OSU to open centers in China, India, Brazil

October 29, 2009
Chinese Flagship news.


'Global gateways' could recruit foreign students, help those studying abroad

President E. Gordon Gee wants Ohio State to become the world's university by expanding its teaching, research and physical presence overseas, starting with offices in China, India and Brazil.

He also wants to add an international flair to the classes that students take here in Ohio, by promoting the study of foreign countries and cultures.

"We best serve the needs of Ohioans and our students with a global strategy which assures that our students, our businesses, and our citizens compete successfully in the world economy," Gee said.

Trustees got their first glimpse of how Ohio State University might become more international in the coming years in committee meetings yesterday.

Unlike many other colleges, Ohio State doesn't want to build campuses overseas.

Map of international student intake at OSU.Instead, it wants to create "global gateways" in other countries -- essentially leased office space that would serve as a home base for professors doing research abroad, and would help staff members recruit more international students. Students also could take classes for joint degrees with foreign schools there.

In many ways, Ohio State envisions these gateways as being multipurpose centers where alumni could gather for networking events, Ohio businesses could take professional-development courses, and OSU students studying abroad or on internships could gather for orientation.

OSU hopes to open its first gateway in Shanghai, China, at the end of June, followed by Mumbai, India, in 2011, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2012.

"I can make the case that OSU is the leading university for east Asia," said William I. Brustein, the school's new vice provost for global strategies and international affairs.

More international students come to Ohio State from China each year than from any other country: 1,411, and there also is a strong network of OSU alumni there, he said.

Down the line, Ohio State would like to open gateways in London or Brussels; Istanbul, Turkey; Moscow or Warsaw, Poland; and eventually the Horn of Africa.

Brustein is working on a business plan for the gateways and hopes to give a cost estimate to the provost Monday. He wouldn't say what he thought the anticipated price tag would be, but he said the school hopes to offset some of the costs with gifts, corporate sponsorships and fees from classes and workshops.

The ultimate plan might be "tempered by the realities of the costs to get started," Provost Joseph A. Alutto said.

Ohio State also wants to add more international components to its Ohio curriculum, including more study-abroad programs, foreign-language offerings and international content in core classes.

Trustees also reviewed several proposed goals by the President's and Provost's Council on Strategic Internationalization. They include increasing:

  • • The number of undergraduates participating in a study-abroad program or international internship by 50 percent.
  • • The percentage of visiting international faculty members by at least 25 percent, and the percentage of international students by at least 50 percent. More than 1,600 foreign scholars visit OSU and about 4,000 international students are on campus each year.

"This is fabulous," trustee Janet B. Reid said.

She said students who graduate without international experience or knowledge will be at a disadvantage in today's global economy.

Although many universities boast about their internationalization efforts, schools nationwide are making uneven progress, the American Council of Education found last year.