Campus Life

Cultivating connections through the Global Citizenship Cohort

The Global Citizenship Cohort (GCC), now in its third year, has been providing first-year students with an enhanced first-year educational experience.

Students are given the unique opportunity to connect some of their first-year courses around a common theme while interacting with a group of like-minded students. The theme for the past few years has been very popular, and centres around water, sustainability and social justice. Students in the cohort have been provided with connections to professors, mentors, job opportunities and volunteer opportunities that complement their academic experiences. This combination offers a unique and engaging undergraduate experience and a head start in whatever career they choose to pursue.

Students in the GCC take five of their 10 first-year courses together: two in the fall, two in the spring, and seminar - for Cohort students only - that runs all year. These five courses are taken as a group, giving the opportunity to build friendships among students with similar interests, be taught and mentored by a core group of inspiring professors, develop leadership skills, and learn how to have a positive impact on the world.

If students already have a major in mind, the cohort will help to fulfill electives and liberal education requirements. If they haven’t chosen a major yet, these courses will give a taste of the variety of disciplines available and help to find a path for the future. Students who complete the five courses as part of the group will receive a Certificate of Global Citizenship upon graduating.

Students that participated in the GCC have gone on to pursue new interests they discovered while in the program.

“Even though my major is environmental science, this semester I am doing an independent study in anthropology that is related to land use issues in Ireland. Taking the anthropology class as part of the cohort last year showed me that this discipline also gives a very important perspective on environmental issues and that it is important to look at both the scientific and social science aspects of an issue,” says Flavia Egli.

Last year, students in the GCC had the opportunity to work on a Southern Alberta Water Charter project with the Oldman Watershed Council (OWC), a community-based, not-for-profit group that works to find practical solutions to environmental challenges that impact us all.

Several of the students formed lasting relationships at the OWC and continue their work either as volunteers, or in the case of Antoine Gendron, on the board of directors.

“The project gave us the time and space to apply what we are learning and our passions into the community and the university. It allowed us to start using our potential beyond hypothetical situations,” explains Gendron.

Jace Briand also volunteers with the OWC and is doing an independent study with one of his GCC professors.

“I really enjoyed all the different presentations we had and how our professors showed us how the many different subjects are tied together. It was great to see so many connections between the majors and minors represented by the cohort members,” he explains. “It was the perfect way to start my first year of university. The cohort is directly responsible for helping me decide which educational path was right for me.”

Katelyn Arik puts special appreciation into the social aspect of the cohort.

“I enjoyed how as a first-year in the cohort you get to deal with the challenges of being a first-year with other people that are going through the same things as you. The cohort made it easier to find a group of friends too because everyone shares the same classes,” she says. “It may seem scary, but just sit next to someone and start a conversation. University is hard enough as it is; sometimes all you need is to know you are not the only one struggling. Push yourself to think outside the box and challenge yourself no matter how simple the task seems.”

In 2018-2019 the GCC will expand to offer an additional theme: one group will focus on water and sustainability, while a second group will focus on identity and politics. Both themes will offer different perspectives on what we see taking place in the world around us. Each theme will also ensure that students are well-prepared for their second, third and fourth years at uLethbridge, as well as for their transition to careers beyond university. Not only do students receive a unique social jump start to their university career, they also have guided access to further opportunities such as applied studies, independent studies, co-operative education, and teaching assistant positions.

Applications for the Fall 2018 cohort are open until June 1st, 2018 and entry is competitive so space is limited. Students in any Faculty of Arts & Science major can participate and students from other majors will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Please feel free to contact the coordinator Dr. Jay Gamble (403-382-7178 with any questions you might have, or learn more about the student cohort at