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Global Cultures Flag Criteria and Interpretation

The following criterion was developed and approved by the Faculty Council.

To satisfy the Global Cultures Flag, at least one-third of the course grade* must be based on content dealing with an in-depth examination of the broader cultural context and perspectives of one or more non-U.S. communities, countries, or coherent regional groupings of countries, past or present.

*For three- or four-credit courses. For two-credit hour courses, at least one-half of the course grade should be based on Flag content.


The following interpretation was developed by the faculty committee that oversees the Global Cultures Flag and was approved by the Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee.

Courses carrying the Global Cultures Flag critically engage with the cultures of one or more non-U.S. communities. Global Cultures courses may study any area of human activity and may come from any discipline, but in every case must address in-depth the histories, traditions, practices, and/or perspectives of those communities. Proposals should specify which non-US cultural groups students will study and explain how the course will expand students’ cultural understanding and awareness. In order to highlight experiences of members of the non-U.S. cultural groups being studied, courses carrying the Global Cultures Flag should, whenever possible, include texts (broadly construed) created by members of those cultural groups and give substantial consideration to diverse cultural perspectives within those groups. The Global Cultures Flag will challenge students to explore the beliefs and practices of non-U.S. cultural communities in relation to their own cultural experiences so that they engage in an active process of self-reflection and self-awareness.

Students earning the Global Cultures Flag should learn about non-U.S. cultural content, experiences, and/or perspectives in depth. Courses may be structured in different ways to provide a substantive exploration, but must include at least one of the following:

  • a sustained focus on one or more non-U.S. communities, countries, or regions;
  • a coherent examination of a particular issue, theme, or phenomenon within the context of two or more non-U.S. communities, countries, or regions;
  • a close study of global phenomena through a comparative cultural framework.

The committee is aware that the terms “global” and “culture” are open to a variety of disciplinary interpretations. While the committee defines culture broadly, not every course that focuses on globalization or transnational phenomena will qualify for the flag. For the purposes of this flag, the committee understands the term “global” to mean that courses should either inspire students to reflect on or explicitly include a component on, transnational interconnectedness. Courses that apply a cultural lens to global dynamics and, in the process, teach students in-depth about culturally specific perspectives are appropriate for this flag.

Study abroad courses do not automatically qualify for the Global Cultures Flag. To do so, the course materials must substantively engage with the non-US cultural groups and include opportunities for self-reflection.

Learning Objectives

The faculty committee that oversees the Global Cultures Flag has also developed a set of learning objectives, or goals for what students will learn to do in these courses. These learning objectives can be adapted to your course and help communicate course structure and goals to your students.

Student Feedback

We administer end-of-semester surveys to students enrolled in courses that carry a Global Cultures Flag. Here’s a snapshot from our fall 2019 survey.