- Athens Democracy Forum
- Science Pedagogy
- Global Course Connections
- Borders Workshop
The Global Liberal Arts Alliance joined with Deree-The American College of Greece as Educational Partner for the prestigious New York Times Athens Democracy Forum held in Athens, Greece September 13-17, 2017. The Forum involved a broad range of participants from around the world; from New York Times columnists Roger Cohen and Paul Krugman to representatives of the United Nations to business executives, representatives of NGOs, and senior government officials.
The Forum's theme, ‘Solutions for a Changing World’, addressed important questions about globalization, international cooperation, and the enduring nature of democracy at a time of unique challenges around the world. The theme also speaks to the heart of Liberal Arts education and its mission to educate global citizens who can work together to solve complex problems that bring positive change to a turbulent world.
Deree-The American College of Greece, in close cooperation with the Global Liberal Arts Alliance, coordinated Forum programming for a team of student delegates from Alliance institutions. Through a two-level competitive application process, 23 students from 12 countries were selected to participate in the Forum as student delegates. With generous support from the Endeavor Foundation, each student delegate was awarded an Endeavor Fellowship to offset travel costs to attend the Forum.
Working in groups of six, the student delegates considered questions raised by the Forum’s theme from their own generational and national perspectives. We aspired for the student delegates to make meaningful contributions to the Forum, to communicate their thinking and experiences both to their home campuses and to the Alliance, and to present a plan of action to their home institutions for addressing a specific challenge identified at the Forum. Some of those resulting projects may be presented at the 2018 Global Alliance Institute on Leadership and Liberal Arts: A Foundation for Social Good. Information about the student delegates and the work they did can be found on the Youth Democracy Forum page.
A four-day workshop for science and engineering faculty from the Global Liberal Arts Alliance was held at Deree - The American College of Greece on June 18-21, 2017. The goal of the workshop was to build an international community of science faculty at liberal arts colleges who share ideas, resources, and enthusiasm about teaching and learning in the sciences. Growing a faculty community necessitates face-to-face engagement, and the workshop provided the first opportunity for the nascent community to come together. The workshop covered “backward” design in curriculum development, writing student learning goals, matching assessment of student learning to goals, and using rubrics for assessment. Participants discussed the value of using articles from the scientific literature in the classroom to teach fundamental concepts through current research examples, and collaboratively developed new literature discussions as a group. Active learning, action research, and other evidence-based practices were presented. After the workshop, the community has a virtual home on the Trellis site (http://trelliscience.com), continuing their engagement by sharing ideas and resources.
Global Course Connections “connects” a course offered on an Alliance campus in one country to a course offered on an Alliance campus in another country, providing the courses with an authentic multicultural/multinational dimension they would not otherwise have. Globally connected courses need not be the same course or from the same discipline; what matters is that the courses provide different perspectives on one or more themes present in both courses. Planned classroom interactions as well as the unplanned, informal exchanges that occur make a difference in how students think about parts of the world that are very different from their own and about which students know little.
Border crossing represents a defining characteristic of the 21st century: we live in an age of unprecedented global connectedness yet belong to communities delimited by political, legal, cultural, linguistic, disciplinary, and other borders. The effort to make sense of this paradoxical reality - Border Studies - has emerged as one of the fastest growing interdisciplinary fields in the academy.
Liberal arts institutions offer ideal spaces to study borderlands in the widest and not merely geographical sense of the term. The emphasis on critical thinking across the disciplines positions our institutions especially well to analyze the many impacts of border enforcement and border crossings. Yet little scholarship exists about the pedagogy of Border Studies and the verdict is still out on the best means by which the liberal arts may contribute to this field.
This July, faculty from eight liberal arts colleges on three continents gathered at Franklin University Switzerland (FUS) - a Global Alliance school located a stone's throw from the Swiss-Italian border. With support from at Global Alliance Grand Challenge grant, FUS and Kenyon College collaborated to design a six-day workshop, "Border Studies in the Liberal Arts." Through presentations, brainstorming, and writing sessions, the twenty-nine participants developed plans for how we teach Border Studies within the liberal arts curriculum and how the liberal arts contribute to the evolving field of Border Studies.
By design, the workshop was small, so that participants may develop working relationships and produce actionable plans for teaching, research, and institutional collaborations that move Border Studies forward. Participants included junior and senior faculty and administrators from the social sciences, sciences, humanities, arts, and technical fields. Participating institutions included Franklin University Switzerland, Kenyon College (USA), Al Akhawayn University (Morocco), American University of Paris, Ashesi University (Ghana), Deree/American College of Greece, Earlham College (USA), and John Cabot University (Italy).