World History as "Global Responsibility": Redesigning the World History Survey for a Liberal Education Curriculum

Saturday, January 5, 2019: 10:30 AM
Williford C (Hilton Chicago)
Louisa Rice, University of WisconsinEau Claire
In 2015, the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire introduced a new outcomes-based General Education program. Now reframed as “Liberal Education” the core curriculum requires students to complete courses in the categories of “skills,” “knowledges,” “responsibilities” and integrative learning. The two 100 level World History surveys (to 1500 and since 1500), each serving about 300 students per semester, fulfill the humanities knowledge outcome and the global responsibility outcome. While students can select from multiple courses to complete this part of their general curriculum, World History has remained a popular choice. This paper will explain the ways in which the World History since 1500 course was redesigned to meet the global responsibility outcome. It will argue that some of the problems encountered in this revision shed light on more general issues faced in the teaching of world history, most significantly in the requirement that students demonstrate knowledge about diverse cultures through their coursework. Other parts of the global responsibility outcome—those which ask student to “evaluate global systems, institutions, or relationships of power” and understand that “individual and collective decisions have global implications”—are aptly suited to World History’s exploration of global integration. As the paper will demonstrate using assessment data, assignments on the era of exploration, the Atlantic Slave Trade, and World War One, have successfully enabled students to wrestle with the concept of “global responsibility” and cross-cultural contact.
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