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A broader view of biology

Two CBS faculty participate in year-long U-wide program designed to boost global competency across the curriculum.

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Photo of Jennifer PowersJennifer Powers and Deena Wassenberg are members of the 2014-15 cohort of the U of M’s Internationalizing Teaching and Learning Program. Faculty participating in the program focus on integrating a global perspective into their courses by developing learning outcomes, expanding their teaching strategies, creating new course materials, and developing activities and assessments around those learning outcomes. Powers will focus on “internationalizing” EEB 3001: Ecology & Society, while Wassenberg will apply it to BIOL 1050: Environmental Biology – Science and Solutions.

Photo of Deena Wassenberg“We are looking for the most innovative teachers and instructors with a real passion for their subjects,” says Gayle Woodruff, director of curriculum and campus internationalization for the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance. “It’s really about teaching students to see problems through a global lens. For science students that might mean working to solve global-scale environmental and public health problems across cultural differences and political borders.”

“It is an important goal for CBS that our undergraduates develop a global perspective and we know that not everyone is able to participate in an abroad experience while in college,” says Nikki Letawsky Schultz, the college’s assistant dean for student affairs and international programs. "Although many of the world’s most pressing problems are biological in nature, we don’t presently have robust mechanisms to incorporate global perspectives of these problems into our coursework. Deena and Jennifer’s participation in the ITL program is an exciting step to begin to embed this lense into our undergraduate curriculum."

“The U of M is leading in this approach,” says Woodruff. “We have a strong history of international education. Other universities are just starting to look into global competency and looking to us as a model.”

– Stephanie Xenos