by – Lillian Huerta

This year and last year, I had the privilege of being selected to participate in a Globalizing Curriculum Faculty Learning Community. This great community is sponsored by UT Austin and Austin Community College’s Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and International Programs. It involves a small group of faculty members who meet once a month to engage in conversations regarding how to globalize their respective courses. In addition, faculty are provided the opportunity to listen to speakers who are other faculty members and/or community leaders and are experts in their fields. The topics range from human rights, gender and LGBT issues, religion, critical pedagogy, poverty, and an array of other topics. Thus, the interchange of conversations and interaction with the guest speakers provide faculty with an array of ideas on how to globalize their courses.

As an advocate for global studies, authentic learning, and service-learning, I was inspired to globalize my student development courses by having my students engage in their communities using the service-learning teaching methodology. Consequently, my plan to globalize my student development courses will involve me pulling together the major chapter themes from our textbook, such as: culture & diversity, critical-thinking, growth mindset, emotional intelligence, career skills, note taking, library skills, and other concepts discussed in class. In addition, students will engage in research regarding the populations that we will be working with in the community. Students in my courses will be working with refugees and immigrant populations either by serving in a soup kitchen, serving as mentors and tutors, planting community gardens, translating, helping refugees acclimate to US culture, etc. Each service activity will provide students with exposure to different languages, religions, customs, and cultures.

Engaging in reflection is another component to the service-learning teaching methodology.  So, my students will record videos sharing what they have learned during their service activities. Students will discuss the skills they learned that will help them develop their emotional intelligence. In addition, they will present a research paper to their peers regarding their service experience, the value of global education, and the ways that having a globalized mindset will allow them to become future agents of change in their respective fields. For example, students who are majoring in culinary arts may address food insecurity in the US and abroad. Another student majoring in computer science and information technology might want to present on the lack of access to digital resources and its impact on marginalized groups within the US and abroad.

If you are interested in learning more about my work I encourage you to contact me.  I especially encourage everyone to apply to participate in ACC’s and UT Austin’s Globalizing the Curriculum Faculty Learning Community.