University leaders from as far as Lithuania, United Kingdom, France, Lebanon and China gathered at Charleston Southern University this week for a global education summit.
The Consortium for Global Education, a 28-year-old international nonprofit organization composed of faith-based liberal arts universities around the world, connects faculty members and students at member institutions to overseas study and teaching opportunities.
“We are trying to engage and build bridges between our county and our campuses,” said consortium President Carolyn Bishop. “There are places we go for study abroad or students that come to our campuses that represent their own nations and the perspective of their nations and when we understand the perspectives of each other. We do indeed build a better future.”
CSU President Jairy Hunter Jr. said he hopes CSU’s growing involvement in the consortium will attract more international students. CSU currently enrolls almost 3,600 students. Less than three dozen of those students hail from foreign countries. Hunter wants to increase CSU’s international enrollment to 10 percent of the entire study body.
“Word of mouth is very strong. When they go back to their country, they have seen our campus. They have seen our faculty and they have seen our facilities. That should be a good marketing ploy for us that they have been here,” Hunter said. “We want our campus to be representative of the world and that’s what I believe a true education is.”
To that end, CSU is forming a partnership with a Liverpool Hope University in the U.K., another consortium member, to develop a student and faculty exchange program.
“It’s a global workforce,” said Jacqueline Fish, CSU’s vice president for academic affairs.“We want our students to be prepared and so with all of the influx of businesses coming in from around the world, our students need to have that cultural diversity background, experience, exposure and comfort so they knew they are well prepared and they can work anywhere for anybody.”
The private Baptist college, a founding consortium member, is hosting the annual conference at its North Charleston campus through Friday.
Reach Deanna Pan at 937-5764.