As the global economy and political situation have become more complex, so too has George Mason University’s charge to prepare Virginia residents for global citizenship. We all live in a world in which global processes increasingly define important segments of human life, whether we discuss economic trends, cultural influences or environmental change. We also live in a world in which regional relationships are changing rapidly, calling for growing understanding of different cultural and political traditions. Accordingly, the university’s Mission Statement concludes with a declaration of the university’s intent to “maintain an international reputation for superior education and public service,” and the philosophical imperative of thinking about higher education in a global context is now deeply integrated into the university at every level.
The university’s philosophy of “global education” takes many forms:
- Instructional, research, and outreach collaborations with other institutions around the world;
- Programs to help prospective international undergraduate and graduate students bridge the gaps between different educational systems to succeed at Mason and pursue their studies;
- Administrative and language support for international students;
- Study abroad programs to help Virginia students learn about other parts of the world in order to help them succeed both as global citizens and in today’s global marketplace;
- Online outreach programs to allow international students to acquire some experience of U.S.-style higher education when overseas study is financially impractical;
- Support for faculty in Fulbright exchange programs;
- Conferences and symposia examining the intersection of higher education and global issues; and
- Adaptations to traditional program curricula to situate them in a broader, global context.
Specific strategic directions for global initiatives will be redefined and rearticulated in the university’s upcoming strategic planning process. The university presently has specific initiatives in Korea, India, and Russia, and activities addressing the environmental aspects of globalization will figure prominently in future plans.
The Office of Global Strategy coordinates many of these activities, serves as liaison with the rest, and is the point of first contact for the development of new programs and initiatives.
Questions? Please contact Richena Purnell-Sayle, Executive Assistant, Office of Global Strategy, at 703-993-9630.