University, Politics and Society in the United States, with ESL

This course is a multi-disciplinary introduction to the political, social, cultural, and philosophical landscape of US higher education. The instructional team includes faculty from the fields of Education and Youth Studies, English and Media Studies, Political Science, and Intercultural Communication.

Each week has a thematic focus:

  • Comparative international education and a broad survey of higher education in the United States. This segment helps students understand university study in the US in its philosophical, historical, and pedagogical context. Students will understand the range of university types in the US, how they differ from higher education in other countries, regional differences, and the comparative benefits of large and small institutions. 
  • Understanding the Liberal Arts. This segment goes more in depth on the topic of the liberal arts approach to learning, the benefits of exposure to a breadth of disciplines, the concept of integrative outcome-based learning, and how majors connect to careers. 
  • Skills for Academic Success. This segment covers the essential knowledge that students need to succeed in their undergraduate studies. This includes the format of seminars and lectures, participating in class discussions, note taking, working with sources, study skills, time management, and understanding plagiarism rules. 
  • Intercultural communication, Social Identities and Adjustment. This segment provides an introduction to the core principles of intercultural communication and navigating a new cultural and social environment. This includes understanding prevailing models of intercultural communication, concepts of power and privilege, understanding how social identities change in a new context, and how to move beyond one’s comfort zone toward growth. 
  • Politics, Policies and Navigating US Society. This segment unpacks some of the noteworthy political trends in the United States, such as US government, constructs of race and ethnic identity, health care systems, and hate crimes. 
  • Putting the Pieces Together. Students integrate the themes of the course in their final project, working with their ESL advisor, to craft a personal statement for their studies in the US. 

Students follow pre-recorded lectures by Beloit College faculty, then work with their ESL advisors on assignments designed to digest the material through English language exercises. 



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