As Director of Global Education Initiatives Mark Dalhouse planned his COR 1100 class, The Global Experience, this summer, the Taliban had just taken over the government of Afghanistan. For years, his class revolved around the tragic events of 9/11, but this year it became even more important.
It occurred to me, seeing this unfolding over the summer, that this has been the whole life of our first year students, Dalhouse said. The United States has been at war in Afghanistan since 9/11, and they never knew a time it was not.
Dalhouse structures its COR 1100 classroom for students to build a global foundation of current world events and to understand diverse communities. He hopes this course will help students become more involved in what is happening around them.
I hope to encourage students to engage with the news, engage with the news cycle and know what is going on in the world because it is so easy for all of us here to get into my schedule, my classes, my faculty. meetings, whatever, Dalhouse said. I felt it was an opportunity to come and treat it, but at the same time learn the story.
Students like Elizabth Driggers think the class has influenced their entire mentality.
My 9/11 perspective has changed drastically as a result of taking Mr. Dalhouse’s Global Experience class, Driggers said. This class opened my perspective a little more to understand the importance behind achieving conversation and getting to know each other. If our goal is to fix the divisions, then I think it’s time to really get to know each other and listen to what the other person has to say.
Driggers wanted to do something more with her understanding of ideological and ethnic divisions. Dalhouse and Driggers decided to bring millions of conversations, a nonprofit organization that encourages conversations about embracing identity and uniting around shared values, to Elon. The organization started at the university this fall.
What sets this class apart from other curricula of global experience is the study of the spread of stereotypes about the Islamic faith that have escalated since the 2001 attacks, including harassment of Muslims. According to the FBI, anti-Muslim attacks are five times more common now than they were before 9/11.
Students enrolled in this class have more opportunities to immerse themselves in current events, including listening to penetrating speakers and helping the local community. This year the class welcomed John McConnell, a senior speech writer for former President George W. Bush during the 9/11 attacks, who spoke to the class that day 20 years later. Dalhouse hopes to plan similar events to help his students relate history to current news.
Driggers said: When I entered the classroom, I had a basic understanding of tragedy; following the course I was not only more aware of how it is still affecting our world today, but also how we as Elon students have the ability to make meaningful change.
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