Are You a Global Citizen?How TCC teaches students to be aware of the world

The term global, as defined by Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, is something “of, relating to, or involving the entire world.” The term citizen, as defined by the same dictionary, is “an inhabitant of a city or town; one entitled to the protection of a sovereign state in which sovereign power is retained by the people and sharing in the political rights of those people.”

If one were to combine these words, they would make the phrase global citizen. What is a global citizen? If we mesh the individual definitions together, we find that a global citizen is a person who is active in society on an international scale. The question is now are you a global citizen? Global citizens, according to Oxfam Education, are aware of and understand their place in the wider world. Global citizens are active in their communities and are eager to learn how to bridge international gaps.

At Tulsa Community College, being a global citizen is something students and faculty are very passionate about. Dr. Douglas Price is the Director of Global Learning for TCC. He works out of the Northeast Campus and has an affinity for international relations. In a meeting with Dr. Price, he explained the importance of being a global citizen and what exactly is needed to do so. The ideas presented were in the form of Global Learning.

Global Learning is not a concept foreign to colleges, in fact, the Association of American Colleges and Universities posted a short-list of institutions that offer courses in Global Learning.

Arcadia University, Dickinson College, Michigan State University, and now, Tulsa Community College, are some of the few higher education facilities that offer classes in Global Learning.

You might be wondering what exactly is Global Learning? Global Learning, as defined by TCC, “involves learning about … problems and issues that cut across national boundaries, and about the interconnectedness of systems.” These interconnected systems include ecological, cultural, economic, political, and technological issues.

Global Learning is all about taking perspective; seeing things through the lenses of someone other than yourself. It is about noticing differences in others culturally and accepting them. TCC offers a class in Global Learning. It is in conjunction with International Student Services and is an introduction to the United States higher education system for F1-visa students. The course is listed as COLL 1101. The class places an emphasizes on connecting students to TCC’s learning support and student life offices. However, this class is only offered to international students. Domestic students currently do not have a class that is structured or marketed for them. Dr. Price believes that being a global citizen is not taught rather, it is experienced.

“People live locally,” Dr. Price explains, “it doesn’t matter where you go, it is where you are.” He proceeds to explain the Academic Cultural Exchange Program, commonly referred to as ACEP. ACEP is for both faculty and students and focuses on augmenting learning outcomes through global perspectives. It is co-authored with International Student Service’s Thomas Wallace. It is an open invitation for international students to share their personal stories.

Through ACEP, the idea of what is “foreign” versus what is “domestic” is challenged. 

“The idea of being foreign is different for everyone,” Dr. Price begins, “The question of ‘who is the outsider’ is contextually bound.” What may be foreign to one person is domestic to another. Dr. Price gives an example of two students seated in the same classroom. One student is from another part of the world while the other student is from the local community. Both students are foreign to each other, however, Student B may consider Student A to be even more foreign due to them being from a different place than they are. ACEP flips the idea of being foreign on its head by simply redefining what it means. “The whole point of ACEP and global learning is the intersection of difference and linking it to action,” says Dr. Price. Everyone is foreign to someone who is unfamiliar with their pocket of the earth.

What ACEP does is allow for students, whether they be from Canada or Malaysia, to share their experiences in hopes that it will allow for open understanding and acceptance.

Dr. Price advocates wholly for open-mindedness in all regards, especially in terms of international relations. He is currently proud to host the Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Kendra Reynolds from Northern Ireland, here at TCC. For information concerning Dr. Reynolds and her purpose here at the College, feel free to contact Dr. Price. Fulbright scholars are known to be some of the best, most well-informed people in their fields. Dr. Reynolds will be teaching some English courses in the Spring. 

In all, Dr. Price defines being a global citizen as simply being aware of global issues but not necessarily being a spokesperson. If you are still wondering if you qualify to be a global citizen, the answer is yes. As long as you are aware of global issues and people who may be different from you, you are a global citizen. For more information in regards to how to become more globally aware, global learning or ACEP, please contact Dr. Douglas Price at douglas.price@tulsacc.edu.