Study abroad list may widen

Jamie Shearer

Saudi school a possible partner

Kent State’s recent partnership with a university in Saudi Arabia could lead to more study abroad opportunities for students and faculty at both universities.

If the first phase of Kent State’s partnership with King Saud University is successful, a potential second phase involving students could begin after 2010.

The partnership is the result of several universities around the world, including the University of Cambridge in England, competing to teach entrepreneurial courses at King Saud University.

King Saud University is the “number one university in the Middle East,” said Steve Michael, vice provost for diversity and academic initiatives.

Michael said the partnership between the two universities is exciting and will benefit Kent State.

“That’s just one step toward internationalization of Kent State,” he said. “That is the future of any credible university.”

Michael said students “cannot afford any education that is narrow,” since a global society is waiting for them after graduation.

And Kent State, making its name known in the world, is helping to broaden that education.

“As the university builds relationship with other universities around, they create opportunities and doors for students and faculty to move to all those areas and learn from all those areas,” Michael said. “That gives a different education environment for students and that prepares them to become that global citizens that they are supposed to be.”

The first phase of the partnership will go through June 2010, and during this time Kent State educators will give King Saud University students an entrepreneurship education, which will prepare students to look for opportunities and create a business in response to specific needs.

Michael said King Saud University is looking for instructors who have the philosophical understanding of entrepreneurship and understand the American system, so they can teach effectively.

When he first found out about the competition, Michael immediately thought of Kent State math professor, M. Kazim Kahn. Kahn, who is leading the team of seven educators, has experience in that area and knows people in the region.

Bob Korte is a doctoral student working toward an applied mathematics degree and will join Kahn and his adviser at King Saud. Kahn and Korte are the only two in the team who aren’t from the business school.

Korte will be teaching introductory entrepreneurial courses this semester, and he may go back to teach a second semester.

“I think it’ll open up some opportunities for going over there,” Korte said.

In the potential second phase, the universities would share a long-term partnership in all areas, not just entrepreneurship. If Kent State reaches the second phase, students and faculty will be able to attend King Saud University and vice versa.

Michael is excited about the thought of a sustained relationship between Kent State and King Saud University.

“It’s like children of the same family raised in two different places and all of the sudden they meet,” he said.

Contact faculty affairs reporter Jamie Shearer at [email protected].