Global studies certificate looks to introduce students to global community

DegreesA new program at the University of Saskatchewan will allow students to attach a certificate in global studies to any degree.

The certificate in global studies — administered by the department of political studies — is aimed at introducing students to the increasingly globalized world. The program is also part of the university’s effort to become a “more international” institution.

“Our university is becoming increasingly internationalized as a result of the attraction of international students and I think there was a sense that we have the responsibility to ensure that our own students understand the international realities and cultures and values and the developments that are happening around the world,” said Joe Garcea, a professor in the department of political studies.

The program has three required courses in international studies, including a non-credit requisite called Global Experiential and Cultural Learning which can be fulfilled by either a 60-hour internship with an organization in Saskatoon dedicated to international issues or through previous experience in a study abroad program.

Students will also be required to take three credit units in a language or demonstrate competency in a language other than English. Garcea said the political studies department is still deciding the exact protocol for determining language competency but added they are hoping to work with the Language Center in the future.

The final requirement for the certificate says that students must complete nine credit units from four clusters of courses ranging from languages to area and sectoral studies. The clusters are made up of courses from a variety of disciplines including history, nutrition, drama and law. These credits can be taken as part of another degree program.

Garcea said that in designing the program, they hoped to create something accessible to students across the university.

“We essentially have three core courses that students have to do regardless of what their background or degree programs are, but we’re also willing to recognize a whole range of courses related to globalization and global citizenship,” Garcea said. “The objective was to produce something that wasn’t for one type of student in one college; this was designed as a program to be accessible by any type of student in any college.”

The department of political studies wanted to ensure the certificate program would not create too much of a burden on students who are already focused on their degree program.

“We also didn’t want to make the global studies certificate unduly cumbersome so students couldn’t do it in conjunction with one of their degree programs. We tried to keep the core requirements to a minimum to allow them to get credit from courses from within their degrees with an international dimension,” Garcea said.

The program began in September 2013 after the department consulted with colleges and departments to gain their support.

“I think the university and other departments are very positive about it,” Garcea said. “Everybody understands and values the fact that internationalization is a central mission of the university and that we’re looking at all kinds of ways to increase the internationalization of the” U of S.

Another focus of the certificate in global studies program is attracting international students. Garcea said he hopes that the program will give international students an even broader perspective on the world as a whole.

The intent of the program is to bring Canadian and international students together to share their perspectives on the broader world and to foster a sense of community.

“I think one objective was to understand that as much as the international students can learn from Canadian students, Canadian students can also learn from international students,” Garcea said.

Students wishing to pursue a certificate in global studies can contact the undergraduate office in their college or department as the department of political studies is still having some problems with registration. Anyone looking for more information can contact Joe Garcea directly at joe.garcea@usask.ca or find further details on the U of S online course catalogue.


Graphic: Mike Tremblay