Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Charting New Territories: Empowering College Students to Become Global Thinkers

Brenda Boudreau.

This presentation grew out of a research project done by four faculty members, one in business, two in psychology, and one in English. I will present how we incorporated knowledge about geography, sociology, and history into our individual classrooms in order to help students see knowledge in new contexts and to illustrate the interrelatedness of knowledge, a key step in creating more effective critical thinking skills. Including data we collected over the past two years, I will show the benefits of "dismantl[ing] barriers that stand in the way of connected and versatile learning" (Greater Expectations National Panel) and show how crossing disciplinary boundaries can enrich learning and produce creative thinkers who will be able to respond to the demands of our changing world.
The project began after a conversation discussing why Americans are among the most geographically illiterate people in the Western world, and the ethnocentrism we observed among our students.
The presentation will discuss specific pedagogical techniques used in business, psychology and English to cross disciplinary boundaries in an effort to engage the students in thinking outside of their own ethnocentrism
I hope this panel will illustrate the exciting possibilities for innovations in course design and classroom practices that can help move us beyond the belief that learning outcomes happen within only particular disciplines and will show how we can empower students to move into the twenty-first century as true global thinkers ready to face new cross-cultural challenges.


Brenda Boudreau  (United States)
Assistant Professor of English
Language, Literature and Communication
McKendree College

Brenda Boudreau is an Assistant Professor of English and director of the Gender Studies Minor. Most of her research and teaching focuses on race, class, and gender in contemporary American literature. She also trains educators in how to use technology in the classroom effectively.

  • Liberal Education
  • Global Thinking
  • Cross-cultural understanding

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)