Kent State’s Office of Global Education Hosts Internationalization Symposium | Kent State University

Kent State’s Office of Global Education Hosts Internationalization Symposium

Over the past few years, Kent State University’s Office of Global Education has made significant strides in bringing international students to the Kent Campus, while also championing a multicultural, global perspective across the university. As a result of its progress to date, the Office of Global Education will host a symposium on Friday, April 1, at the Kent State Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Kent to evaluate its efforts at internationalization and to plan for the future. The symposium is appropriately titled “Internationalization: Building on Our Success.” Besides Kent State faculty and staff, attendees will include globally minded individuals from throughout the Ohio educational system and beyond. The symposium gets underway at 8:15 a.m., and a mixer follows the symposium at 4:30 p.m.

In part, the symposium is a celebration of the distance Kent State has come as a global institution. In the past three years, the international student population at the university has more than doubled to roughly 3,000 students from 110 countries. Such a population level of international students signifies that Kent State has become a globally marketable university because it is one of only three schools in Ohio with more than 3,000 international students.

Although its reputation is well-recognized around the world, the university still has numerous opportunities to expand and grow its global reach – given the proper focus and resources. Another purpose of the symposium, then, is to look at the bigger picture and steps the university can take to continue its success toward globalization. 

“We want to do everything we can for our international students,” says Frank Congin, director of academic relations at the Office of Global Education. “We want them to be integrated into campus life to get the best experience possible.”

During the symposium’s morning session, the discussions will be focused around what other academic institutions are doing in terms of international students. The first featured keynote speaker will be Julian Schuster, Ph.D., provost at Webster University, who will address Webster’s unique international model and the success it has had as a global institution. Following Schuster’s address, president of Global Cleveland, Joseph Cimperman, and Marcello Fantoni, Ph.D., Kent State’s associate provost for global education, will moderate a conversation, which will provide the audience an opportunity to voice their input and insights about internationalization in higher education. 

Prior to the lunch break, Kent State President Beverly Warren will discuss her vision for the university and what direction she sees the university taking in terms of globalization. 

“Dr. Warren has a real passion for not only international students, but also study abroad," Congin says. "That will come across in her speech and will really help guide the afternoon discussions.”

The afternoon session will consist of conversations regarding local and Ohio initiatives toward academic internationalization. James Blank, Ph.D., dean of Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences, and Martha Merill, Ph.D., associate professor in Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services, will present how the education of both domestic and international students can be greatly enhanced through internationalization. Afterwards, Lauren McGarity, globalization liaison for the Ohio Department of Higher Education, will provide an introduction to the Ohio G.R.E.A.T initiative, during which she will discuss the benefits international students provide Ohio both economically and culturally.

The symposium also will serve as a platform for some of Kent State’s international students to showcase their talents and talk about why they came to the United States. In the morning, students from Oman, Iran and India will present poetry readings in their native language, while the Mozart Quintet, a group of Chinese students in Kent State’s School of Music, will present a short musical performance. In the afternoon, the Colombian Ensemble, a quintet of students from Colombia in the School of Music, also will present a short performance for the audience.

Congin says because of the diversity of the people attending – both from the university as well as the local and international levels – a wide variety of opinions and thought-provoking discussions should occur during the symposium.

“We’ve invited a lot of external people including people from the Ohio legislature, the Kent city mayor, Kent city councilmembers and educators from other universities,” Congin says. “There will also be people in attendance from India, China and Brazil, among others. More than anything, this is a discussion – a time to get together to see what we’re doing and what others are doing. My hope is that we come out of this with a few big questions raised. We won’t be solving anything immediately, but it will open our eyes to interesting perspectives, especially from abroad.”

For more information or if you would like to attend the Internationalization Symposium, please RSVP at www.kent.edu/globaleducation/internationalization-symposium-2016.