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Global and Multicultural Awareness

Differentiating the Global Citizenship competency and the Global and Multicultural Awareness category

The primary difference between the two is essentially a matter of scope and emphasis. Global Citizenship is a competency and a subsidiary component of a Liberal Studies (LS) Elective course. In other words, the primary focus of the LS Elective course is the course content, only a portion needs to pertain to the interconnectedness of individuals, institutions, and/or countries. For example, either an Anthropology or a Food and Nutrition course could note how choices made by individuals in their local supermarket could have global implications. An Economics or Business course could address how some aspects of the global economy are affected by policy decisions (What if Greece defaults on its loans? What if the United States discourages outsourcing of U.S. jobs?). When paired with assignments that increase students’ recognition of the importance of civic engagement, this sort of content would satisfy the criteria for Global Citizenship. However, it would not satisfy the criteria for a Global and Multicultural Awareness (GMA) course, which requires a deeper, more comprehensive treatment of a variety of cultures or global situations throughout the course.

Global and Multicultural Awareness (GMA) is a stand-alone type of LS course rather than a subsidiary component. Liberal Studies GMA courses require a more thorough exploration of global themes than Liberal Studies courses with a global citizenship competency, giving students significant exposure to knowledge that will enable them to critically evaluate the world in which they live. For example, a Sociology course could focus on waves and patterns of immigration to the United States and include an examination of the ways that diverse immigrant groups perceive and experience American society. An Anthropology course could examine how human behaviors and actions can have very different meanings in different cultures. Another course might examine how variations in government economic policies (or the initial endowments of natural resources) among a number of countries might explain differences in the standards of living of people in those countries. Such content must be highlighted as the organizing theme of the syllabus of record and should be clearly indicated in the catalog description for the course.

Rationale – Global Citizenship competency

The criteria for courses in the Global Citizenship competency area have been modified to highlight course content and assignments that emphasize issues of social justice, social action, and citizenship in a global context. The number of required items under the criteria has also been reduced and simplified to minimize any overlap with the Global/Multicultural Awareness knowledge area course criteria and Liberal Studies Electives criteria.

Rationale – Global and Multicultural Awareness category

The criteria for Global/Multicultural Awareness knowledge area courses have been modified to emphasize course content and assignments that focus on cross-cultural awareness, and deepen students’ understanding of the diversity of perspectives, life ways, and structures that shape our global community.

Global and Multicultural Awareness Introduction

Global and Multicultural Awareness courses are designed to provide students with the opportunity to learn more about the world and its diverse peoples and to promote a better understanding of other cultures. Students should gain an understanding of global situations and how these situations affect their lives as well as creating possibilities to address them. Course content should emphasize cross-cultural awareness and deepen students’ understanding of the diversity of perspectives, life ways, and structures that shape our global community.

A Global and Multicultural Awareness course may present one or more cultures by emphasizing a single dimension, e.g., art, music, dance, politics, or religion. Such a course is appropriate if the dimension is represented in its cultural context. Although a Global and Multicultural Awareness course may deal with a single culture, comparative courses addressing relationships among cultures are encouraged.

Syllabi for courses in this category must provide course content that enables students to achieve the Expected Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes identified below. Course proposals may identify additional objectives from the list of Expected Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes as appropriate to the course content.

Global and Multicultural Awareness Expected Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes

Syllabi for courses designed to fulfill the Liberal Studies Global and Multicultural Awareness knowledge area requirement must provide course content that enables students to achieve the Expected Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes identified below. Course proposals may identify additional objectives from the list of Expected Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes as appropriate to the course content.

Informed Learners understand nature and society through forms of inquiry fundamental to the sciences, the humanities, and the arts. Learners are informed by knowledge and ways of knowing that extend beyond core concepts enabling them to link theory and practice.

As Informed Learners, students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the interrelationships within and across cultures and global communities.

Empowered Learners are critical thinkers who demonstrate intellectual agility and creativity and the ability to manage or create change. They are able to derive meaning from experience and observation. They communicate well in diverse settings and employ various strategies to solve problems. They are empowered through mastery of intellectual and practical skills.

As Empowered Learners, students will demonstrate:

  • critical thinking skills, including analysis, application, and evaluation.
  • reflective thinking and the ability to synthesize information and ideas.

Responsible Learners are engaged citizens of a diverse democratic society who have a deep sense of social responsibility and ethical judgment. They are responsible for their personal actions and civic values.

As Responsible Learners, students will demonstrate:

  • an understanding of themselves and a respect for the identities, histories, and cultures of others.

Global and Multicultural Awareness Required Course Content

Proposals for courses designed to fulfill the Liberal Studies Global and Multicultural Awareness requirement must include:

  • development of students’ understanding of a variety of cultures or global situations; primary focus should be on non-dominant cultures
  • presentation of cultures on their own terms with an appreciation of their dimensions, going beyond mere description of a culture; those dimensions may include religion, economics, politics, art, language, literature, and ethics, as well as other dimensions of the cultural milieu
  • an examination of the ways differing cultures establish and rely on systems of values, norms, and ideals
  • content that enables students to gain knowledge of the past and present and interrelations among communities of historical, philosophical, scientific, environmental, or social perspectives
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