Describe your course. What will the students be studying and learning?
This course introduces the student to the challenges and opportunities of cross-cultural interactions. As we cover core principles of cultural differences and how those impact cross-cultural communication, in this course we will "traverse the vast world of cultures" while paying careful attention to today's real-world challenges and ethnic, racial and religious conflicts. Students will learn not only from reading materials and class discussions, but they will also have the opportunity to directly communicate - virtually - with students in the Muslim world. Through team projects and weekly class assignments, the students will in a highly interactive manner learn what it is like to communicate both globally and locally...
Why would a first-year student want to take this course? Discuss its uniqueness as part of the University College, your teaching style, and any special opportunities the students may have.
Perhaps the best way to address this question is to let my students who took this course last semester speak themselves, as reported by the Professor's PA after the semester-end debrief: "Students overwhelmingly felt that they broadened their philosophic horizons and learned valuable life lessons. Nearly every student nodded when one shared that they had become more open-minded and sensitive to others after taking this class, and many shared revelations on cultural identity, professed improved critical reading and reasoning skills, and some even stated that their philosophical school of thought had changed." Perhaps this testimony is the best way to relay the Outcomes of my teaching style and Contribution to UC's values and its intense "learning through living and working together" approach. Fits my own Dutch style very well!
What do you like best about teaching first-year students?
This is the most rewarding thing I have done during my professional life, which included travel to some 80 countries and leading a global business before I joined the AU faculty: students seem to appreciate my sincere attempt to combine theory with my very (!) practical life experiences, and doing so with a healthy dose of humor and through extensive class discussions. Seeing my students mature so quickly as we work together on very complex nowadays issues is a personal delight. AU even pays me for it!