Shared Futures Overview
Shared Futures: Global Learning and Social Responsibility is a multi-project, national initiative seeking to support the academy in its vital role of expanding knowledge about the world’s peoples and problems and developing individuals who will advance equity and justice both at home and abroad.
The initiative’s current project is General Education for a Global Century, a curriculum and faculty development project that brings together thirty-two colleges and universities to set the contours of the next generation of global learning, scientific literacy, and general education. This project is made possible by the Henry Luce Foundation.
In General Education for a Global Century we ask institutions to rethink the content and re-imagine the designs of a globally engaged general education.
- Diversity, Democracy, and Global Emphases: Students will explore global interdependence and American pluralism, questions of identity and community, and personal and social responsibility.
- Scientific Literacy (for ALL students, STEM majors and non-STEM majors): Learning experiences will emphasize scientific inquiry and scientific literacy across the curriculum, addressing real-world global dilemmas through research, application, and diverse perspectives.
- Advanced Integrative Inquiry: Student work will focus on “big global questions” in the junior and senior year across disciplines. Students and faculty together will explore problems that require multiple perspectives and investigation for their solution.
- Sequential Progression from First to Final Undergraduate Years: Participants will implement a first to final year structure—keyed to expected student capabilities rather than specified course content—with integrative and applied work at milestone and culminating points across the curriculum, and flexible points of entry for transfer students.
- High Impact Educational Practices: Institutions will weave widely tested, student-centered educational design practices into the general education curriculum (examples include first year seminars/experiences, learning communities, writing intensive courses, collaborative projects and assignments, undergraduate research, internships, study abroad and study away, and capstone projects).
- Intellectual and Practical Skills and Ethical, Cross-Cultural Inquiry, Across the Curriculum: Starting when students enter the institution, the curriculum will help students make clear links between skills (such as analytical reasoning, inquiry and research, quantitative and information literacy, problem-solving, ethical reasoning, community-based learning, integrative learning) developed in general education and those developed in majors.
- Capstones: Capstones are designed to integrate general education requirements and the major and to demonstrate that students can apply their learning to complex problems.
By building a network of educators dedicated to this integrative work, Shared Futures facilitates curricular change and faculty development on campuses nationwide. Through an online social network, the initiative hopes to create new connections between educators -- connections that will lead to collaboration on course design and pedagogy, shared strategies for curricular renewal and globalization of general education, and a fluid, decentralized exchange of resources that opens new opportunities for partnership and learning