Great Decisions at the University of North Carolina - NC

What is Great Decisions?


Overview of Great Decisions

At Carolina, the Great Decisions program is a class with two core parts. In the fall, an eighteen member coordinating committee of Carolina’s top undergraduates find eight speakers on eight current international topics and manage the logistical, financial, and administrative aspects of creating a lecture series.

Committee members receive one hour of fall semester pass/fail credit. In the spring, the committee members become Teaching Assistants for the class, INTS 393 (093), which centers on the eight high-profile lectures. Discussion sessions after each lecture are run by the committee members, who also assign weekly readings and create written assignments. Committee members receive three hours of graded credit in the spring for participation in the program and the seminar that follows the lecture series.

The Great Decisions Committee is a singular experience in leadership, communication, and management and offers undergraduates a rare opportunity to be Teaching Assistants and meet international leaders.Enrollees into INTS 393 receive one hour of pass/fail credit. Our motto is critical thinking in a collaborative setting, and our goals include increasing the intellectual climate on campus and engaging tomorrow’s leaders on contemporary events in foreign affairs.

Why is Great Decisions important to UNC?

On campus for over 20 years, the UNC Great Decisions Program is now the largest of more than two thousand programs in the nation. Our efforts were formally applauded by former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Each year, we bring in speakers who are national and international decision makers. Recent speakers have included the UN Secretary-General for External Affairs, Gillian Martin Sorenson, the former Commander of the Strategic Air Command, General Lee Butler, the first-ever US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom and former President of World Vision, Robert Seiple, and Foreign Policy Advisor to Vice President Al Gore and Director of the Sanford Institute, Bruce Jentleson.

Approximately 400 undergraduates and community participants enroll in Great Decisions (INTS 393), and all lectures are free and open to the public. We take UNC to the communities that surround us. The committee runs an outreach program to local retirement communities and secondary schools. Continuing Education Credit is available to secondary school teachers who enroll.

Special thanks is given to the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center for Global Initiatives, and Curriculum in International Studies for their continued support of the Great Decisions program. Without their support and funding, we would not be able to continue with the caliber of lectures we've held for over a decade.

The Curriculum in Global Studies