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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


The Global Challenge: Educating Americans for Global Citizenship

Jason A. Scorza.

Americans are commonly thought to be long on power but short on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to be good global citizens. Taking this assumption as his starting point, the author examines one unique effort to educate young Americans for global citizenship, employing the classic literature on cosmopolitanism (including Kant and Mazzini) as well as his own outcomes-based rubric. This rubric takes into account global knowledge (e.g., geography, world politics, cultural literacy), skills (including critical thinking and communication skills), and attitudes (including openness and curiosity).

Specifically, the paper will critique the pedagogical strengths and weaknesses of 'The Global Challenge', a mandatory three-credit hour freshman course on global issues and global citizenship offered at Fairleigh Dickinson University, in the United States, and through affiliates including the United States National Guard education Bureau. The Global Challenge is an interdisciplinary course which attempts to teach students how to think about complex global issues, including the global environment, ethnic conflict, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and a variety of population issues. Members of a growing global network of faculty fellows, which includes representatives from dozens of African, European, South American, Asian, and Caribbean countries, joins students in on-line discussions and enhances their global experience.

Fairleigh Dickinson is in many respects a typical American University. However, since its founding in 1942 Fairleigh Dickinson has embraced a global mission and, since 1945, has maintained close ties to the United Nations. Indeed, Fairleigh Dickinson University has become one of just three universities in the United States to earn accreditation as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) associated with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations. The Global Challenge is just one component of the university’s global education program, which emphasizes distance learning as a means to promoting global citizenship.

In the interest of full disclosure, the author should admit to being one of the architects of this program. While this clearly colors his view, it also gives him unique insights into the particular challenges of educating young Americans for meaningful global citizenship.


Jason A. Scorza  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Program in Philosophy and Humanities, University College
Fairleigh Dickinson University

Jason A. Scorza is an assistant professor of philosophy and political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University, in Teaneck, NJ. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University in 1997. He is the author of papers and articles on civic virtue, civic education, civil rights, and literature and politics. He is a major contributor to Fairleigh Dickinson’s global education and distance learning programs, and is the co-creator of two of FDU’s most innovative on-line courses: The Global Challenge (CORE A) and The Life of the Mind (PHIL 1000).

  • Citizenship
  • Global citizenship
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Critical thinking
  • Global education
  • Distance learning
  • On-line education
  • Political theory

(30 min Conference Paper, English)