Developing Globally Competent Students

Stephanie Fiore

A number of years back, I participated in a Globalization Teaching Circle (later renamed the Marco Polo Collaborative) with a cohort of thoughtful colleagues who were interested in enhancing our students’ global competencies. We asked ourselves, what does it mean to have globally competent students? We represented very different disciplinary backgrounds - from political science to music to architecture and everything in between - and the discussions were energizing and productive. Together, we developed a framework of Global Learning Goals that would help us define and guide our vision, one that I believe is even more important today.


Marco Polo Collaborative Global Learning Goals

We want to prepare students to comprehend, communicate, and participate responsibly in a globalized world.

Knowledge (influences attitudes and shapes practices)

  • Acquires basic knowledge of the world. Demonstrates knowledge of the beliefs, values perspectives, practices and products of other cultures
  • Understands our interconnectedness, the way we influence and are influenced, including knowledge of contemporary and historic global issues, processes, trends, and systems
  • Understands one’s own culture, assumptions and attitudes within a global comparative context
  • Understands that alternate perceptions and behaviors may be based in cultural differences, but that cultures and attitudes are neither static nor monolithic

Attitudes (structures practices and influences apprehension of knowledge) 

  • Willingness to consider the beliefs, values, perspectives, practices of other cultures as worthy of study and thought
  • Willingness to negotiate tensions between homogeneity and hybridity, individual and community, and structure and agency
  • Develops a sense of responsibility that extends beyond self to community, country and world
  • Appreciates the language, art, religion, philosophy and material culture of different cultures

Practices (enables new knowledge and development of attitudes) 

  • Uses knowledge, diverse, cultural frames of reference, and alternate perspectives to think critically and solve problems.
  • Engages with people in other cultures
  • Actively seeks exposure to other cultures
  • Uses foreign language skills and/or knowledge of other cultures to extend access to information, experiences, and understanding


I share this framework as a way to help you think about how to help develop globally competent students. But, of course, the big question is, how do you operationalize this in your classrooms? Ask yourselves: how you can bring in voices and perspectives from other cultures? Can you look at the issues you discuss with more than one lens? In what ways can you help students stand in the shoes of those different from themselves? Can you provide access to other worldviews on contemporary issues and problems? Can you introduce case studies, literature, research that enable students to engage with international perspectives? Think about one opportunity you can add to your class this semester, then add another next semester - incremental changes are key to reworking curricula with the goal of developing globally competent students.


An easy way to start is to engage this week with International Education Week activities being held right here at Temple University. Check out the Global Reach, Global Teach website for information on all the events happening this week. For your convenience, we’ve listed a few faculty events below. Check out also the International Collaboration Program that allows you to invite guests from our campuses abroad to your classrooms. 


Stephanie Fiore, PhD, is an Assistant Vice Provost at Temple University and Senior Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

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