Many American universities are hurrying to create outposts abroad, particularly in China, India and the Middle East. However, some U.S. universities are doing the exact opposite and bringing foreign institutes to their campus.
This week, Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio, and Bahçeþehir University in Istanbul, Turkey, signed an agreement to create a Center for Turkish Studies at Kent State. The center will offer students practical, experiential training in a program for English as a second language, in addition to conducting research and extending outreach services to companies interested in doing business in Turkey.
"Kent State has a long tradition of offering international programs, but the realities of a fully global society require greatly expanded efforts to internationalize higher education," says Kent State President Dr. Lester A. Lefton. "The Center for Turkish Studies -- and the many other mutually beneficial partnerships we have forged with Bahcesehir University since 1999 -- are among the most important of these efforts."
"Any university that succeeds internationally will definitely succeed locally," adds Kent State Provost Robert G. Frank.
The center will be located in Van Campen Hall, an older building that has been saved from demolition by this new seven-year lease agreement, which builds on Kent State's internationalization plan to increase the revenue-generating capacity of the university's international affairs, as well as increase the number of international students and scholars on the Kent Campus. Funded by Bahçeþehir University, the $2.7 million dollar renovation will begin this summer.
In addition, Bahçeþehir University opened an office at Kent State on April 8. They plan to bring approximately 70 new students to Kent State by this fall. "This type of institutional co-habitation and co-location is a new phenomenon in higher education," says Vice Provost Dr. Steve O. Michael. "It allows institutions to take partnership and collaboration to a new level, enabling institutions to become multinational, and providing an active pipeline for students and faculty exchange, as well as opportunities for joint-degree programming."
For the past six years, Kent State University and Bahçeþehir University have had a memorandum of understanding, which includes sending faculty and students to Turkey and, in return, receiving their students and faculty at Kent State. Currently, 30 Bahçeþehir University graduates are studying at Kent State for their master's degree in areas such as education, technology and communication studies, in addition to taking ESL courses.
"Today's students must experience world cultures, politics, and the dynamics that shape world economies. They must interact with people beyond their geographical borders. They must learn about the changing nature of global competition," says Lefton. He adds: "These are not educational extras; they are economic, societal and professional imperatives."
"As people in the education business we must promote that PEACE like reading, writing or mathematics is a learned skill. This new initiative, which Kent State University and Bahcesehir Univesity have taken, will be a great step forward in creating harmony, mutual understanding and peaceful relations between the young generations of the two countries," says Bahçeþehir University President Dr. Deniz Ülke Ariboðan.