Goal 3: Realize Penn State’s Potential as a Global University
Strategy 3.1: Establish the Office of Global Programs as the Locus of the University’s International Strategy
Many impressive international activities are taking place at Penn State currently. Yet many of these initiatives are occurring in isolation. Because there is relatively little coordination, international activities in different colleges and campuses are sometimes not fully leveraged. Currently, we have no central repository for information on college- and departmentally based activities, or on individual faculty member collaborations overseas, so it is very difficult to know what the extent of Penn State’s involvement in other countries with other partner universities and faculties might be. That must change if Penn State is to maximize its investments in international activities.
The University Office of Global Programs (UOGP) must have the mandate and the necessary resources to provide real leadership for a wide range of activities. It can be a clearinghouse for current and comprehensive information on the full spectrum of international activities and engagements. An enhanced communication and technology infrastructure can assist in moving the global agenda forward.
UOGP must engage, support, and partner with the academic colleges, administrative units, and campuses and should be given leadership responsibility to serve them as the locus of Penn State’s international activities and initiatives if we are to achieve the successes to which we aspire. The UOGP can be much more than an international student processing center, an education abroad program coordinator, and a facilitating unit for visiting foreign scholars. UOGP could lead development of adequate and flexible processes that would enable transfer of credits and degrees, facilitating global education partnerships and allowing students to obtain joint degrees across the world. Although it should not be a unit that engages in research directly, UOGP needs to be aware of the key international research linkages that exist within the University. It must be forward-looking in providing information and seeding initiatives that will produce valuable outcomes in research, teaching, and outreach international collaborations.