A virtual WSU Honors College course goes global

March 2021
By Linda Infranco

Honors 298 Student Facilitators (L-R) Allison Beggs, Nife Shola-Dare, Ava Beck, Gunnar Sly, Yatin Singla, Sydney Almgren

The spring Honors 298 Global Leadership course always taps topics such as world trade, the environment, and international teamwork, but this year the course itself is literally bringing the world to Pullman—and Pullman to the world, with the doors flung wide open for innovative teaching and learning.

Virtual academic discussions led by Honors Dean M. Grant Norton and Assistant Dean Robin Bond are being delivered to students from Washington State University, the University of Texas-Dallas, and Southeast University in Nanjing, China. Guest speakers from all of the institutions will engage with students this semester on topics ranging from intellectual property rights to new technologies for the next generation of wireless communication.

The Honors College at WSU has a long-established academic exchange program with the Chien-Shiung Wu Honors College at Southeast University. Through common links in China, Honors recently established a partnership with the Hobson-Wildenthal Honors College at the University of Texas-Dallas.

“We are creating an environment that our students will experience post-graduation,” said Norton. “Science, medicine, commerce, manufacturing, business, and industry are global and require multinational, interdisciplinary, and diverse teams to collaborate using a variety of different technologies. This semester, Honors 298 students will get a feel for learning in a real national and international environment.”

A critical component of the courses is the Global Case Challenge that requires students to work together in teams to research an issue currently impacting the global community. Throughout the semester, they develop solutions or approaches to address the issue. A final presentation of their findings is made to a group of expert evaluators.

Bond said, “The Global Case Challenge encourages students to explore issues that impact all of us. They work toward creative approaches to address real world problems as they sharpen their skills in collaboration, problem-solving, research, and communication.”

Honors student facilitators are selected and trained to help lead class discussions and work with Norton and Bond to meet the course objectives. The facilitators get hands-on learning and leadership skills. Current student facilitators for Honors 298 are Sydney Almgren, Ava Beck, Allison Beggs, Nife Shola-Dare, Yatin Singla, and Gunnar Sly.

Honors 298 Global Leadership follows another course that utilizes student-to-student teaching and learning. The Honors 198 First-Year Experience course is designed to help first-year students successfully transition to college life. Honors 198 courses are led by student facilitators who provide mentoring and guidance on academic advising and planning, research opportunities, and campus involvement. The Honors 198 course covers topics such as leadership, business and innovation, and mindfulness as part of the Honors MESI Certificate in mindfulness-based emotional and social intelligence.

To learn more visit https://honors.wsu.edu.