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Going More Global

16 Mar Posted by in International | 7 comments
Going More Global

This academic year should chart as a milestone in Mason’s continuing efforts to expand and diversify its programs in global education. The new Strategic Plan sets truly ambitious goals in the global arena – and we’re far from meeting all of them. I confess some concern that, given the sheer number of strategic targets, global might end up getting a shorter end of the stick, and of course that still might happen. But there are a number of substantive developments to cite that move in the right direction.

  • As noted previously, we have now successfully opened the new campus in Incheon, South Korea, initially with programs in Management and Economics. The entering cohort is respectable in size, mainly Korean but with some from parts of southeast Asia and also six students from the U.S. campus. It’s a promising start.
  • A huge commitment is the new partnership with INTO, toward significantly and fairly rapidly increasing the number of international students on the Northern Virginia campuses. This influx will allow major expansion of global Living and Learning communities and other activities that will impact domestic as well as international students.
  • We continue to work as well on the Global Problem Solving Consortium. Several partner institutions have been using the MOOC we developed on issues in global health, environment, human rights and conflict. A next summer session, on Food Security, will occur in August at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, with students from all the partner schools participating. This is still a project in process, but it is advancing. And it was terrific to learn that Mason won a Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award for its efforts.
  • We will have our first international summer school this year, for students from several countries but particularly Turkey, on American culture and politics. This builds on special programs we’ve mounted in the past, but it looks like we can regularize the efforts (from the Association for International Educators).
  • Expanding study abroad – one of the key ways to meet the Strategic goal of meaningful global experience – is gaining more attention, and participating in a new Institute for International Education program should help here. We also see continued and healthy growth of our Global Affairs major, with links for example to the Incheon campus; and we’re expanding our global faculty. Other established programs, for example the collaborative with several Chinese universities, continue to work well.
  • Other work proceeds, in several academic units but also with our increasingly successful Global Office. For example, we have conducted promising discussions about entrepreneurship partnerships with several provincial Russian governments and universities.

Again, much left to do. But what has been accomplished, and not just recently, reflects both a real University commitment and devoted and imaginative efforts not only from Global units but from the many other operations inevitably involved in projects as ambitious as Mason Korea or the INTO partnerships. A lot of work has been and will be involved, but it’s moving us in the right direction, as we carve an increasingly clear path as a global university.