Global Learning Outcomes

students in global learning activities on campus and in other countries

UC Davis Global Learning Outcomes Working Framework

UC Davis is embarking on an ambitious goal to provide 100% of students—undergraduate, graduate and professional—with international or intercultural learning experiences before graduation, preparing them to succeed in this global job market and interconnected world.

The following working framework of UC Davis Global Learning Outcomes, developed by the Global Education for All Steering Committee, is being used to guide Global Education for All initiative activity and planning.

Why Global Learning?

Global interactions and phenomena profoundly shape our lives. Global events influence our domestic economy and policies; globally distributed networks provide our information and services; international demand informs agricultural and other industry practices; critical resources such as water, medicine, and food flow across national and cultural boundaries; worldwide collaborations produce scientific discoveries; ideas and cultural practices are shared around the planet in a matter of seconds; and global dynamics structure who we meet in communities where we live, work and play.

In addition, humanities’ most urgent challenges are inherently global in scope—from responding to transnational migration, to slowing the spread of international public health epidemics, to addressing economic disparities around the world, to fostering safety and security, to developing environmentally sustainable solutions for the planet’s future. 

UC Davis has a responsibility to prepare our students to live and work in this highly interconnected and interdependent world.

We need civically engaged community members who can think critically and communicate effectively about resources and opportunities in global and local contexts, as they are often intertwined. We need employees and entrepreneurs who are prepared to navigate across different cultural, political and regulatory environments. And we need caring, curious, globally-minded leaders who understand issues in cross-cultural contexts and work collaboratively to resolve them. Global learning prepares our students to develop skills, knowledge, networks and attitudes that will help them thrive in these roles.

Definition of Global Learning

  • Global learning entails analysis of and engagement with complex, interdependent global systems and legacies (natural, physical, social, cultural, economic, and political) and their implications for people’s lives and the earth’s sustainability.
  • Global learning should enhance students’ sense of identity, community, ethics, and perspective-taking.
  • Global learning is grounded in an understanding that that higher education has a vital role in fostering students’ ability to define and advance equity and justice with respect to human and natural systems, privilege and stratification, and development and sustainability.
  • Global learning aims to help students:
    • become informed, open-minded, and responsible people who are attentive to diverse perspectives across the spectrum of differences,
    • understand how their actions affect – and are affected by – local and global issues, and 
    • build capacity to address the world’s most pressing and enduring issues collaboratively and equitably.

How Does Global Learning Take Place?

Effective and transformative global learning offers students meaningful opportunities to analyze and explore complex global challenges, collaborate respectfully with different communities, apply learning to take responsible action in contemporary global contexts, and to evaluate the goals, methods, and consequences of that action.

Global learning may take place through academic coursework, domestic and international experiential learning (e.g. research, service-learning, internships, externships), and local co- and extra-curricular activities which include global impacts or perspectives. 

Global learning cannot be achieved in a single course or a single experience but is acquired cumulatively across students’ entire career at UC Davis through an abundance of global learning opportunities.

Global Learning Outcomes*

The following six domains characterize global learning outcomes at UC Davis. These domains are not exhaustive but focus on key skills, knowledge, and abilities. Global learning activities may emphasize a particular domain or may span multiple domains. 

  1. Global Self-Awareness
    The ability to understand interrelationships among the self, local and global communities, the natural and physical world, and historical and temporal contexts.
  2. Perspective Taking
    The ability to engage and learn from perspectives and experiences different from one’s own and to understand how one’s place in the world and societies both informs and limits one’s knowledge. 

  3. Linguistic and Cultural Diversity
    The ability to recognize the origins and influences of one’s own cultural heritage and history along with its limitations in providing all that one needs to know in the world. The ability to learn respectfully about other cultures, understand how culture can be associated with real/perceived social status, and traverse boundaries associated with culture, language, histories and status to bridge differences and collaboratively reach common goals. There are multiple and intersecting dimensions of cultural diversity that are grounded in, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, language, and class.

  4. Personal and Social Responsibility
    The ability to recognize one’s responsibilities to society--locally, nationally, and globally--and to develop a perspective on ethical and power relations both across the globe and within individual societies. This requires developing competence in ethical and moral reasoning and action.

  5. Awareness of Global Systems
    The ability to understand complex and overlapping worldwide systems, including natural systems (those systems associated with the natural world including biological, chemical, and physical sciences) and human systems (those systems developed by humans such as cultural, economic, political, and built), which are affected by or are the result of human design or disruption.

    Students need to understand how these systems:
    • are constructed,
    • affect the human and natural world,
    • operate with differential and often inequitable consequences,
    • can be influenced and altered, and
    • have implications for their field of study.
  6. Knowledge Application
    An ability to apply knowledge and skills gained through higher education to solve real-life problems, through collaboration with others across intercultural contexts in ways that account for cultural diversity, global systems, social justice and planetary sustainability.

*Adapted from the Association of American Colleges and Universities VALUE: Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (2014).

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