Global Perspective Flag Courses in the New Curriculum

February 9, 2021 / By: Salyani, Azaan

Many changes were made during the transition to the new curriculum; some courses were shifted to be 2-credits, or moved from a 300 level course to a 200 level course, among many others. Of these changes, one that stands out is the addition of Global Perspective “flagged” courses. A flag serves as a marker, denoting that the course devotes substantial time to specific skills or mission-based initiatives. Global Perspective courses are designed to help introduce students to the challenges and opportunities of living in an increasingly connected world. In today’s age of globalized business and commerce, these tools have become critical not only to everyday life, but also to remain relevant in an ever-adapting environment.

In the St. Thomas core curriculum, there are nine areas of learning (literature and writing, language and culture, philosophy and theology, fine arts, etc.) but there are also courses that are flagged with an attribute of either Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice, Writing Across the Curriculum, Signature Work, or Global Perspectives. The markers span across all the areas of learning such that even a Marketing or Engineering course could have the Global Perspectives flag.

These new requirements were introduced not only to encourage greater cultural learning, but also to increase the accessibility of these learning components to students. With the total number of credits in the core curriculum reduced, St. Thomas aims to allow students to learn the necessary cultural skills within the courses or electives of their own major.

In the previous curriculum, there was only one course requirement called “Human Diversity” which could have been music, geology, intercultural communication, sociology, or a variety of other courses. In the new curriculum, St. Thomas differentiates between “Global Perspectives” and “Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice” with the latter focusing on more domestic issues. Students must now take at least one course for each of the flags, although there are other way to fulfill the Global Perspectives flag. Study abroad courses (which spend at least 20 days abroad) and language courses such as Intermediate Spanish or Intermediate German also satisfy the requirement.

In order to gain a student perspective, I spoke with Joey Vacura, a Junior in the OPUS Management program. Joey was already familiar with all of the course flags, except Global Perspectives. “I had never heard of the Global Perspective flag before, but I think that’s a great way to help students to think in more broad terms. I’m almost sad that I’ve already satisfied the course flag, since I’ve fulfilled my language requirement, but I think I’ll look through the catalogue and see if I can take another Global Perspective course in a different area. Some of my favorite classes at St. Thomas involve learning about other cultures.”

To learn more about the St. Thomas Core Curriculum, visit the University of St. Thomas Core Curriculum page.

If you’re interested in more information about the Global Perspectives flag, and which courses it applies to, visit Global Perspectives in the St. Thomas Undergraduate Catalog.