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Why a Global Education Is Important for CNM Students

As part of CNM’s Strategic Direction, the college is internationalizing more of its curriculum so that graduates are ready to enter a globalized economy
Why a Global Education Is Important for CNM Students
Photo by Joshua Fuller

Aug 06, 2018

What do a Welding degree and the idea of a global education—where students are exposed to curriculum about the larger world—have in common? At first glance, not much. They seem completely unrelated. But dig deeper and you’ll see they have the potential to be completely intertwined.

For example, what if you get a Welding degree from CNM and then get hired by a firm to work on a pipeline project in Latin America or the Middle East? If that happens, it will be important to know something about the language and history of these regions so you can successfully integrate into the local culture.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a job with an international focus is becoming more and more likely for many graduates. Right now, one in five American jobs is already tied to global trade and that percentage is expected to rise. Unfortunately, companies are missing out on these global economic opportunities because they can’t find graduates with competent international training.

This growth, and those missed opportunities, are why CNM, as part of its larger Strategic Direction goals, has increased its efforts to ensure as many students as possible get international exposure.

The push started in 2016 when the college’s Internationalizing the Curriculum Committee (ICC) sent out a survey to all CNM faculty to see if their classes included any global or international content. To be clear what that meant, the ICC defined four different content bins that would qualify.

  • “Self-awareness of personal culture” where students had the opportunity to define their own beliefs, values, and cultures and think about how they impacted other local or global communities.
  • “Awareness of other cultures” where students were encouraged to compare their values with those of other global cultures and think about the idea of cultural diversity.
  • “Global engagement” where students were encouraged to engage in community service with multicultural groups and or use communication skills to foster multicultural collaboration.
  • “Social responsibility and human dignity” where students were encouraged to think about how globalization affected human rights and shared natural resources.

In the survey, the faculty were asked to rate their classes on a 0-5 scale. A class with a 0 rating didn’t address any of those content bins. A class with a 5 rating, on the other hand, was specifically designed and primarily focused on the multicultural or international issues in those bins. Classes with a 1-4 rating fell somewhere in between. A 3 rating, for example, had 25- to 75-percent of its content dedicated to those bins.

Surprisingly, the survey showed that 15,368 students, or 43.1-percent of the student body, were already taking a class during the 2016-17 school year that met a rating of 3 or higher. As a form of recognition, those classes will now get a globe icon next to their title in the course catalog.

“The results were a real testament to our faculty who clearly understand the value of a global education, but the results also told us that there’s still work to be done to expand the reach of this program,” says Poppy Johnson-Renvall, the Director of Libraries at CNM and chair of the ICC.

In 2016-17, 495 students participated in internationally themed activities on campus and 53 students from other countries attended CNM through the Global Education program. A group of 10 students and two faculty members also took a “study abroad” trip to Guatemala.

Currently, Johnson-Renvall says, the ICC is working with faculty who teach 0-2 rated classes to see if they want to try and increase the amount of global curriculum included in their syllabus. There’s no requirement, but if there’s an opportunity for easy integration, the ICC is there to help.

Karina Guzzi, who teaches classes including IT 1004—Computer and Keyboarding Basics, and

IT 1010—Computer Concepts and Software Applications, says she’s all in. Her classes might not have any global connections on paper, but she’s found ways to integrate global content nonetheless.

For example, in addition to the computer curriculum, she includes soft skills curriculum that helps students understand the importance of education. She’ll show trailers for videos like “On the Way to School”—a documentary about kids in remote global locations struggling to access schoolhouses—which she says helps students appreciate their access to education and be a little more forgiving when they sit in traffic on the way to CNM.

“I think every class has the opportunity to help students create an expanded view of the world,” she says. “And when we have a better understanding of the global community, we have better understanding of our local community as well.”

Learn more about Global Education at CNM.