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High Impact Practices Spotlight Series: Diverse and Global Learning

By Tiffany MacLennan, Maple League Research Fellow and Strategist (left) and Tanisha Campbell, Maple League Student Fellow, Knowledge Mobilization & Community Engagement (right)

In the first of the High Impact Practice Spotlight, we wanted to share four vastly different but fascinating examples of Global Learning. Liberal arts universities worldwide emphasize the importance of learning and exploring new cultures as a part of their students’ learning experiences, and our four universities are no exception. The stories below capture diverse and global learning experiences both within our classrooms and abroad. From courses on teaching second languages to international research opportunities, diverse and global learning opportunities at the Maple League of Universities are world-class.

Dr. Conor Vibert – Acadia University

A few days ago, Tiffany reached out to me and asked if I could share a few words about my undergraduate business elective course, Doing Business in Japan, that I deliver, in good times, at Acadia University in its F.C. Manning School of Business. As an educator, I believe I can help foster global learning by encouraging students to be curious, learn another language and spend time in other countries. Specifically, my contribution is to enable them to spend time in another country, at least for two weeks. I suggest four learning objectives for this course and they are: to learn about one of largest economies in the world and an important trading partner of Canada; to enhance student understanding of Japanese culture business practices through readings, videos and site visits; to experience business life in a fast-paced Asian work environment specifically the Tokyo and Kansai regions of Japan; and, to gain an understanding of how the social and cultural norms of a country influence business practices.

In 2020 while in the Kansai region, we visited the Daikin Innovation Center, the Innovation Center of Mitsubishi Electric, as well as the Toyota Museum in Nagoya. Following a visit to Doshisha University, we then took in cultural sites including Gion, Himeji Castle and Dotonbori. While in Tokyo our students learned about Japanese business through visits to, or presentations by representatives of, Iwatani, Manulife Japan, Rio Tinto Japan, Sony, the World WildLife Fund Japan, Yamaha Music and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Cultural site visits included the grounds of the Imperial Palace, Senso-ji, and Ginza.

Fingers crossed we will return with a class of students in early 2022 and if there is an interest, open up the course to students at the other Maple League universities.

Dr. Sunny Lau – Bishop’s University

To promote teaching as research praxis, I engage my student teachers in inquiry-based learning. For example, in EDU 207 Teaching the Young Second Language Learner, my students get to work with children individually and/or in groups in three classrooms of different grade/language levels. Using concepts learned from the course, they collect initial data of children’s aural, oral, and/or written language development, based on which they then develop and implement a follow-up lesson. The inquiry process helps deepen my student teachers’ understanding of assessment for and as learning and the importance of reflective practice to find ways to meet learner needs.

Dr. David Hornidge – Mount Allison University

The place where my colleagues and I in the MTA Physics Dept have the highest impact is in hiring undergraduate students to assist with our research programs.

Every summer we employ approximately 10-15 students to help with experiments in our research labs, and about half of those use their work as part of their honours thesis requirements. This experience has numerous benefits including exposing students to actual physics research and experiments, along with giving them the tools they need to be successful at the graduate level, in professional programs, or in the modern workforce.

Dr. Youngwon Cho – St. Francis Xavier University

This experiential course on the UN is built around student preparations for, and participation in, the annual National Model UN Conference in New York City, the largest intercollegiate conference of its kind drawing thousands of students from over 400 universities and 130 countries. In the months leading up to the five-day conference, students learn not only about the basics of the UN and its various organs, but they also engage in an in-depth study of their assignment country, its foreign policy orientations, and the agendas they will be tackling at the conference. At the conference they meet and work with students from around the world in proposing, debating and voting on resolutions on major global issues. A briefing session by the permanent mission of the country they are representing is usually part of the conference as well. The experiential, immersive nature of the conference has been highly effective in helping students attain a deeper understanding of the workings of the UN and appreciate the complexity of contemporary international issues confronting the world, while the opportunity to meet and interact with students from around the world has broadened their horizon to analyze such issues from a wide range of global perspectives.


The HIP Visibility Project is a part of a larger HIP project conducted by Research Fellow and Strategist Tiffany MacLennan. The goal of the HIP project is to make HIPs more accessible for both faculty and students. For more information about the HIP project or if you would like to participate, please contact Tiffany at

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