Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education, Vol 2, No 1 (2012)

Global Citizenship Education (GCE) in Post-Secondary Institutions: What is protected and what is hidden under the umbrella of GCE?

Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education
Volume 2 Number 1 (Special Edition) 2012

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Global Citizenship Education (GCE) in
Post-Secondary Institutions: What is Protected and what is Hidden under the Umbrella of GCE?

Shelane Jorgenson

PhD Candidate, Department of Educational Policy Studies
University of Alberta

Lynette Shultz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor & Co-Director
Centre for Global Citizenship Education & Research
University of Alberta

Keywords: Global Citizenship; Internationalization; Higher Education

ABSTRACT: In this article, we examine how educating for global citizenship has increasingly become a shared goal of educators and educational institutions interested in expanding their own and their students' understanding of what it means to claim or to have global citizenship in the twenty-first century. While this trend may be considered a uniform response to urgent global issues and contexts, through document analysis of various policies and programs of Global Citizenship Education (GCE) in North America, it is evident that global citizenship is far from a uniform idea and, in fact, is a much contested term. There is a general consensus, however, that higher education institutions have a role to play in preparing citizens who are informed and able to participate in our complex globalized and globalizing world. Post-secondary institutions join other social institutions in working toward understanding their role in addressing social, economic, and political issues of our times. As global citizenship educators grapple with and respond to the global unevenness of internationalization, the legacies of colonialism, and ideologies that support a system that benefits the few at the expense of the many, educators look to global citizenship education efforts to open educational spaces for working for a more just and peaceful world.


Educating for global citizenship has increasingly become a shared goal of educators and educational institutions interested in expanding their own and their students' understanding of what it means to claim or to have citizenship in the twenty-first century. Efforts toward this shared goal are complicated by the multitude of definitions and conceptualizations that suggest very different policy and program orientations, many in significant tension with one another, even as they share goals to create educational institutions that remain relevant to students as they find their place within a globalized world. As Chris Shiel (2008) states, it is simpler to focus on the institutional responses to economic and competitive aspects of globalization than to address the justice issues before us. However, universities, along with other institutions and organizations, are beginning to make explicit their commitments to accept the pivotal role for higher education in addressing current and emergent global problems. Global citizenship education (GCE) has been suggested as a way in which universities can respond to the demand for opportunities to engage in relevant, meaningful activities that enhance students' global perspectives and help them to contribute to a more peaceful, environmentally secure, and just world.

In this scoping study, we endeavour to survey the landscape of conceptualizations and practices of global citizenship education in North America and the UK by attending to what is included and excluded, protected and hidden in programs of GCE. We take as a starting point that global citizenship education is distinguishable from programs for the internationalization of higher education given its combination of global perspectives linked to citizenship. Internationalized education has become a key means to promote a globalized and corporatized education linked to what is called the "knowledge economy", a reference to the drive to use a globalized economic model to organize research and teaching. Global citizenship, while certainly drawn into the realm of internationalization agendas, tends to direct education efforts toward other educational and institutional goals. To sort through the complexity of global citizenship discourses, we draw on program descriptions and case studies to map out the various discourses of global citizenship and differentiate various conceptualizations and practices (Andreotti, 2006; Andreotti & De Souza, 2012; Jefferess, 2008; Noddings, 2005; Shultz, 2007; 2011). The literature used in this study speaks to the controversy of how to define something that has become both an empty signifier and an overflowing container of discourse, practice, and policy. Lewin (2009) describes this condition well:

Currently the concept of global citizenship is heard throughout the administrative and faculty halls of college and universities… appear[ing] in mission statements; task forces have been created on how to implement it. And yet, everyone seems to be in such a rush to create global citizens out of their students that we seem to have forgotten even to determine what we are even trying to create. Perhaps we avoid definitions not because of our rush to action, but out of fear of what we may find. (p. xviii)

Scanning various higher educational institution websites and materials for "global citizenship" in mission statements, policies and programming, we have observed an ever expanding discourse and associated practices claiming to educate and prepare post-secondary students for global citizenship. Given the wide range of intentions that this discourse may convey, it is important to clarify what is meant by the use of "global citizenship" and what are the philosophical, pedagogical, and practical issues associated with educating students to become global citizens.

GCE and Global Citizenship as a Graduate Attribute

While education for global citizenship is often listed as a goal for university education, being a global citizen is correspondingly noted as a graduate attribute that is meant to contribute to framing the purpose of universities. According to Hughes & Barrie (2010), graduate attributes are "an articulation of the core learning outcomes of a university education" (p. 325). As a result of globalization and internationalization pressures for global harmonization of higher education policies and programs, increased attention is being paid to global and/or international attributes and competencies at universities throughout the world. Claiming global citizenship as a graduate attribute raises questions about what kind of education might succeed in educating a person for such a role. Hughes & Barrie (2010) argue that learning, which results in the development of attributions, such as citizenship, takes place over long periods of time (for example, the whole time of undergraduate or graduate study) and therefore requires connecting learning beyond particular courses, programs, and even disciplines. Such transdisciplinary higher education is key to preparing citizens to address the complex global issues and interconnectedness of life in our highly globalized world (Horlick-Jones & Sime, 2004; Klein, 2004; Gibbons et al., 1994). This complexity of globally interconnected problems is being recognized as an emergent phenomenon with non-linear dynamics and uncertainties that exist within highly political social contexts (Klein, 2004; Max–Neef, 2005; Gibbons et al., 1994). Max-Neef (2005) suggests universities view discipline and transdiscipline as complementary with transdisciplinarity resting on a coordination of empirical, pragmatic, and normative research and constituted by explicit values, ethics and philosophical positions that extend beyond disciplinarity. He is adamant that while transdisciplinary approaches at the university level are challenging, it is urgent that we engage this level of work. "It is clear that if such an effort is not undertaken, we will continue generating ever greater harms to Society and to Nature, because of our partial, fragmented, and limited visions and assumptions" (Max-Neef, 2005, p. 16). Baxi (2000), in a call for transdisciplinarity, links an urgency for human rights and citizenship accountability with new modes of knowledge, discourse, and education institutional frameworks. Baxi (2000), Abdi (2006), Klein (2004), Abdi & Shultz (2007; 2008) provide strong evidence that citizenship education can become neutralized and therefore weakened to the extent that it becomes not what people (individual and collectively) have a right to, but what is prescribed within the realm of the world system. Any project of global citizenship education must include a commitment to creating engaged civic and institutional platforms that are widely inclusive and include both structural and social-historical-cultural analysis. This is why global citizenship education holds both promise and perils, and why educators and institutional policymakers must understand what goals and implications of GCE actually mean for the students they are educating and for the society within which these students live and will build their post-university lives.

Rhoads & Szelényi (2011) seek to understand global citizenship through a typology framed in two axes with one ranging from individualist to collectivist understandings of social life and the other ranging from locally informed to globally informed world views (p. 26-28).

The key to constituting various thoughts and actions as manifestations of global citizenship is reflected by the degree to which they are grounded in global understandings (versus being limited to only local understandings) and whether such thoughts and actions seek to serve broader collective concerns (versus being individualist in nature). (p. 26)

This can be compared to the typology presented by Shultz (2011) that focuses on the contribution that universities make to creating and defining public spaces for citizenship claims and actions within a world where the benefits and burdens of globalization are certainly unevenly distributed. Drawing on work at the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research and the Global Citizenship Curriculum Development Project at the University of Alberta, this typology was developed from mapping one university's courses and programs of global citizenship education according to how they consider social, political, and economic relations; issues of intercultural relations and differences and elements of global social justice such as distribution, identity and recognition, and representation (p. 13-15). As Abdi and Shultz (2007; 2008; 2011) propose, any understanding of citizenship should bring with it a concern with entitlements, exclusion, access, and equity. Therefore, educating for global citizenship can have its roots in the concept of justice when attention is paid to the equitable redistribution of both benefits and burdens within society, engaging in processes of reciprocal recognition, and the extension of authentic and inclusive processes of engagement. Linking global citizenship with social justice ensures that the collective projects and practices to which we give our assent do not, intentionally or unintentionally, secure a better life for some at the expense of others (Dower, 2008; 2003; 2000).

Drawing on postcolonial theories and perspectives to interrogate the frames for GCE, Andreotti and De Souza (2012) argue for global citizenship education that is "Otherwise" (p. 1). Postcolonial theories contribute to the analysis of global structures and ethnocentrisms that work to create and/or perpetuate global inequalities. Andreotti & De Souza argue for a typology of postcolonial GCE that will move education toward "situated and dynamic pluriversalities" (p. 3), which includes and represents the majority voices of those that end up positioned as outside or peripheral to dominant Western models of knowledge, social and cultural relations, development, and ways of organizing society. They highlight how postcolonial GCE can provide critical and responsible genealogies of the production and effects of unequal relations of power and privilege (p. 3).

What these three typologies highlight is the need for educators and their institutions to articulate the intentions and expectations of GCE within their locations of power and interest while maintaining an ongoing search for just relations that engage with difference in our globalized world. As Sahlberg (2006) points out, globalization has increased economic competition within and between countries, and the level of economic competition is viewed as the prime indicator of a country's wellbeing. Education premised upon this aspect of globalization has a purpose of creating more economically competitive citizens who are advantaged because of particular knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Scholarly work in this area often refers to education as a core domain for building human capital (Sahlberg, 2006). The definition of a global citizen, within this construct, is a person who participates and reaps the benefits of this participation in a "borderless world". Because this individual has the human capital to move freely across the world to access opportunities, he or she is able to compete with the "best" in the world. Education for this type of citizen provides students with the necessary skills to successfully participate in the global market. As well, such education projects provide and market opportunities for international travel and cross-cultural experiences that provide a basic knowledge of the world. In the increasingly interconnected and competitive global market, a descriptive knowledge about the world is viewed as highly beneficial to the individuals. As a result, education for global citizenship as a preparation for participation in the global market economy is encouraged to the extent that specific competencies such as knowledge about other countries and languages foster a kind of border-free mobility seen to enhance individual (economic) success in the world.

The emphasis on economic capacity as the major motivation for education for GCE is well critiqued by academics and practitioners (see for example, Abdi & Shultz, 2011; Giroux, 2004; Pashby, 2012). Criticisms of the lack of analysis of global issues, uncritical approaches to social and political structures, failure to critically reflect on one's position relative to the rest of the world appear in several articles that articulate a vision of what education for global citizenship should and should not uphold (see also, Andreotti & de Souza, 2012). Without critical analysis and reflection, the critics of competitive citizenry claim, the perpetuation of inequality will not be addressed, but rather seen as a legitimate impact and necessity of economic advancement and advantage. Given these tensions, it would seem important to find ways to bring global perspectives and multiple worldviews into policies and programs in post-secondary institutions.

Post-secondary Global Citizenship Education: Current Programs and Practices

We now turn our attention to how these conceptualizations of global citizenship are reflected in policies and practices across post-secondary institutions in North America. Searching the online presence of higher educational institutions for the keyword "global citizenship" during annual literature reviews between 2007 and 2011, we have observed an increase in programs claiming to educate students to become global citizens, predominantly in North America, England and Australia. While cognizant of the narrowness of our largely web-based search for the English phrasing "global citizen" in colleges and universities, our findings provide an entry into discussing some trends in North America and the UK concerning the growing spectrum and scope of associated policies and practices amongst post-secondary institutions. Underlying this discussion are questions and concerns related to for what and for whom is global citizenship being undertaken? Attention is thus drawn to who and what is being included and excluded in the conceptualizations, policies, and practices of global citizenship in higher education.

The Role of Leadership and Policy

Policies and programs of internationalization at post-secondary institutions have greatly contributed to an increased focus on international issues and global citizenship. According to Shiel (2008), post-secondary institutions are using internationalization as a "strategic aim" to foster and develop active global citizenship amongst students and staff. In spite of the many efforts to create programs to achieve this aim, many programs and courses fail to be implemented or are discontinued if institutional commitment from senior administration is not intact. Through the experiences of several senior managers and policy analysts presented in a document entitled "The Global University: the role of senior managers", it is made clear that change towards internationalization and fostering global citizenship education in post-secondary institutions depends on strategic commitment from all levels of governance.

The Corporate model of universities (Mignolo, 2003), initiated in the neoliberal era of the 1980s, provoked a shift in the purpose and programming of post-secondary education towards fulfilling economic needs and purposes of the knowledge economy. The repercussions of this transition, Smith (2010) observes, was that universities became an industry and site for the production of knowledge, subject to market forces:

Because market logic is structured on a foundation of human competitiveness, education became articulated as the task of preparing students, defined as 'human capital,' for 'global competitiveness.' Schools and universities became subject to global ranking measures, with those 'falling behind' subject to threat of state-funding. (p. 3)

Through this lens, the surge in global citizenship education programs can be seen as a marketing tool to attract students looking for attributes to make them competitive in the global workforce. Research (Nam, 2011; Brustein, 2007; Deardorff, 2006; Gacel-Avila, 2005) has been conducted to validate these claims, citing global citizenship as an institutional response to the demand for globally competent workers for which the lack of cross-culturally trained employees "costs American companies about $2 billion dollars in losses annually" (Brustein, 2007, p. 384). In this research, GCE programs can be seen to provide institutions with an element of prestige and therefore attract students and funding. Luker (2008), however, is adamant that universities must "acknowledge the damage of colonialism and commercialization of higher education" (p. 10) and calls for universities to move away from global citizenship programming based on financial self-interest and critically reflect on the reproduction of center-periphery relationships that reinscribe inequities and lack of reciprocity.

In describing the global citizenship program at Roehampton University, in London, UK, senior administrators Broadbent and Woodman (2008) discuss the importance of fostering a sense of global citizenship through a combination of formal and non-formal education. A teaching and learning centre called the Crucible has been instrumental in coordinating a diverse education program that combines human rights, social justice, and citizenship education. Additionally, a cross-faculty citizenship education course with strong links to community partners has also contributed to students, who, in their perspective, are highly engaged global citizens. To achieve this kind of transdisciplinary education, Broadbent and Woodman conclude that it is necessary to embed global citizenship education in the usual workings of the university through policy and programming. Particularly, integrating global citizenship into existing curriculum helps to ensure its continuity for years to come.

Implementation of GCE to ensure its sustainability is an important aspect of higher education policy. Petford and Shiel (2008) suggest that successful implementation requires linking GCE programs to the strategic vision of the institution. One of the most crucial roles of leaders is to articulate this vision and ensure that it corresponds to the institution's general vision and ethos (Jones & Lee, 2008). The authors recount their personal endeavors to create a Centre for Global Perspectives at Bournemouth University in the UK. Linking vision statements to academic initiatives is important in terms of garnering support from various levels of management. These authors warn, "without persistent support from leadership to bring the agenda into a 'coherent whole,' the initiative would have floundered on several occasions" (p. 24). The sustainability of programs of global citizenship is thus contingent on the connection to key statements in institutional mission and vision documents. To further illustrate this point, John Mallea (2008), Past President and Vice Chancellor of Brandon University, presents nine management lessons learned from work at the University of British Columbia to establish global citizenship as an institutional goal:

  1. There is a crucial need for an institution to act, and also be seen to be acting, as a responsible global citizen in areas such as purchasing and investment.
  2. A university's intellectual, moral and social mission in developing global citizenship needs to be translated into concrete and sustainable policy and practice.
  3. The goal of global citizenship is embedded within each of the university's core functions: teaching, research, and service.
  4. The significance of employing communication, consultation, and dissemination processes (both internally and externally) that are demonstrably inclusive and transparent.
  5. It is fundamentally important to establish an appropriate balance between centralized and decentralized initiatives.
  6. There is a need to allocate sufficient and sustainable resources to support the implementation of these initiatives.
  7. Universities need to introduce annual assessment processes to determine whether or not specified targets and timelines are in fact being met.
  8. Emphasis must be placed on the creation of an incentive and reward structure that encourages and recognizes successful performance.
  9. Senior university administrators must recognize that the preparation of global citizens is an ongoing process not an end state.

In addition to these policy statements that cite educating students for global citizenship as a goal or purpose of higher education, Mallea argues that these words must be put into practice and supported on a number of levels, including sustained focus and funding, transparency, ethical and moral commitment to the endeavor. The question of how to balance the bureaucratic funding and administrative structures with the more equitable vision that GCE programs seek, creates a growing tension for educators and administrators alike.

Programs of Global Citizenship in Post-secondary Institutions

In scanning various programs of global citizenship education at post-secondary institutions, several trends emerge. One of the most obvious is that despite the common goal to educate students for global citizenship, no two programs of GCE are the same. While there is considerable overlap in the kinds of globally-focused activities that institutions are engaged in, all of the initiatives are unique in their mixture of policy and practice. What follows are brief exemplars of different GCE programs in North American and UK post-secondary institutions. These exemplars represent thematic clusters in the research.

National Initiatives

In the past decade, the United States has been a forerunner in developing large-scale GCE policy and programming in higher education. Much of this work has been undertaken by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) under their Shared Futures: Global Learning and Social Responsibility initiative. With over 1,200 member institutions of higher education, the AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. In 2002, with funding from the federal Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education, the AAC&U initiated the three-year initiative Liberal Education and Global Citizenship: The Arts of Democracy, which set out to enhance global education and prepare future college graduates "to become more informed, socially responsible and engaged citizens of the nation and the world" (AAC&U). The project funded ten participating American post-secondary institutions in an effort to modify programs and create new opportunities for GCE for their students. These program proposals were required to meet the project's four objectives:

  1. Generating new knowledge about global studies
  2. Enhancing civic engagement and social responsibility
  3. Promoting a deeper knowledge and debate about the practice of democracy
  4. Cultivating intercultural competencies with faculty and students

As part of the implementation process, participating faculty and administrative teams attended a four-day faculty institute, an online faculty development seminar, and working forums to facilitate the creation of their programs. While there were common goals and expectations, there were no centralized enforcement procedures and each institution was left to allocate funding towards projects and programs of their own choice.

Resulting from this initiative were ten different projects and programs of varying complexity and depth of GCE instituted across the United States. Upon review of their projects on the various institution's websites, it is not apparent that all have been sustained, but the ones presently updated present a diversity of practices, ranging from the introduction of a new global citizenship education certificate program at the University of Delaware, which is a multi-threaded curriculum that integrates three "global citizen tracks" comprised of courses, study abroad, co-curricular experiences, and a capping project that would credit students with a global citizenship certificate at their graduation, to more integrated initiatives such as Beloit College's curriculum development to embed global citizenship education into the curriculum of various courses. The projects and programs (which can be reviewed at from each of the participating colleges provide a good overview of how GCE has manifested in higher education. A closer look at some of the types of programs will now be undertaken in light of four themes: institutional commitments, study and service learning abroad, certificates and courses.

Institutional Commitment: Visions, Missions and Academic Plans

In the past decade, a number of post-secondary institutions have revised their institutional statements including vision and mission statements as well as academic and strategic plans to include reference to the importance of educating for global citizenship. For instance, the University College of London (UCL), prided as London's "Global University," has recently declared that its primary aim is to "educate for global citizenship" (UCL, 2008). This statement has unleashed a wave of newly instituted global citizenship programming and re-branding throughout the institution. For instance, a number of courses have been developed attaching "Global Citizenship" to various disciplines, for example "Science and Global Citizenship." Many of these courses constitute the core requisites of the UCL Global Citizenship Abroad Programme. Through this initiative, the UCL website claims to create university graduates who are: critical and creative thinkers, ambitious, idealistic, ethical, aware of the intellectual and social value of cultural difference, innovative entrepreneurs, and leaders, who are also highly employable and ready to embrace professional mobility (UCL). In response to this mandate, members of the academic staff are encouraged to re-examine their curricula to identify ways in which departments can incorporate a focus on global issues and global thinking in the classroom.

Similarly at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada, global citizenship has been introduced into the policy and practice of the institution. Over the course of her tenure as President of UBC, Martha Piper stated in several documents the importance of UBC to educate for global citizenship. In Trek 2010, the University's academic plan (2005), she proclaimed:

The University of British Columbia, aspiring to be one of the world's best universities, will prepare students to become exceptional global citizens, promote the values of a civil and sustainable society, and conduct outstanding research to serve the people of British Columbia, Canada, and the world. (Piper, 2005)

This statement gestured towards not only an institutional commitment to global citizenship, but it was also the catalyst for investigating the meaning of global citizenship and its best practices. Throughout 2003-04, discussion groups were held across campus to get student and faculty input into people's conceptions and understandings of global citizenship and incorporated their feedback into the University's strategic plan. This project instigated and coincided with several other cross-campus initiatives that aimed to foster global citizenship amongst students. For example, a Global Citizenship Seminar Series was created to educate the UBC community through various lectures and the showcasing of proactive members of the global community. Programs such as the Global Student Speakers' Bureau, a global citizenship brown bag series, and a distance-learning course, Perspectives on Global Citizenship, were also developed as an offshoot of the Global Citizenship Project completed in 2004. Correspondingly, in UBC's satellite campuses such as UBC Okanagan in Kelowna, BC, global citizenship is embedded in the academic plan and a number of programs such as Project Grow and Go Global, which have enacted "the global citizenship ethic" (Jefferess, 2008) that the policy espouses.

A third exemplar of institutional commitment to global citizenship education in post-secondary education is Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU). As the largest private university in New Jersey, it has satellite campuses in Wroxton, England and Vancouver, Canada. Drawing on this international breadth, FDU has endeavored to uphold and emphasize global citizenship at both an institutional and program level. Since 2000, global citizenship has been cited as a mission of the institution:

Fairleigh Dickinson University is a center of academic excellence dedicated to the preparation of world citizens through global education. The University strives to provide students with the multidisciplinary, intercultural and ethical understandings necessary to participate, lead and prosper in the global marketplace of ideas, commerce and culture. (Fairleigh Dickinson University, 2008)

The mission engendered five goals to frame and integrate global education into existing curriculum and graduate students with a strong sense of the ethical implications of globalization. In effect, the goals have prioritised GCE throughout FDU and facilitated the implementation of a number of programs such as the United Nations Pathways, Global Virtual Faculty, Global Scholars and a Global Issues Gateway website.

International Focused Global Citizenship Programs

The most commonly cited and advertised form of GCE in post-secondary institutions is education abroad programs. While these programs are not new initiatives to campuses, the framing of these programs as "global citizenship education" is a recent trend. Internationally based global citizenship programs represent a myriad of practices that range from typical one or two semester exchanges at another institution, to small group immersions into another culture. The small group emersions range anywhere from one week travel excursions, such as the one offered by Acadia University, which sends students to Ghana for their spring break, to more in-depth service learning programs that combine volunteering and study in a community for multiple months.

One such example is a course at the University of Alberta (U of A), Canada, entitled EDFX 490: Global Citizenship Field Experience in Ghana, which was initiated in 2007 as a way to broaden pre-service teachers' horizons and educational experience by living and volunteering in Ghana for one month. The course was designed "to provide a bridge between the theory and practice of global citizenship education" (Richardson, De Fabrizio, Ansu-Kyeremeh, 2011, p. 99). Following a one or two week orientation in Edmonton, the students travel to Ghana for four weeks where they engage in seminars, workshops, open dialogues as well as a formal teaching component of classroom observation and assistance in schools in the capital city, Accra and in Atwima Apemanim, a small village in central Ghana. According to the program leaders, the course aims "to go beyond enriching participants' undergraduate student experiences by engendering transformative practice in their personal and professional lives" (Richardson, De Fabrizio & Ansu-Kyeremeh, 2011, p. 100).

Experiential learning, in the forms of community service learning and cross-cultural exchanges, are featured consistently in the literature as a way to develop global citizenship. Davies (2006) suggests "if pupils are to be educated in and for global citizenship this suggests that they should experience democracy and human rights in their daily lives at school – and not just be told about it" (p. 16). At James Madison University in Virginia, USA, a course entitled Global Citizenship in a Service-Learning Context in Dominican Republic was developed to give students the opportunity to engage in one or two intensive service-learning projects over a four-week period in the Dominican Republic. The course seeks to address definitions and issues of global citizenship, development and service through the use of service-learning (James Madison University, 2007). Working with both American and Dominican professionals, students experience and learn about contemporary social, political, cultural and economic conditions within the Dominican Republic through structured outings, cultural events, guest speakers, course readings and assignments. Also through ongoing structured reflection exercises, students are led to discover, articulate, integrate and act on what they learn from their experiences.

GCE programs have also emerged through partnerships with non-governmental organizations, development and social justice focused organizations, and with other academic institutions. The University of Guelph offers a Guelph Global Learner Program, which was developed through a partnership with Canada World Youth to provide international volunteer and learner programs for students during the spring semesters. Through various volunteer placements in countries such as Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Botswana and Benin, students earn academic credit towards their program of study. As part of the requirement for academic credit, students organize campus activities upon their return to Guelph. These activities, coordinated by the Global Learners, framed as "Global Citizenship activities," aim to promote international understanding on campus. The program coordinators believe that the Global Learners Program "is an opportunity for students to apply their theoretical knowledge in an international context and to increase global citizenship across campus" (Guelph University, 2008).

The development of global citizens through experiential learning and studying abroad has increasingly become a priority of higher education (Lewin, 2009). Writers (Stearns, 2009; Chieffo & Griffiths, 2009; Williams, 2006) suggest that important knowledge skills and attitudes are gained through these experiences such as cultural awareness, adaptability, and flexibility which are also "essential for the contemporary global economy" and "fundamental to competitiveness in the global marketplace and to national security alike" (Stearns, 2009, p. 68). These rationales are reflected in many of the institutional policy statements, such as FDU's mission statement that educating for global citizenship is important in helping students to "lead and prosper in the global marketplace of ideas, commerce and culture," and UCL's statement that global citizenship is important for "entrepreneurship" and "professional mobility." It is thus not surprising that study abroad programs in the United States have increased from 65% of campuses in 2000 to 91% in 2006 (Stearns, 2009, p. 65). The branding of these activities as global citizenship education, however, is a contested topic that needs serious consideration. As Lewin (2009), the editor of a comprehensive compilation entitled, The Handbook of Practice and Research in Study Abroad: Higher education and the quest for global citizenship (2009) asserts, it is important to clarify what is meant by the use of global citizenship discourse and what are the philosophical, pedagogical, and practical issues associated with "creating" global citizens in higher educational institutions vis-à-vis study abroad.

While education abroad programs claiming to educate for global citizenship have gained prominence, they have been challenged by a number of studies and critical appraisals (Zemach-Bersin, 2007; Andreotti, 2011; Lapayese, 2003; Moffatt, 2006), which purport that many of the GCE programs that send students abroad require particular forms of economic, cultural, and social capital that preclude the majority of students from participating. In researching global citizenship and study abroad programs in the United States, Zemach-Bersin (2007) found that students of colour and lower socio-economic status were drastically underrepresented. Moffatt (2006) confirms this trend with data from Canadian university study abroad programs, stating that "...diversity encompasses a scant 10-15% of the ... demographic; the overwhelming majority of students in the program are White and female" (p. 217). Current research (Moffatt, 2006; Pluim & Jorgenson, forthcoming) suggests that the privileging of this demographic will continue to reproduce structures of dominance unless funding arrangements are changed and resources are allocated to level this playing field.

Despite criticism concerning the inequitable implications of short stints abroad, a growing body of literature supports this kind of programming as it widens access for more participation and instigates repeated study abroad participation (Chieffo & Griffiths, 2009), which is seen as a success of aims to internationalize the university. This poses a deep and widening tension in the field where administrators and educators want to create opportunities for students for international learning, but they risk reproducing the issues they intend to address, such as access and participation in programs because of high fees and time constraints, as well as host selection due to safety concerns and partnership policy.

Global Citizenship Certificates and Courses

The creation of global citizenship courses and certificates in global citizenship presents another way post-secondary institutions are formalizing and organizing GCE on their campuses. As discourse surrounding the knowledge economy becomes more closely tied to the functioning and purposes of higher education (Peters, 2007; Davidson-Harden, 2009), credentialing through certification of special knowledge, skills, and attributes (KSAs) has become more pronounced. Global competence and intercultural skills, for instance, are commonly cited as indicators of global citizenship learning. Hunter et al. (2006) conducted a study to assess whether or not university programs with global dimensions are producing globally competent students. Through interviews with managers of transnational corporations, international educators, UN officials, intercultural trainers and foreign government officers, they found that a globally competent person "must be able to identify cultural difference to compete globally, collaborate across cultures, and effectively participate in both social and business settings in other countries" (p. 283). The authors suggest that current "global citizen-global competence curriculum" should be reconsidered based on these findings and these identified KSAs should be implemented into university curriculum (p. 283). The discourse of competency and competition indicate the intensifying neoliberal climate in higher education. In policy and practice, GCE has emerged to challenge the economic foci and also, as the Hunter et al. (2006) research suggests, to reproduce it.

With respect to global citizenship certificates, many are developed within small institutions that have the administrative capacity to resource and track them. At Lehigh and Drake Universities, both small American liberal arts colleges, each institution has developed a global citizenship program, which offers students a cross-college, co-curricular certificate in Global Citizenship. At Lehigh, students are required to take two to three required courses per year and participate in at least one travel/study abroad experience. Similarly at Drake, through the successful completion of a variety of academic and co-curricular requirements, such as specific courses, language study, study abroad, service learning, and a capping paper, students receive a certificate in Global Citizenship which appears on the students' transcripts.

In larger institutions, the development of cross-disciplinary certification is less straightforward. At the University of Alberta (U of A), the Global Citizenship Curriculum Development project (, with its aim of facilitating the development of global citizenship curriculum across the campus of 19 faculties and nearly 40,000 undergraduate students, is currently in the process of developing an interdisciplinary and embedded global citizenship certificate open to all undergraduate students. Crossing and including various disciplines makes this certificate the first of its kind on the U of A campus. Currently, it is being envisioned as a nine-credit (equivalent of three courses) certificate. With the exception of one required interdisciplinary course (INTD 404), which surveys the theoretical and contextual landscape of global citizenship, students can take two optional courses from a list of complementary global citizenship courses already offered by various faculties and schools across the campus. In creating this certificate the project endeavours to facilitate the development of transdisciplinarity in its approach to global citizenship (GCCD).

An innovative interdisciplinary course at the University of British Columbia called Perspectives on Global Citizenship engages with global citizenship in the virtual world. As an online course comprised of twelve weekly modules, its aim is to "equip graduates with the knowledge and competencies which will enable them to work and participate as global citizens" ( The course was designed to complement a student's major and challenge them to consider the roles and responsibilities that each has within their political, social, cultural, and professional contexts. The course is offered to students from several of UBC's partner universities including Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Modules in the class cover a range of topics including global health, world trade, nationalisms, global inequality and injustice, climate change, amongst others. As one of the facilitators of the course, Swanson (2011) notes that the online discussion provides a transnational platform to invite and encounter the "dilemmas, ambiguities, and possibilities of global citizenship" (p. 130). This online space, argues Swanson, provides a "third' form(um) of/for pedagogy that resists the neoliberal agenda of internationalization and economic globalization, while working within and against it, both institutionally and structurally" (p. 130).

Finally, the incorporation of global citizenship in the programming for teacher education is another trend emerging from the literature (Andreotti 2006; Andreotti & de Sousa, 2012). In the Primary Education Program in the School of Education at Roehampton, UK, a Global Citizenship course was designed for pre-service teachers to explore different concepts of global citizenship and its place and value in the curriculum. Considering topics such as geographical aspects of development education, human rights education, multicultural education, citizenship education and education for sustainable development, the course aims to provide a context for students to examine their own knowledge, skill, values and attitudes, and those of others in relation to contentious issues such as rights and responsibilities, power, racism, diversity, and poverty. At Liverpool Hope University, UK, a model called "The Global Citizen and Education" was developed for second year Education Studies students. The module incorporates service-learning activities such as developing workshops for Year 8 pupils on Global Citizenship at a local public school. Issues covered by the Hope students include women's rights, values and perceptions, conflict resolution, poverty in the UK, fair-trade, children's rights, and sustainable development. Students then evaluate their approach to global citizenship and reflect on the impact of their workshop (

GCE as Internationalized Education

According to several reports and studies conducted by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), internationalization is of increasingly high importance in post-secondary education. In 1995, an AUCC study reported that 95% of respondents (senior administrators) ranked "to prepare graduates and scholars who are internationally knowledgeable and inter-culturally competent" (Knight, 1995, p. 4) as the most important reason for internationalization; and "student work/study abroad" was cited as "the most important element/dimension of internationalization of higher education" (Knight, 1995, p. 30). What can be gathered from this study is that an increased emphasis on sending students and faculty members abroad will develop international and intercultural knowledge, skills, and competencies, thus giving the university an internationalized dimension. Behind these motivations, however, are deeper rationales associated with investment in human capital for the global knowledge economy and workforce. As Brustein (2007) notes, it is imperative for universities to produce globally competent students who have:

the ability to work effectively in international settings; awareness of and adaptability to diverse cultures, perceptions, and approaches; familiarity with the major currents of global change and the issues they raise; and the capacity for effective communication across cultural and linguistic boundaries. (p. 383)

As students have begun to seek global competencies, institutions have become more competitive to attract students by offering such programs.

Knight (2004) confirms this observation by stating that traditional social, political, academic and economic rationales for internationalization have been increasingly influenced by institutions attempting to brand themselves and develop an international profile. She states that this shift is part of the race to "compete in a more competitive environment" (p. 24), attain a "competitive advantage" (p. 21), and "attract the brightest of scholars/students, a substantial number of international students, and, of course, high-profile research and training projects" (p. 26). At the institutional level, she identifies five key rationales: international profile and reputation, student and staff development, income generation, strategic alliances, and research/knowledge production (p. 26). The rationalities embedded within these motives correspond directly with the relationship between post-secondary institutions and the knowledge economy whereby the projects and programs that are developed and undertaken in the name of internationalization contribute to the penetration of market logic into higher education and production of global workers and citizens (Brustein, 2007).

It is within this neoliberal policy context of internationalization that global citizenship education programs are emerging, serving to both challenge and strengthen the economic currents in higher education. According to Sackmann (2007), internationalization as a "space of movement" where transaction and communication take place across borders (p. 166), represents the largest volume of the worldwide education market. Among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, the number of foreign students attending higher education institutions grew by 5.7% each year from 1980-1999 (p. 168), with the most significant international demand for short-term study abroad programs. While the physical mobility of students and faculty has long been a strong focus of internationalization of higher education, there is a reluctance to look at the limitations and issues of these activities. Kehm & Teichler (2007) argue that if internationalization at home cannot be realized, there will be a polarization of winners and losers on and off campus. Although experiential and international educational programs and activities are highly sought after by students and professors, only few will ever be able to participate as it requires capital of all forms -- economic, social, and cultural. To curb the competition for these opportunities and resulting have and have-nots, Kehm & Teichler alternatively suggest that universities strengthen and better integrate international learning in their daily activities of teaching, learning and research.

Another issue concerning mobility and international based programming is that the movement between the South and North is largely controlled by the North. Altbach & Knight (2007) argue that "who gets in" and "who gets the opportunity to travel" is based on a selection system of criteria fabricated by the global elites for the global elites. Looking at the cost of some of these programs as well as the differential fees made mandatory for international students to attend universities, this particular demographic seem to be the only players invited to participate in this international game. Empirical research has not only illuminated these trends, but also made deeper connections to the cultural, political and social implications. As a result of contradictory conceptions and enactments of global citizenship that emanate from various theoretical standpoints, Shultz (2007; 2011) warns that global citizenship educators must be conscious of the underlying assumptions that inform their practice so that their introduction to (and engagement with) global citizenship reflects what they intend to teach. For instance, "if citizens of the wealthiest nations learn that their role as global citizens is to compete in a global marketplace, then the structures of inequality that keep members of less wealthy countries marginalized will be perpetuated, if not strengthened" (p. 257). As post-secondary institutions move toward increased expectation and engagement internationally, it is important to take a critical and reflective approach to fully understand what this engagement is intended to accomplish, and what the intended and un-intended impacts of these increased relations within the already unevenly internationalized and globalized world might be.

While the trend of increasing focus on educating for global citizenship at post-secondary institutions may be considered a uniform response to urgent global issues and contexts, this study that reviews policies and programs of GCE suggests that global citizenship is far from a uniform idea and, in fact, is a much contested term. However, there is a general consensus that higher education institutions have a role to play in preparing citizens that are informed and able to participate in our complex globalized and globalizing world. Post-secondary institutions join other social institutions in working toward understanding their role in addressing social, economic, and political issues of our times. Global citizenship educators must grapple with and respond to the global unevenness of internationalization and globalization, the legacies of colonialism, and ideologies that would support a system that benefits the few at the expense of the many. Many educators are relying on global citizenship education efforts to open educational spaces for working towards a more just and peaceful world. This study of current GCE policies and practices identified overt claims for global citizenship along with practices that served many other goals of education that we understand to be in tension with inclusive citizenship in an unevenly globalized world. While GCE programs may claim to be working for justice and inclusion, these claims mask more competitive projects of internationalization and marketization at the foundation of the program.

In order for global citizenship education to achieve its social goals in post-secondary education, it is important to develop a broad approach that is founded not only on common understandings but strives to build on disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary (and even to find Max-Neef's radical and ethically located transdisciplinarity) programs that might generate a creative and emergent pedagogical space for transformed social realities in a globalized world. GCE can be a call to change the way things are done; to strive toward education at its best. Education that is based on postcolonial inquiry, critical thinking, and deep engagement that results in changes in learning, action, and both local and global social conditions. This education does not belong to any one faculty or discipline or to either formal or non-formal education but should be embedded within each in ways that extend and support the work of global citizenship education. This approach to education necessitates the building of relationships and knowledge networks that engage with differences, with both individual and social needs of society, and from local and global perspectives. It necessitates finding and naming what is under the umbrella of GCE to ascertain if what is hidden might be undermining what is overt in GCE efforts.


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