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Cornell University

Global Learning

Cornell Students Sharing a Meal with Japanese Monks

Photo Credit  Lisa Malloy

Yiding Ma '16 (left), hands over a barrel of rice porridge in the manner prescribed in monastic dining. Part of Jane-Marie Law's course trip to Japan, in the Asian Studies department. Full Article

We are preparing students to work and live in an increasingly globalized world. Providing them with the tools to be successful collaborating with others from different parts of the globe is an important part of how international studies at Cornell can serve its students in preparing them for life after Cornell.

Global learning is a critical analysis of and engagement with complex, interdependent global systems and legacies (such as natural, physical, social, cultural, economic, and political) and their implications for people’s lives and the earth’s sustainability. Through global learning, students should 1) become informed, open-minded, and responsible people who are attentive to diversity across the spectrum of differences, 2) seek to understand how their actions affect both local and global communities, and 3) address the world’s most pressing and enduring issues collaboratively and equitably. (AAC&U 2014)

What is global learning at Cornell?

Global learning can happen anywhere, on or off campus, in the classroom, in the lab, in the field, and abroad. There are many expressions and manifestations of global learning from a pedagogical point of view. A global learning experience might be a course that engages broad international questions and issues or particular regions, cultures, and languages, or both.

At Cornell, there are many examples of global learning programs and experiences, and faculty work separately and together to address common global learning challenges and develop and share best practices. In general, educators seeking to be more intentional or design new courses and programs, will want to attend to global and intercultural learning all the way through, from setting goals, to planning assessments, and activities, lectures, and other course content. The university’s broad learning outcome related to global learning, on the Provost’s website, states, that Cornell graduates will “Demonstrate knowledge and awareness of different cultural practices, values, beliefs, and worldviews, and an understanding of their own cultural perspective; communicate effectively and respectfully with individuals from different backgrounds and across a multicultural society; demonstrate curiosity, flexibility, adaptability, and tolerance for ambiguity; investigate themselves and others as cultural beings, understanding the implied values and assumptions that underlie cultural norms and traditions.”

Beginning with this, and other personally relevant and discipline-specific goals and learning outcomes, practitioners committed to increasing global literacy are also committed to developing and mentoring intercultural competencies, creating meaningful international learning opportunities for students, on or off campus, as well as in the classroom and adopting critical reflection as a practice for themselves and their students.


Association of American Colleges and Universities. 2014. Global Learning VALUE rubric. VALUE: Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education.

Where to go Next

Why is it important to bring an international focus to my teaching? 

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