Spanning the globe

Introducing the Center for Global Education

December 6, 2010

By Mike Killeen

Baseball player Satchel Paige once said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

It turns out that is part of the reason why the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University recently established the Center for Global Education.

"We want to sustain our position as a major player in international education," said Joe Rogers, the inaugural director of the center, on why it was developed.

Joe noted that both CSB and SJU are annually ranked in the Open Doors report on international education, including a No. 1 ranking among baccalaureate schools with students who participate in mid-length (semester) study abroad programs in the 2010 report. CSB and SJU have great partnerships with international colleges and universities; students are crossing the globe to complete internships; and CSB and SJU had the highest number of international students among Minnesota baccalaureate institutions in 2009-10, according to the Open Doors report.

But each of those programs and opportunities operate independently of each other with little coordination between them.

"The Global Center will look at how we move forward to further our international initiatives. The center will connect our campus communities more fully with global issues, global opportunities and our partners worldwide in ways that go beyond any one program or department," Joe said.

Another role for the center is that of a think tank, a place where new ideas are generated and vetted.  The center should be a place where all constituents can share their international aspirations, goals and efforts with a broader campus audience, Joe said. Finally, the center will allocate resources and lend expertise to help support the schools' strategic initiatives.

 "To me, the center should be an office where ideas or initiatives are brought to the table and shared with a larger group of constituents so we can maximize the impact of a great program or partnership. Right now, we're missing some of those opportunities," Joe said.

"The desire is to have a Global Center that can enhance international and global opportunities for our students, much in the way that the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement at Saint John's University has done for our students interested in civic engagement and government," Joe added.

A 12-person advisory council will set the priorities for the center and determine "where we want to go," he said.

The job is a natural fit for Joe, a 1989 graduate of SJU who previously spent three years as director of the Office for Education Abroad and two years in the Asian Studies Program at CSB and SJU.

"I've come to understand a lot of what's going on at CSB and SJU with respect to internationalization, but I've also recognized we have missed out on some opportunities by not having the Global Center in place," Joe said.

"We can start now to really dream of new and creative initiatives that fall outside the purview of any one specific office," Joe added. "There's a lot of excitement and a bit of anxiousness, because I think this is a critical piece to our overall structure as to how we continue to globalize our campuses."

To find out more about the Center for Global Education at CSB and SJU, visit the Center for Global Education Website.