This week I received a directive (the precise source of the directive is not clear nor is the intent) to demonstrate that in my classes I teach my students to become “citizens of the world.” I will spare you other references that would irritate many who visit the porch. Moreover, I’m not sure if the instructions I received reflect the desires of an outside accrediting agency or some internal committee. Be that as it may, I was stunned to discover that any authority would assume the universality of this moral agenda.
This is part of the response that I wrote:
“With regard to my classes and my teaching objectives, I hereby reject as a violation of my conscience and my moral obligations as a teacher, any diversity objective that requires that I teach a specific moral claim about diversity. I do NOT accept that being a citizen of the world is a worthy goal. If I did accept this goal, I would reject that authority of any group to require that this be my goal. So, nowhere in my course objectives will you find anything that one might construe to being support of that objective. (And the less said about the utterly incomprehensible phrase “global community” the better.)”
Because the directive came to me in such imperial innocence, as though they were asking me to make sure that I included my email address on my syllabus or to establish clearly my grading policies, I was puzzled. Have academics so completely lost contact with academic freedom, with genuine diversity of views, and with deeper conceptions of cultural and rooted variety, that they believe that making students into citizens of the world is an unambiguously worthy educational objective?