WSSU

WSSU Included in New Book Exploring Strategies for International Academic Partnerships

December 7, 2011

Winston-Salem State University’s (WSSU) efforts to expand international partnerships to provide opportunities for the school and its students are included in a newly published book as the results of a collaboration by Dr. Peggy Valentine, dean of the School of Health Sciences, Dr. Jessica Bailey, dean of the School of Business and Economics, and Dr. Joti Sekhon, director of International Programs.
    The chapter is included in Developing Strategic International Partnerships: Models for Initiating and Sustaining Innovative Institutional Linkages, a book written by experts and practitioners from various institutions around the world to help colleges and universities expand beyond their campuses.  It features recommendations, models and strategies for initiating, managing and sustaining a range of international partnerships that have become more important as colleges and universities understand that learning, research and institution-building are now taking place in a more global environment.
    “Our chapter is a case study of activities Winston-Salem State has undertaken,” said Valentine.  “It addresses the unique perspective of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the challenges that we face in entering the international arena, especially given the limited resources available.  Yet, we understand that our students must be prepared to serve and to compete in a global society. While there are certainly barriers, there are also opportunities for HBCUs to increase involvement in international education through diversity initiatives, particularly those that encourage partnership and collaboration with minority-serving institutions.”
     “In addition to opportunities for study abroad, HBCUs need to recognize the importance of internationalization in the curricula of a university and in the lives of students,” Bailey added.  “We must support efforts to increase student interest in international studies and increase exposure to knowledge and cultures from around the world.  Our students must be prepared to work in a global economy and compete on a global level for the best professional opportunities.”

It is estimated that fewer than 100 WSSU students participated in study abroad programs during the university’s 119-year history.  Many of those students, however, have taken advantage of international opportunities during the past decade when the university expanded its international education effort.  A key factor in that expansion was the establishment of an Office of International Programs in 2000 which has led to a significant increase in WSSU students studying abroad in the past two years. 
    “The office has focused on international education which includes study abroad and curriculum infusion, as well as faculty and student exchanges,” explained Sekhon.  “For example, we are involved in a comprehensive partnership with the University of Cape Coast in Ghana that exposes our students to the political, economic, social and cultural realities of contemporary Africa.  The faculty-led summer program in Ghana focuses on the historical legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the British and French colonialism in Africa.”

    Other WSSU examples in the book include:
•    Students in health sciences serving on research teams in Europe and Africa through a partnership with Johns Hopkins University;
•    An international fieldwork practices that develops culturally competitive skills for occupational therapy students working in partnership with Santa Paula University in Costa Rica; and
•    The development of international courses, including instructors from France teaching business classes to provide cross-cultural interaction among students.

    “Significant challenges still remain, particularly with regard to resources for internationalization in the midst of sharp cuts in the university’s budget,” added Sekhon.  “We continue, however, to focus efforts on providing our students with opportunities to have a more global approach in their education, whether it through study abroad or study on our campus. It also is exciting to work with faculty in the various schools on campus and the College of Arts & Sciences to develop programs in various parts of the world. In fact, the effort to develop a strategic plan for engagement with India is the impetus behind the collaboration between Dean Valentine, Dean Bailey and myself to contribute to this volume.”
    Developing Strategic International Partnerships is the sixth book in a global education research report series published through a partnership between the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS).  In addition to information based on U.S. experiences, the book also includes entries from the United Kingdom, France, India and Ethiopia.   The IIE and AIFS have anticipated that the book will gain attention with institutions within and outside of the United States that are seeking to develop international partnerships.

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