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Office of International Affairs Changes Name

Posted Aug. 8, 2011 | Emily Vincent

Kent State Univeristy's Office of International Affairs is changing its name to the Office of Global Education.

Kent State University’s Office of International Affairs will be known by a new name. Starting Aug. 15, the unit will change its name to the Office of Global Education in order to more accurately describe their expanding mission.

“The term ‘global’ has the implication of bringing down barriers and de-emphasizing borders,” says Dr. Mary Anne Saunders, executive director of the office. “In literature and in the field, more institutions are changing to the term ‘global education.’ This term denotes transnational activities — not just between two nations but with multiple nations working together. We consider ourselves to be cutting edge in terms of the usage of the name, and the name change helps reinforce that our focus is education.”

Saunders also says the new name will help avoid confusion among prospective students. “Our current name, the Office of International Affairs, can be confused by people thinking our unit offers a major in international affairs,” she explains. “We want to be clear we are an office of global education. It is a more precise term that reflects what we do here at Kent State — global student recruitment and scholar services as well as education abroad.”

International student enrollment – both graduate and undergraduate – has increased by 69 percent over the past three years. “Although we recruit from more than 91 countries, efforts to recruit international students to Kent State are concentrated on China, India and Saudi Arabia,” according to Saunders. Also, this academic year, the office will be working to increase the numbers of global scholars studying at Kent State. “We wish to increase the number of scholars from Fulbright and other prestigious programs such as Muskie, AMIDEAST and LASPAU,” Saunders says. “In addition, we strive to maintain and increase our high retention rate of the students we attract by focusing on programming to make the students feel that they are a welcome part of the university and Kent community. Our office creates programming to reflect the unique needs of international students. We have worked with the university to develop housing options that will better integrate international and domestic students in terms of communal space, rooms and activities so they can share culture and develop competencies required in today’s increasingly interdependent economy. An example of is this is the International Village Experience in Van Campen Hall, which opens this fall semester,” Saunders explains.

Another new name change is that the division formerly called Study Abroad will now be called Education Abroad to reflect the increased numbers of ways students can benefit from a global experience— such as study, experiential learning, or internships outside of the United States, or participating in an on-campus international initiative. “Over the past three years, the number of students studying abroad has increased by 68 percent,” Saunders says. “Our goal is to double the current number by 2015. In addition to offering our high-profile centers in Florence and Geneva, we’re looking at an English-language option in the United Kingdom and a Spanish-language option in Spain. We are also increasing short-term study abroad options for our students by supporting and encouraging Kent State faculty to create these types of programs in their colleges,” Saunders states.

According to Saunders, “Another priority for the office is to build effective partnerships with other universities, reaching out globally to multiple partners in different countries on different continents. We want to be very strategic about our global partners, making sure that our MOUs (Memorandums of Understanding) are well thought out and offer benefits to both Kent State and the partner institution that make the relationship long-lasting and effective.”

The Office of Global Education will continue to be located in Van Campen Hall, Room 106, on the Kent Campus. The office can be reached at 330-672-7980 or online at