Carnegie Mellon University

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New Undergrad Courses Increase Cultural Awareness

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As part of Carnegie Mellon's global initiative, eight new courses were recently added to the undergrad curriculum. Designed to increase students' cultural awareness, the courses will help students compete in an international marketplace. At least one of the global classes is offered by each of the university's six undergraduate colleges.

"How to increase students' global awareness and working knowledge for a global context is a challenge to today's education," said Indira Nair, Carnegie Mellon's vice provost for education. "We are beginning the process of articulating the different levels of knowledge, skills and understanding that constitute a global education."

Working in tandem with the Global Faculty Group, the faculty members who teach the courses will assess their progress and revise the curriculum as needed. The new global courses are:

  • Global Systems and Project Management — an information systems course in which students from Pittsburgh work collaboratively with students from Singapore Management University
  • Disastrous Encounters — a history course examining natural and man-made disasters through time and taught at Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh and Qatar campuses
  • Health, Development and Human Rights — a philosophy course in which students consider the ethics of global poverty and its implications for health and development
  • Technology for Developing Communities — a course taught by computer science, robotics and history faculty, and examining how technology can combat global poverty.
  • International Collaborative Construction Management — an engineering course that studies the life cycle of construction projects around the world
  • Biotechnology Impacting Ourselves, Societies and Sphere (BIOS^3) — a biology course that examines the social and cultural contexts of biotechnology at a global level, with videoconferencing among Pittsburgh and Qatar students and a clinic in Zambia
  • Mapping Urbanism — a course taught by architecture faculty that examines global cities and urban culture
  • Finance Course — a business course in development, the course will be tied to the Tepper School's management game class managing simulated companies and will involve students from international universities, including one in Mexico

Nair and G. Richard Tucker, head of the Department of Modern Languages, spearheaded this effort along with Michael West, a teaching professor of French and Francophone studies. The initiative was funded by Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon through his Academic Leadership Award from the Carnegie Corporation.

Carnegie Mellon is also part of a consortium of 16 colleges and universities engaged in a project called "Shared Futures: General Education for Global Learning" whose goals include making global learning a central component of undergraduate education.  

Related Links: The Global University  |  Tepper MBA Student Wins Global Award