Global Systems Thinking

Thriving in a Global World

In this globally connected world, professionals in every field need the tools and perspective to connect across communities. Whether it is working through pandemics or succeeding in a global economy, a global systems thinking approach will help you improve impact and results in your work and for your organization. This fully-online 10-week course will include modules on global citizenship, effective intercultural communication, global engagement and more.




Time Commitment

This 10-week class is set up in five modules, which include a virtual class meeting, readings and assignments, guest speakers and opportunities for individual feedback. 


Cost: $200

This course will benefit any participant but can be particularly beneficial to the following: 

  • Teachers and Informal Educators
  • Business owners and entrepreneurs
  • Policy Makers
  • Public health and Public Safety officials
  • Non-profit professionals


This course is offered fully online and is self-paced.


Start the course July 20 or anytime after.


$200 per student



The class is set up in five modules. Each module will include a virtual class meeting, readings and assignments as well as guest speakers and opportunities for individual feedback from the instructor. 

Each module will be covered over two weeks and are as follows: 

Module 1: Global Citizenship 101

The goal of this course is to broaden the lens through which students see the world. Students are introduced to global citizenship and will develop skills needed to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world. Frameworks are applied to foster global competencies such as effective communication, collaboration, critical thinking and empathy. Students draw on personal strengths and real world experiences to develop solutions to global challenges. This course is appropriate for students and professionals in different fields of study and skills learned can be applied to all facets of life.

Module 2: Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and to combat climate change. SDGs serve as a roadmap for students to examine global issues in a local context. Students learn strategies to identify and utilize community assets to create research-based sustainable solutions to global challenges addressed in the SDGs. Participation as the action dimension of global citizenship is a focus, engaging students in project-based learning to put ideas into practice. Students can tailor the course to match their interests and can apply skills learned to future projects or careers.

Module 3: Power of Speech

The ability to communicate effectively is essential to success in any field, builds confidence and empowers individuals to share ideas to make a difference in their communities. The benefits of public speaking for career success and civic engagement is a focus, helping students increase confidence and communicate effectively in professional settings. A strengths based approach is applied, providing students with techniques to incorporate strengths into an elevator pitch and in interviews. Students engage in facilitated dialogue to recognize different perspectives, empathize across differences and reflect on how effective communication fosters collaboration and can create positive social change.

Module 4: Building Bridges

Migration is a cross-cutting issue that connects to all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs are used as a framework to help students understand the challenges of a globalized world through the lens of migration. Students explore migration issues in a local and global context through virtual cross-cultural learning with U.S. and global practitioners doing in immigration advocacy work. SDG #16, Peace and Justice, will be a focus to examine issues of inequity and social justice and how migration and human rights intersect. By engaging in virtual cross-cultural interactions, students develop global competencies such as enhanced intercultural communication, collaboration and empathy.

Module 5: Virtual Global Engagement

The goal of this course is to foster engagement across borders by virtually connecting students with global practitioners. Through video conferencing, international experts will present how their work addresses global challenges. Students will be exposed to people from all over the world doing work in the areas of immigration, education, health and human rights. By connecting across borders, students move beyond their immediate communities, enhance intercultural communication through cross-cultural interactions, values multiple perspectives and identify career paths that they might be interested in pursuing.


Mary Ellen Lynch, M.Ed.

A headshot of Mary Ellen Lynch
Mary Ellen Lynch, M.Ed.

As Adjunct Professor and CEO & Founder of Mary Ellen Lynch Consulting, Mary Ellen fosters global citizenship in and outside of the classroom. While earning her Master's Degree, Mary Ellen traveled to Costa Rica to conduct research for her thesis and to assist with enhancing access to education in rural communities. Her fieldwork exposed her to global challenges that compelled her to embark on a career of education and community engagement. As CEO & Founder of Mary Ellen Lynch Consulting, Mary Ellen’s mission is to inspire compassion, change, and sustainability by helping individuals and communities integrate global citizenship into schools, businesses and organizations.

Mary Ellen worked in the refugee resettlement field for over eight years and presented at the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants National Conference. Mary Ellen has merged her professional experience with her international education background in her role as Adjunct Professor. Mary Ellen teaches community development, global migration, and public speaking courses at the Community College of Rhode Island, Quinebaug Valley Community College, and Roger Williams University. Mary Ellen’s foundational classroom goal is to broaden the lens through which students see the world by incorporating global competencies into curriculum to prepare students for an increasingly interconnected world.

Roger Williams University selected Mary Ellen as a 2020 Hassenfeld Faculty Fellow in Community Engagement, allowing her to expand the integration of community involvement in her teaching. Mary Ellen was selected as a 2019/2020 Women’s Policy Institute Fellow by the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island to expand her knowledge of systems change through policy. Mary Ellen is actively engaged in the community and serves on the boards of Providence Student Union and Women's Refugee Care. She is a Leadership Rhode Island Strengths Coach and trained facilitator with Narrative 4, a global organization that fosters empathy through the exchange of stories. Mary Ellen graduated from Boston University with a Master’s Degree in International Educational Development and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island.