By DAVID STEELE-FIGUEREDO, president of Woodbury University in Burbank, California.
I was elated to find, on taking this position about two years ago, that we had a course called “Wars, Gods, and Revolutions.” This course analyzes the historical, political, religious and social components of violent conflict and provides a global perspective that considers the multiplicity of human identity and how those identities are mobilized to wage war and revolution.
Higher education has to be part of the solution to eradicating this recurring cancer of humanity. We must emphasize the lessons of world history, interdisciplinary studies, cross-cultural understanding (rather than domination) and conflict resolution techniques.
At our university, education is built on the idea of personal transformation that can positively affect others. Our job is to help students make a difference in all that they do — in their classes, on campus, and in their communities. We harness the creative power of multiple disciplines and communities that broaden perspectives across academic boundaries.
In addition, we emphasize on-campus and study-away student experiences to encourage diversity of thought; to appreciate racial and ethnic differences; and to give students an inner vision of themselves and their responsibilities as a member of society. These exposures encourage an understanding of the civics of being a global citizen. Our students mention their experiences abroad as truly transformational.
Our belief is that a university education should develop in students the ability, desire, and confidence to imagine new ideas; to create impact and make a difference. … Our hope is that reason will triumph and avoid another world catastrophe.
Excerpted from educationdive.com