By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–IU Southeast is one of ten institutions selected to participate in the Global Civic Literacy initiative.
The initiative is designed to help students increase their knowledge of our global society and understand how global issues influence the lives of everyday citizens.
The project is a collaboration of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Council on Foreign Relations, whose World101 multimedia resource library provides the framework for the initiative.
Over the next year, faculty and student affairs staff members from each institution will work together to develop campus curricular and co-curricular activities that utilize World101 to build global civic literacy. As a community of practice, they will work together to exchange ideas and develop effective strategies as well as provide support across institutional roles.
IU Southeast will be represented by Dr. Jean Abshire, associate professor of political science & international studies, and Dr. Seuth Chaleunphonh, dean of student life.
The two colleagues submitted a proposal that articulated the need for and benefits of IU Southeast participation.
“It’s very easy to live in the middle of the country and not fully grasp how deeply integrated we are with the rest of the world,” Abshire said. “Our students need explicit instruction on how global issues affect their lives, so they can begin developing a sense of empowerment and learn the skills to shape their world beyond local or even national boundaries.”
World101 is a growing library of free multimedia resources that provide an immersive learning experience with modules and teaching resources on topics such as climate change, globalization, terrorism, cybersecurity, migration, trade and more. By integrating these modules into existing courses, events and extracurricular activities, and by using them as the basis for new initiatives, Abshire and Chaleunphonh hope to deepen the already rich international experience at IU Southeast.
“Students are familiar with foreign visitors and exchange students, and with learning from that kind of interaction,” Chaleunphonh said. “But alongside that, it’s good for them to take a broader, macro view of social issues, economics, national security questions, leadership and types of government as well.”
Abshire and Chaleunphonh hope that this macro view leads to conversations about global issues among students beyond the classroom. For starters, they plan to offer a Global Literacy Certificate for a certain level of participation, and hope to make it possible for online students to receive it as well.
“Every student on this campus is affected by the world out there,” Abshire said. “They may just not know it, or know how much.”