Global Issues and Trends

Course Description

Cultivate students’ understanding of ‘the global’ as a complex web of local events and their sense of themselves as ‘global citizens’, whose everyday decisions are inextricably linked to larger social, political, and economic forces and structures. Investigate global issues to enable students to develop competencies that enhance their abilities to make informed decisions throughout their lives about how their actions and/or inactions fit into the broader global context.

Learning Outcomes

  • Appraise the relationship between global and local issues to create global awareness and foster global citizenship.
  • Evaluate specific global issues in different national and international contexts.
  • Effectively report on contemporary trends and their effect on people’s lives at both the local and global level.
  • Analyze varying perspectives and values in a culture other than one’s own.
  • Demonstrate college-level reading, writing, and critical thinking skills along with an understanding of selected case studies drawn from transnational advocacy organizations.
  • Demonstrate ability to integrate academic work with community engagement by incorporating information from current academic journal publications into analysis of fieldwork and case study projects.
  • Demonstrate information literacy applicable to professional goals and specify ways in which they can make a difference by incorporating aspects of capacity building within local or global organizations.


  • Participation: may encompass several different components including active listening, asking questions, sharing ideas, being respectful of different perspectives, encouraging others to speak, helping to facilitate small group discussion, completing all readings assigned for a specific date prior to coming to class, submitting written questions for discussion, presenting readings etc.
  • Field Experience Interview Presentation and Reflection Paper: After reviewing the current journal literature on a global or local issue of their choice, students will conduct one interview with a professional working in an organization that focuses on that issue. Students will write a brief reflection paper (3 pages) that discusses the differences between the academic literature and the daily lived reality of working professionals. Students will present interview experiences to the class. Students will design their own interview guides after in-depth preparation in class.
  • Advocacy Case Study and Presentation: Students will write a paper (8-10 pages) detailing the work of one transnational advocacy organization that the student is interested in working with as an employee or consultant. Students must research the history of the organization, choose one issue or topic the organization works on and present the current state of the problem. The paper should provide a brief history of the topic and how and why the organization is addressing the issue, including (1) the diversity of values and beliefs in the community; (2) the complexity of public issues; (3) the consequences of treating a complex issue as it were a simple one; (4) our difficulty in talking together in public forums; and (5) the possibility that the rapid pace of change in our society may well have exceeded our collective capacities to respond. Students will present their work in class.
  • Advocacy Case Study Presentation: Students will prepare a very brief (three to five-minute) video presentation, or create a webpage, of their transnational organization and the real world issue focused on. The presentation goal is to use current technology to enlighten others to your research (work/academic product), and inform them how they might make a difference and discuss what difference working on this project has made in their own lives.
  • Final Exam: A comprehensive essay exam based on course readings.

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