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Thursday, October 5, 2023

Academics & Research

Honors College to launch Global Engagement and Research minor this fall

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

The Honors College is launching the Global Engagement and Research minor, which will focus on global awareness, in Fall 2020.

Though the minor has not yet begun enrolling students, director Jonathan Williamson emphasizes that it will be relevant to students of any and all majors. He expects that many students will be interested in it.

This minor will replace the Global Studies Certificate Program, which was jointly sponsored by the Honors College and the Bauer College of Business.

The minor states that in order to develop true global awareness, students need to “build on what they learn in the classroom through meaningful engagement with the communities they seek to understand,” according to the Honors College coursebook.

Rather than emphasizing the international aspect of the word “global“, faculty who developed this course of study chose to instead focus on what involves Houston and its relationship to the local region, nation and the world.

Global Engagement and Research students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in the 15 hours of coursework. Required courses are HON 3360H/ANTH 3365: Principles and Practices of Global Engagement and HON 3361H: Global Engagement and Research.

HON 3360H/ANTH 3365 “emphasizes principles of critical reflection, cultural awareness, personal accountability and ethical engagement that serve to enhance learning experiences in the context of local, national and international communities,” Williamson said.

Meanwhile, HON 3361H is more research-oriented and will lead students to examine the strengths and limitations of various research methodologies. Each student will gain hands-on research experience through a faculty-mentored, individual research project.

To bring the total number of credit hours up to 15, students can choose from a list of approved courses that currently includes GENB 4334: Principles of Microfinance and BIOL 4302H: Galapago! Research-based Learning Abroad, along with several others.

Required learning excursions for the minor fall into three categories: local, national and international. To complete the minor, students must document three approved experiential learning excursions from at least two of the categories.

Once the pandemic no longer limits travel possibilities, a Global Engagement and Research student might study abroad with faculty in Egypt or Greece, study away in Washington, D.C., or northern California and learn through service in projects like the Bonner Leaders Program or the Community Health Worker Initiative, Williamson said.

With the current COVID-19 restrictions, Williamson said he and other faculty in the minor have been brainstorming virtual opportunities to continue engagement. Even after travel restrictions have been lifted, they will look to maintain these opportunities in order to enrich student experiences.

“Understanding of one’s place in the global context is important to nearly every profession in the modern world,” Williamson said.

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