Thoughts on Globalization, Education, and Interdisciplinarity

I think that globalization is affecting not only my education, but almost all aspects of the world that I live in. My grandparents spoke of a time where the world was ‘small’- people didn’t move very far away, family was close by, and most everyone works jobs that were common to the area or available where they were living in. They spoke of people moving around and the exodus of the nuclear family in regards to several generations living close by. The world described by them seemed quite compact and finite. I look at the world as I live in it and also see it as ‘small’, but not for the same aspects. A person can live in Salt Lake City and telecommute to complete their work in Tokyo, or can work at home with an internet connection that brings business and money directly to them in their home. In that perspective, I see the world as potentially small because communities and border no longer hold people into a few options for financial success. That said, I see the world as a vast global community with only a small percentage of people having the opportunities I mentioned above and for the majority the opportunities of financial success are stagnant no matter where they live. Globalization has affected my college as the faculty look to provide educations that will give their graduates an advantage in global market places- the positive effects of their efforts provide more options to students for future career paths… the negative is that higher education is still only truly available to a small percentage of the people in my communities (as well as the global population as a whole.) Globalization has created more options; different degrees, different career paths, pathways to success, etc… However, globalization both in education and life come with costs. The larger the picture, the easier it is to lose the value that is found in diversity, the desire to understand global problems, and the apathy to ignore the social justice and consequences inherent in globalization.

“...one aspect of my complex identity”

I liked this quote because it reminds me of how each of us prepares for our lives and actions every day. I am white and female… but I am also a mother, a student, an ex-wife, a Mormon, a lover, a friend, a mentor, a political activist, an animal welfare provider, a pharmacy technician, a BLS educator, and I could go on as I think most of us could. We all live within the labels that we create for ourselves or are thrust upon us. In some ways, life after university doesn’t feel that different to me than my current daily life. Only one of those labels will change- from student to graduate- and while I can obtain a different job and change or modify another label or two- everything else will stay the same. What I feel like my education has provided me that will continue to make a difference in my future after schooling is how I think and respond to information and behavior both around me and concerning me. I no longer take all information at face value and tend to analyze more. I think I recognize more often when engagement isn’t a great idea, how to respond to negative people and situations, and what to reasonably expect when I advocate for positions that are unpopular both in my community and culture. The ability to analyze, question, and look for better ways of understanding and empathy will serve me well in whatever economic or personal job choices I make.

The ability to understand the needs of interdisciplinary connections and underpinnings in discovering and understanding new forms of knowledge is pretty crucial. A fact held alone by itself is a bit like a toothpick- almost any other fact can make the first look suspect and sometimes can be used to disabuse it of its ‘fact’ status. Making decisions on the basis on one fact tends to cause significant problems in explanation and implementation creating outcomes that are rarely the ones anticipated. I would also argue that can a fact be a ‘fact’ if it cannot be proven on its own merits? Can it only be considered a fact if other knowledge helps sustain its truthful countenance? I would be interested in other’s ideas on that concept. True knowledge can be supported by facts surrounding it and about it- I tend to think of knowledge as the nucleus of the cell which can not live on its own, but needs the support of its ‘interdisciplinary team’ to survive and express itself as needed in its environment. Or put another way; we know what a nucleus does because of how it interacts with the other parts of the cell… and we know how the other parts of the cell work and express themselves due to their responses to the nucleus. A study of one must necessitate a study and recognition of all parts for a true, deep understanding.

What are your thoughts? How do you use interdisciplinary thinking in your life?

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