Cultivating Global Competencies in the BMCC Classroom: A BMCC Strategic Steering Committee on Globalization Initiative

Cynthia Wiseman, Developmental Skills


In spring 2014 the BMCC Strategic Steering Committee on Globalization launched an initiative for faculty to develop pedagogical practices that support the development of global competencies with a four-day workshop, “Cultivating Global Competencies in the BMCC Classroom,” held on May 23, 27, 28, and 29. NYU faculty from the Tisch School of the Arts, the Faculty of Arts and Science, the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and Global Liberal Studies conducted the workshop.


Global Mission


The mission of the initiative is to support the integration of global competencies into all departments in order to foster an understanding of global citizenship and to develop global competencies among both faculty and students. Students in courses enhanced with a focus on global competencies will gain a much richer knowledge base and appreciation for global issues and a capacity to act with that knowledge in their lives and careers.   Training in global studies pedagogy will provide faculty with resources to bring new knowledge and a global perspective into their classes.


To this end, a select group of BMCC faculty from across disciplines engaged with NYU colleagues to rethink assignments in existing courses. Participants from BMCC were Anne Marie Basic, Business; Trisha Brady, English; Tzu-Wen Cheng, Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts; Page Delano, English; Alex D’Erizans, Social Sciences and Human Services; Sarah Havilland, Music and Art; Eva Kolbusz-Kijne, Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts; Phyllis Niles, Library; Michael Partis, Ethnic Studies; Yuliya Schneyderman, Health Education; Kelly Secovnie, English; Daphnie Sicre, Speech, Communications, and Theatre Arts; Amy Sodaro, Social Sciences and Human Services; and Cynthia Wiseman, Developmental Skills.


The group considered such questions as how to shape assignments to address new interests with respect to global studies, how to capitalize on BMCC’s diversity of faculty and students, and common themes in our ongoing teaching and scholarship. 


Conversations with Colleagues from NYU


Dr. Allen M. McFarlane, Assistant Vice President of Outreach and Engagement at NYU, kicked off the seminar with an examination of NYU’s local commitments and global connections, particularly with regard to their international student body. Dr. McFarlane provided an overview of the historical contexts that have shaped the narrative of black identity at NYU, a framework that can also serve in the development of identity in today’s University of diverse populations.


“Imagining the Global Citizen:  Outsiders and Insiders” was the title of the session conducted by Prof. Deborah Willis, Chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at Tisch. Prof. Willis combined historical, contemporary, and theoretical approaches to explain how images are constructed through media, advertising, war and disaster, beauty, and popular culture.


Prof. Rene Arcilla, Associate Professor of Educational Philosophy at Steinhardt, explored the impact of the recognition of cultural diversity in a liberal education. Jennifer Morgan, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History, questioned the role of the archive in documenting the narratives of peoples and subjects whose voices have not been adequately represented or documented throughout history. 


How can instructors build bridges for students to make the connections and create meaningful narratives? This was the focus of the session led by Jane Tylus, Professor of Italian Studies and Comparative Literature, and Faculty Director of the Humanities Initiative. 


With Associate Professor J. Martin Daughtry, Music, participants contemplated voice from cross-cultural perspectives, looking at the many dimensions of voice, for example, as a complex physiological process, to voice being a master metaphor for self, truth, presence, and agency. 


Assistant Dean Robert Squillace and Prof. Peter Diamond, Global Liberal Studies Program, provided insights into the creation of course strategies, syllabi, and assignments for global competencies. They facilitated a discussion of how BMCC participants might begin rethinking their courses in light of the discussions, readings, and models presented.


The Next Phase


BMCC participants in the four-day workshop now face the challenge of enhancing assignments in a selected course to develop four core global competencies: Cultural Understanding, Responsible Citizenship, Effective Communication, and Integrated Reasoning. Participating faculty will revise existing assignments to provide for the development of these global competencies and implement those assignments in the coming academic year.