UMD: A Globally Connected University

Global Classrooms Initiative

Global Classrooms Initiative


The Global Classrooms Initiative provides financial support to faculty to develop innovative, project-based courses that bring together UMD students and students from partner universities around the world using digital technologies. These exciting courses aim to provide our students with international experiences that mirror the work they will encounter throughout their lives: cross-cultural, project-based and virtual. There is a special emphasis on courses that advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


The Office of International Affairs’ 2019 Global Classrooms Initiative Call for Proposals is now closed. Please see the 2019 Awards below to view our latest award recipients.  


For more information on the Global Classrooms Initiative, please contact Dr. Raluca Nahorniac or Dr. Taylor Woodman in the Office of International Affairs.


Learn more about our Global Classroom courses.


2019 Awards

Ge Gao, Assistant Professor, College of Information Studies (iSchool) - Human-Centered Computing in a Global Context 

Name of Faculty: Ge Gao

Title and Affiliation: Assistant Professor, College of Information Studies (iSchool)

Title of Proposed Course: Human-Centered Computing in a Global Context 

Partner Institution: Fudan University, Shanghai, China 

Course Description: Students will be required to work in groups and design novel computational technologies that aim to alleviate one ongoing social issue in the U.S. and/or China. Each group must constitute two students from UMD and two students from Fudan. The design process should follow a human-centered approach. The social issues to be addressed under each design project should echo at least one global challenge as identified in the UN SDGs.

Expected milestones and deliverables: 

Students should complete five milestones that represent five interlocking steps of the group projects. 

  •  A problem statement that describes which social issue the students hope to address and why; 
  • A literature review that articulates existing gaps between what the group hopes to support socially and what the existing tools and systems can support technically; 
  • A research report that demonstrates what students learn from small-scale behavioral research with human participants, focused on people’s current practices and concerns regarding a targeted social issue within a local socio-cultural context (U.S. or China); 
  • A research report that analyzes the similarities and differences among people’s practices and concerns surrounding the same social issue but across cultures (U.S. vs. China); 
  • A design proposal (including prototypes) of a novel computational tool or system that alleviates the targeted social issue in the U.S. and/or China. Before the semester ends, students will give a presentation of the whole design process and complete a reflection report.

Expected beneficiaries: Beneficiaries of the above deliverables include people who are facing the identified, real-world social issues. High-quality projects will be revised and submitted to conferences in the field of human-computer interaction so that the students can communicate their design ideas with potential academic/industrial partners who are interested in turning the prototypes into real technologies.

Elisabeth Maring, Associate Clinical Professor, School of Public Health, Department of Family Science (FMSC) - Teaching Menstrual Hygiene: Dispelling Myths and Misconceptions

Name of Faculty: Elisabeth Maring

Title and Affiliation: Associate Clinical Professor, School of Public Health, Department of Family Science (FMSC)

Title of Proposed Course: Teaching Menstrual Hygiene: Dispelling Myths and Misconceptions

Partner Institution: Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India

Course Description: This course will address concepts such as cultural competency, ethnocentrism, and human rights. The course will provide students from the U.S. and India an opportunity to learn about each other through readings, videos, case studies and facilitated interactions. The instructors will provide context for addressing menstrual hygiene as an issue that is universal and explore ways to understand cultural differences and build cultural understanding. This course requires students to work together on a project, helping them to develop team collaboration skills and learn from each other.

Students will be provided with data about myths and misconceptions on menstrual hygiene. They will work together to develop an instructional module for youth ages 11-13. The module will be designed to be accessible for both boys and girls. Dr. Kushwaha has developed a module for girls that is already in use and will be used as a model in class. The students will also work on an assessment tool to measure the impact of the instructional module when implemented. They also will create a visual product from their experience in the course, which may be a video, poster, booklet, social media campaign, or other representation to inform the public about the issue. Throughout the course, students will have readings, videos, and discussions that require dialogue and reflection. Reflections will be graded as a way of tracking student understanding, engagement and cultural competency.


Kerry Tripp, Senior Lecturer/Undergraduate Program Director, School of Public Health, Department of Family Science (FMSC) - Law, Ethics & Policy of Assisted Reproduction Technology 

Name of Faculty: Kerry Tripp

Title and Affiliation: Senior Lecturer/Undergraduate Program Director, School of Public Health, Department of Family Science (FMSC)

Title of Proposed Course: Law, Ethics & Policy of Assisted Reproduction Technology 

Partner Institution: Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Course Description: Dr. Kerry Tripp will deliver the first two-thirds of lectures that introduce different technologies and raise legal then ethical issues. Dr. Ana Cristina Barros da Cunha will deliver the remainder of lectures from the Brazilian perspective, including additional ethical issues in her areas of expertise such as LGBTQ and religion. 

Upon completing this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify and communicate the commonalities and differences of the scientific procedures, laws and policies of Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) in the U.S. and in Brazil, including evaluating each country’s treatment of ART, and current trends and societal changes that helped shape them. 
  2. Collaborate in international teams to create an ART law that does not exist and is needed. 
  3. Apply project management and cross-cultural communication techniques to achieve project results within the deliverables time period.
  4.  Provide students with a better awareness of cultural competency and diversity including ethical and policy impacts of racial, socioeconomic, and gender disparities and the impact of ableism and religion on ART in the US and Brazil. 

Brazil is an ideal partner for this GCI because it, too, does not have a uniform law regarding ART. Thus, this class will create a bridge between the two countries as they consider the differences and commonalities of each while considering ethical and legal issues in ART. Students will collaborate in international teams as they discuss these issues and then work to create proposed laws in small groups, using cross-cultural communication and project management. This work will allow students to better understand cultural competency and diversity issues. The course includes materials on the policy impacts of racial, socioeconomic, and gender disparities and the impact of ableism and religion on ART in the US and Brazil. We begin to explore that within the framework of the elms page which has many discussion boards and homework designed to make students think critically about the materials, including creating an awareness of cultural competency.

Margaret Udahogora, Lecturer/Dietetics Program Director, College of Agricultural & Natural Resources, Department of Nutrition Food Science - Preventing Malnutrition and NCDs in Developing Country Contexts

Name of Faculty: Margaret Udahogora

Title and Affiliation: Lecturer/Dietetics Program Director, College of Agricultural & Natural Resources, Department of Nutrition Food Science

Title of Proposed Course: Preventing Malnutrition and NCDs in Developing Country Contexts

Partner Institution: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana 


Course Description: A food security and nutrition project will be implemented in Ghana in three different settings: urban, peri-urban, and rural. During this highly interactive project, students will be mentored in the selection of survey tools to estimate food insecurity, food loss and waste, market food prices, seasonal food availability, accessibility and utilization at the household level. Additionally, students will conduct a self-assessment of nutrition health of household members. Based on students’ newly acquired knowledge and skills on the various topics on nutrition sensitive agriculture, nutrition sensitive post-harvest handling, storage and processing, nutrition behavior change communication and dietetics, they will be able to discuss and recommend culturally sensitive and population acceptable interventions. 


Three main discussions will be conducted to gauge students' understanding and perspective on what they are learning in class. The instructors will encourage students to find innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to the nutrition sensitive food systems, and ways to encourage youth participation in finding solutions to food, nutrition, and health issues.

Raffaele Viglianti, Research Programmer, College of Arts & Humanities, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) - Digital Publishing with Minimal Computing: Humanities at a Global Scale

Name of Faculty: Raffaele Viglianti

Title and Affiliation: Research Programmer, College of Arts & Humanities, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)

Title of Proposed Course: Digital Publishing with Minimal Computing: Humanities at a Global Scale

Partner Institution: Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Course Description: Students will work in small groups with participants evenly distributed across the two partner institutions. Each group will be expected to create a website containing the digital edition of a part or all of the text, Un Informe de un viaje por el Río de la Plata y desde allí por tierra a Perú, (henceforth Un Informe) by Acarete du Biscay, which will be provided in both Spanish and English. The digital edition and website will be expected to be multilingual. Besides the edited text of Un Informe, students will create paratextual pages to explain several aspects of their work. They will provide resources to contextualize Un Informe, such as a brief critical historical overview and editorial notes. They will provide a reflection on their work, process, and international collaboration. They will discuss the technologies adopted and how they fit within the global Digital Humanities. And they will write a speculative plan for expanding and preserving the project in the future. The expected project deliverables are: the code for the digital edition encoded according to the Text Encoding Initiative guidelines; the code for the website; the paratextual material written as web pages; and an individual short reflection paper of one or two pages. Each group will briefly present their site in a virtual presentation at the end of the course.

Each student will produce a short piece at the end of the course to reflect on the collaborative and global aspects of their work and discuss the challenges and benefits of international and multilingual teamwork. In order to be successful, the groups will need to manage their project effectively. The instructors will introduce basic principles of project management for Digital Humanities projects and invite groups to write group “charters” to outline shared values and set working practices. Throughout the course, the instructors will offer prompts to reflect about the colonization of the Americas from a multicultural perspective through readings, lectures, and discussions surrounding Un Informe and digital publishing. These activities will encourage students to identify their own cultural assumptions, while the requirement of creating and working with bilingual material will induce them to confront their biases in practice. The focus on a European colonial-era text will work as an instrument to teach colonialist attitudes in a historical context, while highlighting modern forms of colonialism such as the ethical, social, and political implications of digital tools, resources and infrastructure, and the cultural biases inherent in their conception and design.

Dr. Stephen Nkansah-Amankra, Department of Behavioral and Community Health, School of Public Health--Global Health and Social Justice: Achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals in low income countries

Name of Faculty: Dr. Stephen Nkansah-Amankra

Title and Affiliation: Department of Behavioral and Community Health, School of Public Health

Title of Proposed Course: Global Health and Social Justice: Achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals in low income countries

Partner Institutions: University of Cape Coast, University of Ghana, and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology 

Level: Undergraduate & Graduate options

Course Description: This course evaluates the relationship between social injustice and population health through critical discourse analysis of social determinants of health and applications of community-based methods for reducing population health inequities within and across national borders. Social determinants reflect conditions of birth, growth, work environment and receipt of care (healthcare systems, welfare) and how these systems disadvantage vulnerable populations. At the heart of the current global agenda, Agenda 2030 is the understanding that attainment of universal health coverage for all populations is a prerequisite for achieving other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The course reinforces this by applying a social determinants of health framework to assess priority areas of human needs for necessary action across the 17 SDGs. 

The course further advances the idea that the relationship between health and social development is best anchored on expanding the scope and effectiveness of systems and services that prevent/treat diseases, ill-health and or minimizes disadvantages among vulnerable populations. Participation in this class has a key role in building a ‘critical cadre’ of public health/population science or public policy leaders who have competencies to integrate cross-cutting themes across sectoral goals and target areas of the SDGs. 

The class aims to stimulate students’ critical analysis to identify, describe, measure and apply consequences of injustices (in wealth and unequal resource allocations), in population ill-health exposures, and practices (policies, interventions and services) specific to the attainment of SDGs at the country level. Students will apply critical thinking about how social injustices create preventable health disparities, unequal social determinants, poor environmental exposures and diseases to undermine the achievement of SDGs particularly among vulnerable populations in different countries. 

Students from different countries will work collaboratively in a group (maximum of two or three students in a group), possibly in partnership with a community-based organization to select and develop a research project of their choice. Although member countries of the United Nations have agreed to report regularly on the progress towards attainment of the SDGs, countries’ abilities to do this across the range of indicators is greatly inconsistent. At the country level, different statistical offices or bureau might be responsible for compiling data towards annual reporting on progress towards SDGs. However, other low income countries do not have well-managed data systems to report on many of the proposed indicators and targets, let alone getting disaggregated data on sex, age, race/ethnicity, disability status, geographic locations and other characteristic determinants. Given the paucity of data limitations in many low resource countries, countries had to rely on international agencies (often in collaboration with national agencies) to construct relevant data to assess progress on SDGs. Students’ project will be to critically analyze country reporting of the progress made towards achieving the SDG’s using reliable international data sources. 

2018 Awards

Candace Moore, Clinical Assistant Professor, Higher Education, Student Affairs, International Education Policy (HESI) Program - The College Student

Image result for umd candace mooreImage result for University of Cape Coast, GhanaName of Faculty: Candace Moore

Title and Affiliation: Clinical Assistant Professor, Higher Education, Student Affairs, International Education Policy (HESI) Program

Title of Proposed Course: The College Student and Student Personnel Services in a Global Context
Partner Institution: University of Cape Coast, Ghana


Course Description: The course centers on the acquisition of local knowledges to decolonize conventional narratives of higher education practices. Students gain an understanding of Ghanaian and American approaches within the praxis of student affairs to student development theory, student support services, and the role of student affairs practice in student learning. Additionally, the course offers a cross-cultural, project-based platform for students to apply student development theories in the context of diverse campus environments. Specifically, the areas of psychosocial and cognitive structural development will be emphasized through multiple perspectives including moral development, intellectual development and social identity development. Moreover, the course offers a demographic study of the characteristics of college students in Ghana and the U.S. as well as a study of their aspirations, values, and purposes. Finally, the course explores  best practices and emerging trends in global student affairs practice.

Taryn Devereux, International Women in Agriculture Program - Global Agriculture: Developing Extension Education and Agriculture Technologies in Africa

Name of Faculty: Taryn Devereux

Title and Affiliation: Faculty Specialist, International Women in Agriculture Program, Agricultural and Resource Economics

Title of Proposed Course: Global Agriculture: Developing Extension Education and Agriculture Technologies in Africa

Partner Institution: Liberia International Christian College, Liberia


Course Description: Collaborative development of an extension curriculum centered around identified themes farmers in Nimba County, Liberia. This curriculum will include training manuals, activities, materials and other teaching tools;

● Collaborative development of a Monitoring and Evaluation system to gather data on outcomes and impact among this group of beneficiaries;
● The implementation of a week-long “Boot Camp” on the developed extension programming, to be held at LICC with both groups of students following the end of the semester;
● More international course offerings available within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources;
● The creation of a online, open-source database with recorded lectures, materials and other course tools that can accessed by students at both universities.
● Strengthened institutional relationship between UMD and LICC; 

● Increased international and cultural opportunities for UMD students seeking professional experiences for workforce development.

Christopher Antoun, Assistant Research Professor, College of Information Studies (iSchool); Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM) - Big Data in Immigration Research

Christopher AntounImage result for University of Mannheim logoName of Faculty: Christopher Antoun
Title and Affiliation: Assistant Research Professor, College of Information Studies (iSchool); Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM)
Title of Proposed Course: Big Data in Immigration Research
Partner Institution: University of Mannheim, Germany

Course Description: A major component of the course is project-based work on data collection and analysis of Big Data for immigration-related research in international groups, i.e., each group will have students from both sites.
Students will be grouped together so that their experience and knowledge levels on Big Data, immigration research, and project management will complement each other. The work on the project will mirror the type of work that the students can expect to be exposed to after graduation, that is, project-based, facilitated by technology, and in an international context with people from diverse backgrounds.
Each student group will formulate a research question that could be addressed based on a non-traditional data source (“Big Data”). The groups will suggest a data collection strategy and present their research question and how they plan to obtain the data back to the class halfway through the course.
In the second half of the course, student groups will analyze the data and write a report about the empirical findings and policy implications and give a presentation. Student groups can either collect their own data in this course or use data from the Migration Data Portal ( If new data are collected, then these data will be uploaded back to the Migration Data Portal at the end of the course.
The expected deliverables of the course for each group are:
(1) An oral presentation on the group project,
(2) Documentation of the group project (e.g., written report, dashboard for interactive information management), and
(3) A new dataset that will be provided for scientific use.
(4) Representatives from external organizations (e.g., research institutes, NGOs) will be invited to attend the final presentations and the products of group work will be made available via a public website.

Merle Collins, Professor, Comparative Literature Program - Caribbean Literature: Literature and Ideas in the Caribbean

Related imageName of Faculty: Merle Collins

Title and Affiliation: Professor, Comparative Literature Program

Title of Proposed Course: Caribbean Literature: Literature and Ideas in the Caribbean

Partner Institution: University of West Indies, Jamaica 
Course Description:

1. A course blog. Dr. Semaj-Hall (UWI) has recently started a Caribbean literature blog and our students will be asked to work on ideas for course participation in the blog. The blog will map our readings and the responses to the national, cultural and other issues explored through the texts.

2. A "migration" blog. Students will discuss films about migration and will be encouraged to consider spring break participation in a UWI (location, Jamaica) focus on migration as explored in Caribbean film. Ideas for this project are being developed by Dr. Isis Semaj at UWI. Dr. Semaj suggests that, for the following semester, we develop a Maryland-based mid-semester project in which interested students at UWI would be able to participate. The Maryland students who participate in the mid-semester week abroad would be responsible for reporting back (via in-class presentations and blogs) to the rest of the class.
3. Theatre performance at the end of the semester.

2017 Awards

Madlen Simon, Associate Professor, Architecture Program - Bridging the Gap Studio: Collaborative Design Thinking Across Cultures

Name of Faculty: Madlen Simon

Title and Affiliation: Associate Professor; Architecture Program

Title of Proposed Course: Bridging the Gap Studio: Collaborative Design Thinking Across Cultures
Partner Institution: Al Nahrain University, Iraq


Course Description: The proposed course will be an urban design studio taught collaboratively by a US and an Iraqi professor of architecture. This will be a project-based learning environment in which US and Iraqi students will collaborate together to create design proposals for similar programs in each other's cities. We will begin with a research module, in which students investigate, document, analyze, and present a district in their own city to their counterparts abroad. Based upon information exchanged, students will embark upon urban design explorations in their counterparts' cities. The course will culminate in a pair of design proposals in the two cultures. Students will collaborate as a virtual team to foster the success of both projects, serving as information sources for one and information processors for the other. Projects will serve as vehicles for cultural exploration, as students propose settings for each other's daily lives. This experience mirrors work that students will encounter in globalized architectural practice, where projects are often executed in collaboration between US and local offices, with success dependent upon inter-cultural communication skills. This particular international collaboration, coming at a time of tremendous strain between US-Iraqi relations, has great potential to instill global understanding through person-to-person diplomacy.

Matthew Aruch, Assistant Director, Science, Technology and Society Program - Concepts, Frameworks and Research in Science and Technology Studies

Name of Faculty: Matthew Aruch

Title and Affiliation: Assistant Director; Science, Technology and Society

Title of Proposed Course: Concepts, Frameworks and Research in Science and Technology Studies

Partner Institution: University of Cuenca, Ecuador


Course Description: The course uses STS frameworks to research science and technology initiatives in the United States and Ecuador. First, students are introduced to a suite of STS analytic tools. Next, students will identify and select a science/ technology program/ policy to investigate. In addition to virtual and linked classroom sessions, students from the US and Ecuador will use technology to work together around their research project. Working with their international partners in Ecuador, students will interrogate their selected topic using STS analytic tools. Working together students can critically analyze a socio-technical system. The idea is that if they choose a technology or program in Ecuador, UMD students will have the option to continue their studies and meet their international partner during the January term during the STS study abroad.

Kerry Li Fang, Instructor, Ph.D. Candidate, Urban and Regional Planning and Design - A Joint Recipe for Entrepreneurial Districts: Industry Targeting, Performance Tracking and Policy Designing

Name of Faculty: Kerry Li Fang
Title and Affiliation: Instructor, Ph.D. Candidate; Urban and Regional Planning and Design
Title of Proposed Course: A Joint Recipe for Entrepreneurial Districts: Industry Targeting, Performance Tracking and Policy Designing
Partner Institution: Higher School of Economics, Russia

Course Description: This global class, A Joint Recipe for Entrepreneurial Districts: Industry Targeting, Performance Tracking and Policy Designing, aims to achieve a combined approach for the development of entrepreneurial districts based on the experiences and insights from both the United States and Russia. This course takes a hands-on approach and centers around the cross-continental joint projects. We explore effective ways of industry targeting, apply comprehensive methods to track the performance of entrepreneurial districts, and provide policy recommendations to improve their functionality.

During this learning-by-doing process, students not only are equipped with both theories and techniques, but also apply them into actual domestic and international planning practices and make real social impacts. We cover theories on urban agglomeration, entrepreneurial districts and economic development, as well as techniques including location quotient, shift-share analysis, hot-spot analysis, regression analysis and network analysis. Students are encouraged to apply both in-class techniques and skills they have acquired outside of this class to strengthen their projects. By visual communication multiple times a week to their cross-continental peers who may have limited knowledge about US entrepreneurial districts, students will learn how to effectively get their points through. This will improve the communication skills of students and enable them to adapt to different audiences in the future. Through the cross-continental collaborations, students will experience a cross-cultural exchange, challenge their theoretical premises and expand their toolbox as urban planners. The final products of the joint projects will be delivered to stakeholders and contribute to the economic vibrancy of local communities.

Ming Hu, Assistant Professor, Architecture, Planning and Preservation - Carbon Neutral Development Through Net Zero and Net Impact Building Design

Name of Faculty: Ming Hu

Title and Affiliation: Assistant Professor; Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Title of Proposed Course: Carbon Neutral Development Through Net Zero and Net Impact Building Design

Partner Institution: Nankai University, China

Course Description: In this course, Net Zero (High-performance) building design and related life cycle environmental impact are examined through real case studies to explore the means and techniques applied to the buildings with integration of a variety of simulation and analysis software. The course focuses on an understanding of the design strategies of the high-performance design and life cycle assessment method through combination of lecture and lab time. The course topic Net Zero building will be investigated from a variety of perspectives and diverse case studies in United States and China.

The purpose of this course is to provide fundamental knowledge of building sciences for the development of high-performance buildings utilizing energy modelling and simulation technology and Life Cycle Assessment technology as a design method and process. Occupant comfort is also assessed using the field testing method. In this course, students will learn knowledge and collaborate with each other to develop high-performance buildings, resulting in energy savings and environmental protections through greenhouse gas emission reductions. Throughout the course, students will work in groups to propose high-performance renovation design options that improve the existing building energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact. The course will be a combination of broadcasted lectures and bi-weekly video conference between students.

Abdel-Razak Kadry, Muhiuddin Haider, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIEH), UMD School of Public Health - A Pilot Global Graduate Class on Risk Based Approach to Ensure Global Food Safety and Security

Name of Faculty: Abdel-Razak Kadry, Muhiuddin Haider
Title and Affiliation: Adjunct Professor (Kadry), Clinical Professor (Haider); Public Health
Title of Proposed Course: A Pilot Global Graduate Class on Risk Based Approach to Ensure Global Food Safety and Security
Partner Institution: Cairo University, Egypt

Course Description: The purpose of this global graduate class is to train and disseminate knowledge to the participants on the food safety and security. The main subject will be application of risk assessment to ensure food safety and food security. This course will improve the ability of participating students to accept various ways of investigating and solving food safety challenges.

This international course on food safety and food security will assist the students from UMD and Cairo University to collaborate together to solve an international challenge. UMD students will experience, firsthand, the knowledge, belief and attitude toward food safety from other students from the Middle East and vice versa. This course will be a virtual and all lectures, assignment, quizzes and group projects will deliver by web-based technology. All course participants will interact, communicate, view and discuss presentations, and engage with learning resources while working in groups, all in an online setting.

Taylor C. Woodman, Ph.D. Candidate, Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy/ Graduate Coordinator, Office of International Affairs - Embargoed Dialogues: Critical Studies in US and Cuban Education

Name of Faculty: Taylor C. Woodman

Title and Affiliation: Ph.D. Candidate/Lecturer; Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy program

Title of Proposed Course: Embargoed Dialogues: Critical Studies in US and Cuban Education

Partner institution: Universidad de Ciencias Pedagógicas Enrique José Varona (UCPEJV), Havana, Cuba

Course Description: Embargoed Dialogues is a course that aims to transcend the political barriers that divide Cuba and the US to build a virtual education research community between the University of Maryland, College of Education and educators in Cuba. As a part of this community, UMD and Cuban future education leaders will collaborate in virtual, domestic and international activities to envision what academic collaboration could and will look like in a post-embargo world.

Technology will be utilized to create a virtual space for Cubans and Maryland students to respond to a critical issue in education and develop potential solutions that utilize both Cuban and Maryland educational philosophies. A week long, in country Cuba component will allow the groups to further their projects, visit educational sites in Cuba and engage in debate about the future of global education policy.

Natasha Cabrera, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Human Development and Quantitative Methodology Program, College of Education - Cross-Cultural Approaches to Child Development and Poverty in the U.S. and Chile

Name of Faculty: Natasha Cabrera
Title and Affiliation: Associate Professor, Human Development and Quantitative Methodology Program, College of Education​

Title of Proposed Course: Cross-Cultural Approaches to Child Development and Poverty in the U.S. and Chile
Partner institution: Universidad del Desarrollo​, Chile

Course Description: The course Cross-cultural understanding of child development and poverty in Chile and the US will help students from UMD and Universidad del Desarrollo in Chile gain a cross cultural understanding of child development and poverty in different contexts (U.S. and Chile) by (1) gaining empirical knowledge about the nature of poverty in Chile and the US and its effects on the growth and development of children. Student will learn about demographic data and conceptualizations of poverty in Chile and the US; (2) acquiring an understanding of the definition of poverty and issues associated with its measurement in Chile and the US. Students will learn about public policies developed by both countries to fight poverty, focused on the early years of child development; (3) applying critical thinking skills to analyze and compare public policies relate to poverty in Chile and the US. Student will analyze and compare empirical research on the impact of poverty and public policies on children and adolescent on various domains: cognitive, physical, and social emotional in Chile and the U.S.; and, (4) conducting interviews with community agency (from Chile and the US) to write a paper and policy brief. Students will organize a seminar to present their findings simultaneously in Chile and the US.

2015 Awards

Matthew Thomas Miller, Ph.D. Associate Director, Roshan Initiative in Persian Digital Humanities - The Islamicate World 2.0: Studying Islamicate Cultures through Computational Analysis

Name of Faculty: Matthew Thomas Miller

Title and Affiliation: Associate Director, Roshan Institute in Persian Digital Humanities

Title of Proposed Course: The Islamicate World 2.0: Studying Islamicate Cultures through Computational Analysis

Partner institution:Universität Leipzig, Germany


Course Description: The Islamicate World 2.0: Studying Islamicate Cultures through Computational Analysis is a project-based digital humanities course that will be co-taught by Matthew Thomas Miller (University of Maryland, College Park) and Maxim Romanov (Universität Leipzig). It will introduce students to theoretical debates in the field of global digital humanities and train them in basic techniques of computational textual analysis while also simultaneously engaging them as student researchers in the nascent project of exploring the vast—and largely unexplored—tomes of textual data about the Islamicate world. Like the digital humanities field that inspires its approach, The Islamicate World 2.0 will be a highly interdisciplinary course that studies texts from multiple genres (lyric poetry to historical chronicles, legal treatises to the Qur’an) and languages (Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, etc.) with the aid of computational textual analysis tools. Students will be made into “student researchers” by the end of the course, becoming genuine collaborators in the People, Places, Events (PPE) and Persian Digital Library projects (both of which are related to the larger Perseus Digital Library project) through the research projects that they will design and develop in consultation with the instructors and their fellow student research team members. Each student research group will be required to produce a piece of digital scholarship or research tool (e.g. Python script) by the end of the course, which will be disseminated through the projects’ websites and Github (with their permission) and presented in an annual The Islamicate World 2.0 “virtual conference” for the full Roshan Institute and Alexander von Humboldt-Lehrstuhl für Digital Humanities teams.

Jeffrey W. Herrmann, Ph.D. Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Institute for Systems Research, QUEST Honors Program - Global Consulting and Innovation Practicum

Name of Faculty: Jeffrey W. Herrmann​


Title and Affiliation: Professor, Mechanical Engineering; Institute for Systems Research​

Title of Proposed Course: Global Consulting and Innovation Practicum

Partner institution:University of Queensland, Australia; Linköping University, Sweden


Course Description:
Students at the University of Maryland, the University of Queensland, and Linköping University will work together on virtual teams (approximately 2 or 3 students from each university to create a team of four to six students) for an entire semester (approximately 14 weeks) to solve real-world problems provided by off-campus clients (both here in Maryland and near our partner institutions). Each team will work with one client (project sponsor). The assignment of students to project teams will depend upon student availability, expertise, interest, logistical considerations, and project requirements. The problems will be related to quality management, process improvement, and systems design.

Muhiuddin Haider, Ph.D, MS, Associate Research Professor, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIEH), UMD School of Public Health - Addressing Pressing Global and Environmental Public Health Challenges in Bangladesh

Name of Faculty: ​Muhiuddin Haider​

Title and Affiliation: Associate Research Professor

Title of Proposed Course: Addressing Pressing Global and Environmental Public Health Challenges in Bangladesh

Partner institution:Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB)


Course Description: This global classroom will provide public health students and faculty from both Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) and The University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) a virtual classroom learning experience in practical project implementation, research techniques in global health data collection and analysis, and report writing on community based health and environment related projects of global health interest. An assessment of ongoing public health program implementation work will be conducted. Specific projects to assess will be selected with careful consideration of mutual academic interest, opportunity for meaningful public health population impact and student involvement and learning, and sustainability within communities with which project work is carried out and the partner agencies that are implementing the work.

One of the following 4 projects will be selected for the focus of the global classroom after consideration of mutual interest, opportunity for meaningful public health population impact and student involvement and learning, and sustainability within communities with which project work is carried out:

  • Assess a community household waste collection process in Dhaka city.
  • Assess the work of NGO Bastob’s microfinance project that provides health services along with the credit services in Dhaka city.
  • Assess the public health relevance of a drinking water supply in a Dhaka slum (Korail slum) established by the NGO Dushtha Shasthya Kendra (DSK).
  • Assess indoor air pollution in relation to use of traditional cookstoves and efforts to improve access to clean cookstoves and fuels through the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and various local partners.

Natasha H. Chapman, Ph.D. Coordinator, Leadership Studies Program - Technology Beyond Borders: Service Learning and Leadership across Cultural, Ethnic and Community Lines

Name of Faculty: Natasha H. Chapman​

Title and Affiliation: Coordinator, Leadership Studies Program​

Title of Proposed Course: Technology Beyond Borders: Service Learning and Leadership across Cultural, Ethnic and Community Lines

Partner institution: Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)


Course Description: The purpose of this course is to introduce the concept and practice of “learning as a way of leading” through service-learning in a complex, global context. The class will consist of undergraduate students from the University of Maryland (UMD) and Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and will be co-taught by instructors from both institutions. This course will aim to increase students’ awareness and knowledge of communities that are culturally, ethnically or socially distinct from their own. UMD students, PolyU students, and community partners will work on a collaborative project that involves the development and implementation of a science exploratorium in a local community center in Kigali, Rwanda. The service-learning component of this course will expose students to the needs of appropriate, sustainable technology in under-resourced communities and the role of addressing social issues through global partnerships. Through the use of digital technologies and on-going virtual interactions, students from both universities will become acquainted with one another and with the critical social issues regarding need, justice and ethics related to the information age. The collaborative project will emphasize the importance of cognitive and behavioral leadership skill development and will allow students to study and apply leadership concepts such as problem-solving, innovation, social perspective taking, facilitation, teamwork and communication in order to reach shared goals. The course will also highlight a community based research approach, requiring students to put into practice “learning leadership” tasks such as self-reflection and evaluation, asking constructive questions, storytelling, and building community.

2014 Awards

Janet Chernela, Ph.D. Professor of Anthropology - Indigenous People and Conservation

Name of Faculty: Janet Chernela​


Title and Affiliation: Professor, Anthropology


Title of Proposed Course: Indigenous People and Conservation

Partner institution:Universidade do Estado do Amazoas (UEA), Universidade de Brasilia (UnB)

Course Description: This project will transform a course previously taught under a field school format in Brazil, using video and audio conferencing technology to allow UMD students who are not able to travel to collaborate with peers at two universities - Universidade do Estado do Amazoas (UEA) and Universidade de Brasilia (UnB) - and with indigenous peoples of the Amazon.  Working in virtual teams mixing students from the three universities, they will consider how peoples form alliances with NGOs to generate local income, protect nature, and safeguard human rights.  Team projects will explore traditional indigenous knowledge and land management, new contributions by indigenous peoples to changing landscapes, the legal mechanisms and instruments through which indigenous peoples have rights to the resources they occupy and utilize, and the organizations created by them to articulate with international bodies established to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

William Dorland, Ph.D. Executive Director, University Honors College - Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Afghanistan


Name of Faculty: William Dorland​

Title and Affiliation: Executive Director, University Honors College​

Title of Proposed Course: Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Afghanistan

Partner institution:American University of Afghanistan


Course Description: This course will wed traditional “role playing” pedagogy with the latest learning technologies.  UMD Honors students and peers at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul will jointly re-examine both the longer and more recent history of Afghanistan.  Working in teams of four—two students from UMD, two from AUAf—participants will then prepare for and re-enact the “Bonn Conference” of December 2001, where US, UN, Afghan and other world leaders came together and made pivotal decisions affecting the country’s future.  To better understand the interests and policies of the various stakeholders, students at UMD and AUAF will hear different perspectives on the conflict in Afghanistan since 2001 from former senior U.S. and Afghan government officials.  Against this backdrop and informed by the lessons learned over the past 12 years, each team will represent a country and/or organization and advocate for a particular course of action the team feels will advance that country's or organization's interest.

Marie Howland, Ph.D. Professor of Urban Studies and Planning - Industrial Districts, History, Theory and Practice

Name of Faculty: Marie Howland​

Title and Affiliation: Professor, Urban Studies and Planning

Title of Proposed Course: Industrial Districts, History, Theory and Practice

Partner institution:Higher School of Economics, Russia


Course Description: Professor Howland and her long-time professional collaborator, Prof. Leonid Limonov of the Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia, will use digital learning technologies to link their students in a comparative study of US and Russian industrial development and urban planning.  Graduate student from HSE will team with graduate and advanced undergraduate students at UMD to compare and contrast the reasons for and results of development policy in these two very different political and economic environments.  Participants will gain both theoretical background as a basis for analysis, and professional skills for presenting their joint proposals to public officials in both Russia and the U.S.

Roberta Lavine, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Spanish - Cross-cultural Communication in Latin American Business

Name of Faculty: Roberta Lavine​

Title and Affiliation: Associate Professor, Spanish

Title of Proposed Course: Cross-cultural Communication in Latin American Business

Partner institution:Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial, Ecuador


Course Description: This project enhances Spanish 422: Cross Cultural-Communication by linking UMD participants to colleagues at Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial in Quito, Ecuador.  Teams of students from UMD and UTE will carry out tasks appropriate to a business environment (e.g., a formal oral presentation, or an international negotiation) as well as academic tasks that explore culture, joint ventures, marketing, and negotiation in Latin America. UMD-UTE teams will also participate in a simulated negotiation to create a new joint venture. As part of the simulation, teams will create business and marketing plans, and an executive summary in which they reflect on the entire experience, emphasizing the process of win-win negotiation and the impact of culture.

Mark Wellman, Ph.D. Director, Business, Society & Economy Program, College Park Scholars - UAE Global Immersion Experience

Name of Faculty: Mark Wellman​

Title and Affiliation: Director, Business, Society & Economy Program, College Park Scholars

Title of Proposed Course: UAE Global Immersion Experience

Partner institution:American University of Sharjah (AUS), United Arab Emirates


Course Description: This project will link students in the Business, Society & Economy Program of College Park Scholars with peers at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) in the United Arab Emirates, to examine the skills and abilities leaders and managers need in a global business environment. Student teams will be formed combining UMD and AUS students, to foster collaboration and interdependence.  After an initial exercise on the qualities of transformational leaders, the teams will then engage in a series of virtual simulations that place them in real-life management situations that require them to make critical decisions while challenging ingrained assumptions. The simulations allow the teams to gain knowledge through experimentation and explore the impact of multiple variables within each simulated business scenario. The course will make use of digital communication and learning technologies to foster virtual collaborations, but also include an in-person encounter in the UAE during UMD’s Spring Break.

Bennet Zelner, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Logistics, Business and Public Policy - Family Capitalism, Shareholder Capitalism, and the Role of Immigrants

Name of Faculty: Bennet Zelner​

Title and Affiliation: Associate Professor, Logistics, Business and Public Policy

Title of Proposed Course: Family Capitalism, Shareholder Capitalism, and the Role of Immigrants

Partner institution:Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, Italy


Course Description: This course will bring together students at UMD’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and students at the Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Milan, Italy.  Students at each school will be teamed with peers at the other via digital technologies for a comparative examination of US, “Shareholder Capitalism” and Italian “Family Capitalism.”  The relative experience of immigrant communities in the US and Italy will serve as a basis for examining the broad institutional and ideological differences between the American and Italian systems, with UMD students analyzing phenomena in Italy and Bocconi students considering the situation in the US.  Team projects will produce policy briefs, which will include analysis of the economic or social implications of these phenomena as well as recommendations for industrial or social policy.