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Connecting With Partner Institutions

Published: August 17, 2015

Faculty and students at CSULB don’t need to be Dora the Explorer to globalize their study. All they need to do is to visit one of 62 partner institutions sponsored by the Center for International Education (CIE).

Jeet Joshee, Associate Vice President for International Education and Global Engagement and Dean of the College of Continuing and Professional Education, recently outlined the role of CSULB’s exchange partner institutions.

Joshee, who has been in his current position since 2008, defines a “partner institution” in the context of one-to-one student and faculty exchange.

“That means students and faculty may participate through these exchange partnerships all over the world,” he explained. “The way it works with exchange partnerships is that students pay their tuition at their home institution. When they go to Hong Kong, they don’t pay the tuition there. This allows our students to pick and choose to fit their study goals from the institutions we have partnered with, whether it is Dankook University in Seoul, South Korea, Beijing Normal University or Italy’s John Cabot University. Right now we host about 250-300 international students through exchange partnerships every year. A similar number of CSULB students study overseas through this program.”

When faculty are looking for the right place for research, a partner institution can be the key.

“We can help connect our faculty with faculty from overseas for joint research or publication,” he explained. “They can conduct their research independently or jointly at that institution and, in many cases, the host campus provides office space and a computer and access to campus resources such as the library. We do the same for the international faculty who come here.”

One of the university’s basic tenets in creating these institutional partnerships is the potential for global perspectives it provides for all CSULB graduates.

“Without that global perspective, it is becoming more difficult to compete in today’s global economy,” Joshee said. “Having participated in a student exchange in a different country, our students come away with a valuable experience with the global perspective. Living there and interacting with people of different cultures makes all the difference. Some research exists that suggests students who have had an international experience get better employment opportunities. International companies look at study abroad as an asset when they think of hiring somebody.”

CSULB is as much about research as it is about teaching. The statement “CSULB is a teaching-intensive and research-driven institution,” is true, he said. “Our faculty does a tremendous amount of research. When our faculty members have the opportunity to collaborate with an international colleague, it enhances the quality of research. Many of the departments here host in any given semester about 30 to 40 faculty in residence at CSULB. Faculty exchange is great.”

Having international partners increases the globalization efforts of CSULB. At home, “International students bring their cultural perspective to our campus. They increase our global diversity. Our students learn from them and they learn from ours. It’s a two-way street. That’s of tremendous value,” said Joshee.

One of the big questions partner institutions ask about CSULB is its safety. Last year, CSULB was selected the fifth most secure university in the nation by Security Magazine in its annual “Security 500” rankings. Listed at No. 5, CSULB was the top-ranked California University on the list and one of just two universities in the western United States ranked in the top 12.

Joshee praised the level of support the program has received from CSULB’s administration.

“President Conoley is very supportive of our international initiatives and would like to see our study-abroad participation double in the next five years. Provost David Dowell is an internationalist by nature and has been a promoter of international programs,” said Joshee. “Each college has a global agenda. Overall, we have an outstanding international programs with excellent good support services. Everyone understands its value. That is why we’ve grown to the level we have.”

His vision for the future includes several initiatives just recently begun. One is student scholarships for study abroad. “We intend to double our study abroad student numbers in the next five years. Now, we send about 900 a year. We want to take that to 1,800 a year,” he said. “To do that, given the demographics we have and how many haven’t got the finances, this past year we collaborated with the Associated Students Inc., to come up with $100,000 in scholarship funding to support students who want to go overseas. In addition, there is additional funding for the summer and winter programs so, all in all, we have about $145,000 in scholarships annually.” In addition, he noted increased advising will be provided to students to apply for external scholarships such as the Gilman and Fulbright.

For the faculty, international travel grants of $50,000 were instituted.

“It is meant to enable our faculty to collaborate with international faculty members on projects they are involved in,” he said. “We funded about 25 faculty members this past semester. A similar number will be selected this fall.”

A faculty incentive to globalize curriculum has been in place for the last four years. Through this initiative, faculty may introduce a new course with global content or infuse their existing courses with global content.

“Every year, the program makes four or five awards for department-picked courses,” Joshee said. “Initiatives like these add global dimensions we need at CSULB.”

Joshee advises faculty and students who want to go overseas to meet with one of the advisors at the CIE.

“When you are ready and willing to explore we will help you have that opportunity. With 62 partnerships around the world, the possibilities are endless. We can create a better university by adding a global dimension,” he said.