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K-State Today

November 22, 2013



Brainstorming luncheon concludes International Education Week events

By Rebecca Oberrieder and Mary K Pyle

The following article is written by MC 280 student Rebecca Oberrieder as a part of the on-going collaboration between the office of international programs and the MC 280 Public Relations Writing classes under the guidance of Barb DeSanto, professor at the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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Faculty meet to discuss the growth potential for international collaboration on campus and abroad

By Rebecca Oberrieder

Kansas State University faculty members and staff met at Wednesday‘s Brown Bag Luncheon to discuss ways to take advantage of K-State’s growth potential in the area of international collaboration. Marcelo Sabates, interim associate provost of the international programs office led the event with a presentation on the university’s upward trend in enrollment of international students along with Mary Beth Kirkham, professor of agronomy who spoke on the behalf of P.V. Prasad, who was awarded the International Educator of the Year Award the previous evening.

The event was sponsored by the international programs office as the final event of International Education Week. Held in the new International Technology Commons at Wildcat Landing, the casual meeting was intended to provide information that would spark discussion on international collaboration.

According to Sabates’ presentation, K-State is experiencing an increased international student enrollment rate of about 8 percent, which Sabates says could go up to 12 percent by 2016 — putting K-State at the top of Big 12 schools in terms international student enrollment rates.

“We need to use exchange programs to deepen possibilities for collaboration,” urged Sabates. He encouraged the group to not only focus on bringing international students to K-State’s campus, but to also realize the importance of sending the university’s students abroad. K-State currently sends more than 700 students on study abroad trips each year.

"Developing additional recruitment programs targeted at countries that we are not currently hitting as aggressively, such as Africa and Latin America, can increase university enrollment numbers and provide more possibilities to connect with those countries to do research," Sabates said.

The second initiative discussed was promoting possibilities that the university has with its team of academic advisors. Sabates said students should be aware that study abroad opportunities are not only for class credit, but also an opportunity to collaborate with international institutes for research.

“Advisors are very important. Students want to know when, where, and how they can go abroad,” Sabates said.

A third initiative should be focused on faculty engagement. Kirkham concurred that faculty need to build the bridge between k-state and its international collaboration partnerships.

“It seems to me that what we need to do is we need to make meccas for students to go to for research,”  Kirkham said. She continued to reference the use of grants and sabbatical leave opportunities that can encourage faculty from all the departments on campus to make connections abroad that can eventually be used as collaboration opportunities for students who go abroad.

 “We need to hit it from both ends. We need to get the faculty some more international experience and then they will be give their students the ‘travel bug’ and it will be a domino effect,” said Joe Braun, one of the attendees,  

Both Sabates and Kirkham agreed that combining the three initiatives to target the issues of bringing international students to campus, sending K-State students abroad to take advantage of international research, and aiding faculty in making international connections is key to accelerating K-State toward the 2025 vision to be a Top 50 public research university.