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Academic Courses

GSP students are required to take one 2-credit course in the Fall and another in the Winter.  Students meet once a week altogether and once a week in small Collaborative Groups (CG) of 7-9 students with two student leaders. The Fall and Winter courses focus on different aspects and approaches to critical global issues, and they also include training and practice in dialogue. We also pair each CG with one of GSP’s global NGO partners for experiential learning through an internship.

Students who want to return to GSP for a second year in a student leadership role also take a course together on Facilitating Global Engagement. Students who return for a third year in GSP are our Advisory Council students and take the GSP course Organizing for Global Justice. 

Please see the course descriptions for the GSP classes below.

Fall Semester - Defining Critical Global Issues

Course: Defining Critical Global Issues (ALA 210)

Instructional Team: GSP Director, GSP Global Engagement Coordinator, and GSP Curriculum Coordinator

Credits: 2

Prerequisite: Admission to the Global Scholars Program

Other course info: Students are required to participate in the weekly class meeting and in a weekly Collaborative Group meeting.

Notes: Students admitted to GSP will automatically be issued a course override to register after their housing contract has been confirmed. Please contact the GSP office with questions about adding the GSP courses to your schedule. Email globalscholars@umich.edu, call +1-734-764-3573, or visit us at 3145 North Quad.

Description: This is the Fall semester course required for all GSP students in their first year of the program. Although the course contents may change from year to year, unit themes have included human rights, peace, nationalism, and nuclear weapon abolition. Rather than quizzes and tests, assignments include short reflection papers on class lectures, experiences in Dialogue, building intentionality in the program, and the internship experience (in CG with a global NGO partner). This first semester focuses on defining critical global issues in comparative context and includes theory and case studies.

For the Collaborative Group (CG) component of the course, students meet weekly in groups of 7-9 students. Two student leaders peer-facilitate CG meetings and help to create a space where students can build supportive relationships, engage each other on equitable terms, and learn from each others’ knowledge, perspectives and lived experiences. Students also spend time in CG working on projects for an NGO partner as part of the Global Engagement Internship.

What students say about ALA210:

“Understanding different cultures and getting used to handling sensitive topics with different people and from different perspectives was one of the most valuable aspects of the class.” (Fall 2020)

“Learning how to take time to think about what to say and how I want to say it and really taking in the unique viewpoints and experiences that my peers bring -- that was really what this class was about. It made me feel very encouraged and connected.” (Fall 2020)“I liked how this class wasn't quiz or exam–based. It was graded on reflection papers and participation which made me genuinely interested in the course rather than have me stressed about memorizing certain things.” (Fall 2020)

Winter Semester - Addressing Critical Global Issues

Course: Addressing Critical Global Issues (ALA 211)

Instructional Team: GSP Director, GSP Global Engagement Coordinator, and GSP Curriculum Coordinator

Credits: 2

Prerequisite: Admission to the Global Scholars Program & completion of ALA210 for students entering GSP in the Fall semester

Other course info: Students are required to participate in the weekly class meeting and in a weekly Collaborative Group meeting.

Notes: Students admitted to GSP will automatically be issued a course override to register after their housing contract has been confirmed. Please contact the GSP office with questions about adding the GSP courses to your schedule. Email globalscholars@umich.edu, call +1-734-764-3573, or visit us at 3145 North Quad.

Description: This is the Winter semester course required for all GSP students in their first year of the program. Although the course contents may change from year to year, unit themes have included environmental justice, global economic justice, global public health, and social movements. Assignments include short reflection papers on class lectures, experiences in Dialogue, building intentionality in the program, and the internship experience (in CG with a global NGO partner). This course focuses on the ways that people -- and we! -- can effectively address critical global issues. In April, the semester culminates in GSP’s annual Global Engagement Symposium where each CG makes a poster presentation and conference-style presentation on their Global Engagement Internship.

For the Collaborative Group (CG) component of the course, students meet weekly in groups of 7-9 students. Two student leaders peer-facilitate CG meetings and help to create a supportive, relationship-building space where students can engage each other on equitable terms and learn from each others’ perspective and lived experiences. Students also spend time in CG working on projects for an NGO partner as part of the Global Engagement Internship.

What students say about ALA 211:
“I felt I really grew as a person throughout the year due to the incredible opportunities that ALA211 presented me with. The instructors’ enthusiasm and care for each student was evident, and they came prepared everyday. It was one of the best experiences I have had.” (Winter 2021)

“The class was life changing. The entire GSP experience was, overall life changing.” (Winter 2021)

“Whenever I talked in class, I felt like my opinion was valued and what I said was heard. I really appreciated that.” (Winter 2021) 

ALA 212: Facilitating Global Engagement

Instructor: GSP Associate Director

Credits: 1

Prerequisite: Completion of or current enrollment in ALA 211 and admission into the Global Scholars Program for a second academic year
Other course info: Students are required to attend a weekend-long, off-campus overnight retreat in late January. All costs are covered and meals are provided.

Notes: Students who have reached their maximum courseload and are unable to enroll in ALA 212 may explore alternative arrangements with the associate director.

Description: As societies grow more diverse, it is imperative that students develop the necessary intercultural capacities to succeed in their personal and professional lives. In the Global Scholars Program (GSP), Peer Facilitators play a key role in the development of these capacities, serving as the face of the program and building important relationships with first year members. This course will provide students returning for a second year to GSP as Peer Facilitators with the necessary knowledge and skills to facilitate multicultural group interactions and become more engaged contributors to our diverse society.

In this course, Rising Peer Facilitators will explore foundational readings that will enhance their understanding of facilitation as a pedagogical practice. These readings will expand their knowledge content and challenge their critical thinking capacities through exposure to concepts rooted in critical race, feminist, queer, and disability theory, as well as educational development concepts. Students will build upon this theoretical foundation and learn important facilitation skills through constructive dialogues, role-playing, and writing assignments.

What students say about ALA 212:

"My biggest challenge was getting over the fear of committing a microaggression. I got over my fear because we were taught that even though it is not okay to commit a microaggression, you can work hard to address any biases or attitudes you may have if you do happen to commit one. You can work hard to educate yourself and also apologize if you catch yourself. As a future facilitator I realize that I will make mistakes but I can learn from them and work hard to prevent them from happening again." (Winter 2021)

"It was really cool to see how my culture was represented and indicative of some of the behaviors I also show, and knowing that my parents are from an interdependent culture and that I've grown up in an independent culture – I think that is what played a big role in how I communicate." (Winter 2021)

"I will carry these essential skills in my future academic, professional, and personal endeavors." (Winter 2021)

ALA 470: Organizing for Global Justice

Instructor: GSP Associate Director

Credits: 2

Prerequisite: Admission into the Global Scholars Program for a third academic year

Notes: Students who have reached their maximum courseload and are unable to enroll in ALA 470 may explore alternative arrangements with the associate director.

Description: This course is required during students' third year of membership in the Global Scholars Program. Third-year GSP members serve on the GSP Advisory Council (AC). As Advisory Council members, they have spent two years in GSP developing their intercultural capacities as individuals within culturally diverse group settings (CG membership) and as facilitators of culturally diverse groups (peer facilitation or leading special projects). During their third year, they help organize GSP’s community of globally diverse members by advising staff on key program decisions, hosting signature community events, and chairing committees that reflect GSP's mission and values.

During the fall semester, AC members receive academic credit for their continued learning and skill-development by enrolling in ALA 470. This is a practicum course and is unlike most traditional academic courses. It serves as the AC meeting time and the majority of assignments are directly related to AC leadership responsibilities. In addition, ALA 470 provides a scholarly foundation for AC membership through the analysis of case studies of organizing communities, movements and/or institutions.