On Saturday, May 22, 2021, Stanford Global Studies (SGS) hosted the 2021 Education Partnership for Internationalizing Curriculum (EPIC) Symposium which featured presentations by the 12 2020–21 EPIC Fellows. SPICE along with the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis are SGS’s EPIC partners. Jonas Edman worked with six of the EPIC Fellows during the academic year as they sought to increase the international, intercultural, and global dimensions in their curriculum.
During the EPIC Symposium, Edman moderated two panels that featured the following six instructors. The “pitches” for their talks can be found here.
The EPIC Fellows not only conceptualized and developed ways to globalize their curriculum through the incorporation of new subject matter knowledge but also carefully considered the importance of pedagogical content knowledge, which was popularized by Stanford scholar Lee Shulman. Shulman argued that subject matter knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge—teachers’ interpretations and transformations of subject-matter knowledge in the context of facilitating student learning—should not be treated as mutually exclusive. Edman commented, “While moderating the two panels, I was struck by how each embraced this notion.”
In panel one, Banerjee introduced her project, which focused on incorporating social justice and global issues in freshman composition, and spoke about how her thematic units on topics like human rights not only introduced students to subject matter knowledge such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also engaged them in an inquiry-based learning pedagogical approach. Similarly, Sobala described how she internationalized her social justice course by including the critical viewing of documentaries that focus on women from around the world among her pedagogical approaches. Evans introduced her Reimaging Public Health Roundtable Series, which invites students to reshape and rethink approaches to health and health care in the United States by borrowing from public health methodologies from other countries. She not only introduced students to topics like international perspectives on mental health (including stigma) but also spoke about how she engaged students in creating podcasts as a pedagogical approach.
In panel two, King described her project, which crystalized around the question, “How can San Bernadino Valley College students learn about the world from a different perspective?” Her project engaged students with a podcast that she created called “Within a Grain of Sand” and focused on topics such as migration and refugees as she sought to encourage her students to seek connections between the local and global. Nieman and diLiberti focused their projects on faculty professional development. For Nieman, she challenged faculty to think about how to teach an unfamiliar topic, which happens to be a learning objective of the course, to students. She recommended the engagement of students in experiential learning activities as she internationalized her law courses in areas such as tort law, dispute resolution, and corporate governance. diLiberti developed an eight-week professional development course that has the goal of having the participants gain a more concrete understanding of globalization in tangible ways. As an example, she recommended the use of narrative maps, which she learned from EPIC guest speaker Professor Kären Wigen, as a pedagogical tool.
During the question-and-answer period, 2018–19 EPIC Fellow Dave Dillon, Grossmont College, El Cajon, California, asked how the projects of the 2020–21 EPIC Fellows evolved especially given the pandemic. Evans and Sobala noted that they felt the need to keep strict parameters around the scope of their EPIC projects, and throughout the 2020–21 EPIC Program, the EPIC Fellows expressed the challenges they faced as they transitioned to teaching online. After the Symposium, Edman commented, “despite the enormous challenges that the pandemic posed to the EPIC Fellows, they produced very engaging and meaningful globally focused projects that had direct outcomes on faculty and students, and will continue to have an impact in the years to come.” Edman was especially struck by a comment from one of King’s students who commented on a lesson on refugees: “… I was very unaware of the global refugee situation, and still feel like I do not understand the entire scope of it… when doing more research for the assignment, I found a refugee resettlement tracker that actually showed me how many refugees had resettled in my area historically… That was something I had not previously considered, and the questions asking what my community is doing to help refugees and immigrants really made me think about this issue and how much more there is that we can do at a community level.”
After hearing this student reflection, Edman commented that “perhaps a silver lining to the pandemic is that students began to vividly see the connection between the local and global not only in terms of health but also in other areas that the EPIC Fellows touched upon… for example, refugees, climate, hunger, feminism, immigration, and law as well.”