean of the Heavin School of Arts and Sciences Susan Davenport, and instructional designers Cindy Mooney and Aaron Appelstein, and Rick Barry.

Special thanks, as well, to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ American Democracy Project’s George Mehaffy, Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, and Cecelia Orphan, for their vision, support and encouragement in developing and implementing this project; to Felice Nudelman formerly of The New York Times Knowledge Network; and to Karen Meacham and, especially, to Scott Aughenbaugh of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) for Seven Revolutions framework support and materials; and finally, enormous thanks to Erik Peterson of CSIS who originally created the Seven Revolutions framework and with whom AASCU started their venture.

Activity 1
Report on Global Challenges Faced by People around the World
In this activity, students are challenged to take on the role of a front-line reporter, covering the impact and consequences of global challenges around the world. Students will examine these massive macro trends through the eyes of the people in the country they are covering, and will contribute to a publishable Global Challenges Magazine.
Previous course | Next course