Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Kathleen King, Ed.D.

Co-Major Professor

William H. Young, III, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Donald A. Dellow, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Waynne B. James, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Janet Richards, Ph.D.


Curriculum, Development, Design Education, Design Thinking, Qualitative


This inquiry investigated four design educators’ perspectives and beliefs of global competence teaching and learning, and aimed to inform effective global competence curricula planning and instruction across disciplines. The literature uncovered multiple reasons to warrant design educator reflections: (a) similarities among global competence and design thinking characteristics, (b) design education accreditation emphasis on globally oriented standards, and (c) design thinking as a resource to improve practices across disciplines. Accordingly, the inquiry employed a qualitative design and a multiple case-study approach. Data collection methods included: (a) interviews, (b) image artifacts, and (c) researcher reflective memos. A comparative analysis used systematic coding to reveal core theme statements grounded in the data.

The inquiry revealed all four design educators believed: (a) active learning and information gathering activities were effective ways to teach global competence, (b) interaction with others from different backgrounds contributed to global competence development, (c) a formal education experience changed the ways they view the world and empathize with others, (d) the critique was an effective global competence teaching and learning tool, and (e) the role of perception processes fostered ability to recognize qualities of other people and places. All four design educators’ image artifacts represented meanings and interpretations of global competence as human-centered, and expressed physical connection. Ultimately, three overarching discoveries emerged: (a) design educators use mindshifts to develop global competence, (b) design educators are makers of their global competence development, and (c) design educators are mature motivators of global competence development.

The inquiry concluded with a model for design education global competence development grounded in the data and the literature. Implications for action connected to three higher education teaching and learning areas: (a) mindfulness, (b) the maker movement, and (c) mindsets. Overall, the four design educators’ information-rich narratives and practical curricula design applications presented in this inquiry aim to encourage other educators to relate the global dimensions of their own disciplines to current teaching and research practice.