Internationalizing University Honors Programs

David S. Harrison, C. Michael Ritchie


Renewed efforts are taking place to internationalize university curricula. Traditional approaches
through exchange, study abroad, and academics are valuable and continue. Complementing
these programs are varied other approaches, including an integrative effort we put forward
through the Honors Program at our university. Working to develop a more actively participative
program – one that would leave the confines of lecture formats, reach across disciplines, and
engage students in critical exploration of international issues – we found a perfect structure
within a program of the American Associations of State Colleges and Universities (AASC&U).
The program, “Global Challenges,” offers the advantage of a variety of research approaches
supporting an exploration of seven major global issues. This blended perfectly with our
university’s recent focus on critical thinking and desire to reach better levels of campus
internationalization. Using the AASC&U program as a platform, we developed a two semester
program within our honors program to combine an active exploration of world issues
(AASC&U) with critical inquiry methods in a cross-disciplinary approach that culminated in a
creative, student-directed, study abroad program.

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