hands with globeA new diploma program at PDS, optional for students there, presented by Dr. Loren Fauchier, Director of global Studies there.   Our presenter tells us his teenage son jazzed up his powerpoint for him, which is a funny anecdote and a nice message too that our students can collaborate with us. 

The program includes a global citizen capstone project, and a set of 21st century skills development, and I like that our speaker cites Tony Wagner, whose book Global Achievement Gap is a huge inspiration to me.  

At Providence, students can arrange their high school coursework, he explains, in such a way as to select-in those existing classes which then qualify them for the global studies diploma.   Other components include attendance at a Global Speaker series, a Great Decisions series, Model UN, and a Passport program.  Hosting foreign exchange students for 2-3 weeks is a minimum requirement for GD students, which I love, being myself a two time host of year-long foreign exchange students on Rotary Youth Exchange.  

The presentation here is informative, but largely mechanical in its articulating of program details.   The diploma is awarded for the accumulation of points which students can earn in a wide variety of ways.     The program culminates in a good-quality project.     It would seem to me that this approach would be a nice way to elevate the prominence of a globalism curriculum at a school which already features discrete global elements but is looking for a better way to unify those discrete units into something larger than the sum of the parts.   It is not clear yet, and this is a new and pioneering program which doesn’t need to have all the answers yet, what the broader and longer term significance is for students earning this global studies “diploma.” 

Our speaker is asked about issues and tensions, and the speaker apologizes for leaving that slide out.  I do think that that should be a required element for every presentation: after telling us your program details and strengths, you must identify 3-5 problems, issues, tensions, questions you are wrestling with.  

Another question is about how tertiary programs view the diploma, and this seems a critical topic that deserved more attention than it gets here.