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Engaging Generation Z: Integrating Global and Local Vision, Structure, and Innovation


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How are universities responding to two recent paradigm shifts impacting global education? First, there is a generational change between millennials and the new cohort known as K or Z. While our current traditional undergraduates may be more anxious, skeptical, and know only smartphones, they also crave connection and are makers, creators, and inventors. (“Think millennials have it tough? For 'Generation K', life is even harsher.” The Guardian, March 19, 2016) The second shift is the increased fluidity between global and local interactions and groups. As classrooms continue to diversify with international and first-generation students, the university community – students, faculty, and staff – must obtain and demonstrate intercultural agility, curiosity, and empathy to navigate the complexities of the contemporary world. This session addresses how the University of St. Thomas has implemented into its administrative structure an innovative partnership between faculty from diverse disciplines and education abroad professionals to address the new realities of global and local engagement that respond to the world’s most pressing needs.

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Engaging Generation Z: Integrating Global and Local Vision, Structure, and Innovation

  2. 2. UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS PRESENTERS 2  Camille George, AVP, Global & Local Engagement and Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering  Elise Amel, Director, Office of Sustainability Initiatives and Professor, Psychology  Sarah E. Spencer, Director, Office of Study Abroad
  3. 3. 3 This is GEN Z
  4. 4. GENERATION Z OVERVIEW 4 Identity Technology Family Life Social Issues Careers Education Privacy & Safety Global + Innovative
  5. 5. OVERVIEW OF GLOBAL & LOCAL ENGAGEMENTS 5 Purposeful Interactions
  7. 7. VISION 7 Responding to the needs of the 21st century: Students need to demonstrate intercultural agility, curiosity and empathy to navigate the complexities of the contemporary world. Our vision is to promote a wide-range of experiential learning experiences to all stakeholders. GALE Vision: The Center for Global and Local Engagement at the University of St. Thomas facilitates learning programs that promote intercultural agility and ethical community engagement. The Center gives all students, faculty, staff, and alumni the opportunity to advance the common good through study away experiences and transformational community partnerships that address social, environmental, and economic issues important for our region and world.
  8. 8. MISSION 8 GALE Mission The Center for Global and Local Engagement provides a University-wide structure to support ethical and sustainable partnerships, programs, and policies that enable the University to advance the common good through traditional and innovative approaches to study abroad and community engagement.  Responding to our Strategic Plan- St. Thomas 2020: Living our Mission, Expanding Our Horizon  From a global perspective, coordination with study abroad experiences  From a local perspective, emphasize the ‘glocal’ and the need to introduce intercultural learning in our diverse metropolis
  9. 9. STRUCTURE 9 Structure: Faculty & staff for programmatic efforts: Study Abroad, Community Engagement, Sustainability Initiatives, Social Impact. Directors are both staff and faculty Directors meet once a month Shared resources: Centralized administration (event planning, calendar coordination), assessment and budget support.
  10. 10. AGREEMENTS & ASSESSMENT 10 Two areas of expertise that are often overlooked Develop a more coordinated approach to agreements with external partner organizations Develop consistent policies Develop an assessment strategy to refine our programs
  11. 11. OFFICES WORKING TOGETHER 11 Office of Sustainability Initiatives Office of Community Engagement Office of Study Abroad Social Innovation ‘Collaboratory’
  12. 12. SUSTAINABILITY energy water urban wetlandsurban agriculture waste transportation community climate
  14. 14. GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY Evolution Interdisciplinarity Value Opportunities
  15. 15. CASE: PSYCHOLOGY OF SUSTAINABILITY ABROAD •Copenhagen, Hamburg, Berlin, Freiburg, Köln, Lüneburg, Magdeburg, Göhrde •Explore how behavior affects the environment and how the environment affects behavior •Understand social, cognitive and developmental aspects of real social problems •Upper-level credit toward majors/minors in Psychology, Environmental Studies & Environmental Science
  16. 16. LOCAL SUSTAINABILITY Sustainable Communities Partnership Collaborates with cities to link city- identified, high-priority, sustainability projects with St. Thomas courses
  18. 18. SCOPE? Individual project Unit Group project Course theme
  19. 19. STUDENT WORK Needs assessment best practices precedents Data collection & analysis Designs, models, prototypes, maps, plans, programs Cost/benefit analysis Communication, outreach, education Policy recommendations
  21. 21. OFFICE OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT (OCE) 21 OCE Mission Inspired by Catholic Social Teaching, the Office of Community Engagement accompanies global and local partner organizations by supporting the design, implementation, and evaluation of courses that use collaborative strategies of engagement to advance the common good. ENGAGE, EXAMINE, EMPOWER
  22. 22. OFFICE OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT 22 Analyzed past Service Learning Courses in light of the world’s most pressing needs Identified theme based initiatives Guiding Principles Best Practices
  23. 23. OCE - GUIDING PRINCIPLES 23 Do no harm & maximize the common good Recognize the Scholarship of Engagement (community partners are co- educators) Critical Service-Learning (attends to dynamics of privilege and power) Radically Inclusive (inspired by Catholic Social Teaching where diverse worldviews and faith traditions are respected) Collaborative Strategies of Engagement (wide framework from charity to justice) Project-based Approach (partner organizations define deliverables) All staff are educators to extend learning and serve the mission of education
  24. 24. OCE BEST PRACTICES 24 Adopted six best practices Reciprocity (partner articulates a real need) Student Orientation (every student trained for engagement across lines of difference) Quality Reflection (the experience is not graded; student learning is evaluated) Common Good (work promoting the net social & environmental conditions necessary for human thriving) Student Evaluation (connection between academic content and experiences) Program Assessment/Community Voice (partner’s voice in assessing success)
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  26. 26. OFFICE OF STUDY ABROAD 26 Stabilization Assessment & Finance Commonalities Community engagement – global or local Intercultural learning/agility Program management Short-term – course-based, faculty-directed Language of experiential learning
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  28. 28. EXTRA THOUGHTS 28
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  30. 30. 30 QUESTIONS? DISCUSSION How are your current students engaging with complex, contemporary local and global communities?
  31. 31. THANK YOU