Administration holds second Global Education Summit


Mr. Bob Mayfield, owner of McKay Bricker Framing at the Global Education Summit on March 15 in the Student Center. Photo by Adrianne Bastas.

Jackie Bergeron

Top Kent State University officials as well as leaders from different aspects of campus and the community gathered to discuss Kent State’s plans to build a more culturally competent campus at the second Global Education Summit Thursday.

“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made so far toward reaching really critical goals for Kent State, but there’s a great deal more we can do and should be doing,” President Lester Lefton said. “We want to do it to connect to the world. We want to do it for our students. We want to do it to make the world a better place.”

An example of this connection throughout the world includes international students coming to study at Kent State, as well as more American students studying abroad.

There are more than 1,800 international students at the university this year, as well as 134 students in Kent State’s Florence program this semester, said Dr. Donald Williams, Dean of the Honors College.

During a breakout session called “Expanding Education Abroad,” Williams said the university hopes to have 1,000 students studying abroad by 2015. To do this, the Office of Global Education hopes to increase the number of faculty-led programs [short term] and the number of students enrolled in semester-long programs such as the Florence and Geneva programs.

Kent State is also working to increase domestic internationalization, a concept that originated in Sweden when Malm? University officials realized their domestic students couldn’t interact with international students.

“President Lefton, in a speech to the board of trustees, called for 100 percent of Kent State students to have an international experience by 2021,” said David Di Maria, director of international recruitment, admission and advising for the Office of Global Education. “We believe internationalization at home can be one way to reach that goal.”

A few programs have been implemented to achieve internationalization. International students have the opportunity to go to classrooms around campus and the Portage County area to lend their knowledge about certain subjects such as history. Conversation partners are also available to better their English or help American students learn their language.

The Office of Global Education also created ACIREMA, which is the word America spelled backwards. The program simulates what it’s like for an international student to come to Kent, starting with the application process and ending with their visit through customs.

The reason behind the university’s big push for internationalization at home and students going abroad is so students will become successful once their time at Kent State is over.

“The successful globalization of northeast Ohio is no longer an option or even just an aspiration,” said Ronn Richard, CEO and President of the Cleveland Foundation, during the plenary address. “In my view, it is imperative that this region becomes global if we are to thrive in the months and years to come.”

Contact Jackie Bergeron at [email protected].