Munk One

Faculty List

J. Wong, MA, PhD  


Munk One, provided by the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, provides first-year students with an interdisciplinary program focused on innovation and global problem-solving, investigating the central questions that lie at the heart of teaching and research in the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, namely issues of global institutions, markets and civil society. Through case studies of some of the most complex challenges worldwide, students in Munk One will examine innovations that have succeeded and failed, when innovation occurs, how innovation can be fostered, and how obstacles to innovation can be overcome. Students, faculty members, and practitioners working together draw on the breadth of interdisciplinary research and teaching in the Munk School to examine problems and solutions for complex global problems.

The Munk One experience integrates small group seminars with hands-on research and analysis of global problems. Limited to an enrolment of 25, students in Munk One enrol in the two (2.0 credits) courses offered in the Program. The seminar courses promote small-group discussion and emphasize research, analytical, and presentation skills. A lab course gives students the unique opportunity to tackle real-world problems with faculty and graduate students, building connections with their coursework through research-based opportunities that identify problems around the globe and seek to address them through innovative and empirically-grounded solutions. Beyond the classroom, Munk One engages students in the dynamic global conversation occurring in the Munk School, and offers students a vast array of co-curricular offerings such as access to the Munk School’s 500 events each year, insights from leading practitioners, field visits, leadership events, curated readings, and films. In the summer following their first year, Munk One offers students opportunities to apply these skills in the field by taking part in courses offered in places like Argentina, Israel, and Singapore.

By focusing on innovation throughout their foundational year, undergraduate students will receive early immersion in leading thinking on the current global architecture across the sciences, professional fields, humanities, and with perspectives drawn from around the world. Because of the intensive intellectual experience that Munk One will provide, we deliver these offerings through collaboration with the School’s flagship Master of Global Affairs and Master of Public Policy Programs. The result is a unique bridging of foundational year undergraduate education with the insights being developed in the School’s professional graduate program. In so doing, we expect that Munk One: Global Innovation will build a community of undergraduate students who are passionate about the increasingly interconnected and multipolar world in which we live, and who are also linked in closely with the graduate and professional student cohorts pursuing related questions across the Munk School.

The course offerings for Munk One are specifically designed to meet these goals. Global Innovation I: Issues and Perspectives emphasizes innovation as a key driver of economic growth, population health, and societal success. Relying on contemporary and historical cases across the globe, this course engages students on the question of when innovation occurs, how to identify moments of innovation, motivates students to explore who benefits from innovation and how innovation can be fostered. Global Innovation II: Challenges and Solutions, pushes students to explore the potential problems that often limit or hamper innovation – such as the challenges of implementation and scale. In so doing, students engage directly with the problem-solving approach that is also core to the Munk School’s graduate program, by relying on case studies of some of the most complex challenges worldwide, and examining interventions that have succeeded and failed to address them.

As identified above, in addition to seminar courses and co-curricular activities, students in Munk One will each be placed in research labs working on real-world global problems, such as digital governance, environment, global health, ethnic conflict and security, and economic development. Through these laboratory opportunities students will work with interdisciplinary teams to conduct research, develop reports, participate in roundtables, and learn how to identify and address complex global problems. These labs uniquely provide students a platform to draw from and refine their Foundational Year experience. Students will gain experience in a structured multidisciplinary approach to addressing global problems, engage in innovative global problem-solving, and drill down on substantive areas of interest within the field of global affairs.

All first-year students in the Faculty of Arts & Science (St. George campus) are eligible for admission. Students must submit an online application with a resume and supplementary application.

Program Director: Professor Rie Kijima,

Program and Events Coordinator: Simone DeFacendis, or 416-946-0326

Regarding Munk One Courses

Munk One students intending to pursue Peace, Conflict and Justice, Contemporary Asian Studies, and Public Policy programs (undergraduate programs run through the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy), are also eligible to count some of their Munk One coursework toward their degree requirements.

Munk One Courses

MUN101H1 - Global Innovation I: Issues and Perspectives

Hours: 24L

Innovation has always been a key driver of economic growth, population health, and societal success. Transformative change has historically been linked to major innovations such as urban sanitation, pasteurization, the printing press and the industrial revolution. Currently, the opportunity to enhance life chances worldwide relies on innovating for the poor, social innovation, and the ability to harness scientific and technological knowledge. What precisely is innovation? When does innovation happen? Who benefits from innovation? How can innovation be fostered, and how do innovations spread? Relying on major global transformations and country-specific case studies (for example, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel and India), this course examines the drivers of innovation, the political, social, economic, and scientific and technological factors that are critical to promoting innovation and addressing current global challenges, and the consequences of innovation. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Prerequisite: Admission to Munk One
Distribution Requirements: Social Science
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

MUN102H1 - Global Innovation II: Challenges and Solutions

Hours: 24L

Governing public goods has been an age-old concern for social scientists and policymakers alike. This is not surprising since the provision of global public goods is riddled by problems of collective action. In this course, we focus on how to implement solutions through states, markets and communities.

The first objective is to familiarize students with the concept of global public goods, the different mechanisms that can provide these goods and the challenges that emerge from lacking incentives to secure their provision. To this end, the course will introduce theories from sociology, political science, philosophy, and history to help us understand different types of governance mechanisms and how they may be used to scale global solutions. Theories can help us explain the tensions between cooperating for the public good at the expense of sacrificing individual goals, or why certain areas of our lives, like the Internet, seem to produce public goods without any formal mechanism of cooperation.

The second objective is to use the class and subject of study as an arena to model and practice the kind of learning that is expected of university students. The main skills that the course will help students target and develop are: research (finding, evaluating and assimilating reliable information); writing (developing ideas into logically written arguments); and critical analysis of arguments presented in the readings and debated in class (this includes identifying the key assumptions that are implicit in different theories as well as inherent in our own positions on various questions related to governance). Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Prerequisite: Admission to Munk One
Distribution Requirements: Social Science
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

MUN105Y1 - Global Problem-Solving: Laboratory Opportunities

Hours: 48L

This course teaches students how to conduct analytically rigorous social science research to improve their insights into complex global problems and devise innovative solutions to address them. A unique feature of this class is that students have the opportunity to learn by doing. Students work hands-on in one of several labs dealing with some of the most intractable global problems of our time in the areas of the environment, health, digital governance, security and the gap between rich and poor. By the end of this course students will be able to:

  1. Experience and practice the process of social science research
  2. Narrow the scope of a complex global challenge into a manageable research problem that can be tackled over the course of the semester
  3. Improve their knowledge and insights on a particular global problem
  4. Develop a viable, compelling and implementable solution that can help address an aspect of a global problem
  5. Pitch a solution in a compelling way to a jury of experts in global affairs

Students will work with their peers in small seminar classes and lab group settings, mentored by graduate teaching assistants specializing in global affairs, expert faculty and senior policy advisors dedicated to addressing global issues in the fields of the environment, health, security, digital governance and political economy. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Prerequisite: Admission to Munk One
Distribution Requirements: Social Science
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

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