Global Deans

In a recent blog, I wrote about our individual pathways and the Tour de Academe.  On Sunday, July 22nd our individual pathways converged in Paris and our collective journey started.  And now, the week-long Graduate Deans Global Perspectives program ’12 (GPGradDeans) has come to an end.  Our last meeting was a joint gathering with GPP Switzerland alumni from Virginia Tech and University of Basel at VT’s Center for European Studies and Architecture (CESA). Rich discussions were held and insights gathered.

During the program, the Graduate Deans visited University of Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC) and the historic Sorbonne University, the University of Strasbourg, the University of Basel, and the University of Zurich. We discussed graduate education and the future of higher education with Presidents (Rectors) from three universities. We learned about their versions of graduate schools (e.g., doctoral college, graduate campus). We met with administrators and faculty.  And our program began with dialogue with colleagues from the European University Association (EUA).  For details of our visit, see itinerary and read associated links.

This visit was nestled between the end of the Tour de France In Paris and the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games. The weather was perfect throughout the week (Paris, Strasbourg, Basel, Zurich, Lugano) – a little hot at times but virtually no rain.  Our visits required the use of three languages beyond English: French, German (more precisely Swiss German) and Italian. The cuisine spanned countries and cultures. We traveled by plane, bus, tram, metro, train, and quite often by foot – sometimes up hill and sometimes with luggage. Lakes, mountains, rivers, plains, and terraced hills (e.g., vines) surrounded us daily.  A collective journey of shared experiences and individual reflections….we have taken photos, blogged, and tweeted.  We had readers following our blogs and “followers” on twitter (@kpdepauw, @GPPVT and more).  We had families traveling with us who shared in our experiences on a daily basis.

The Global Perspectives program has touched many lives across many universities, many countries and across many years.  As a result, I believe that the Graduate Deans and GPP alumni now share in the responsibility to expand the reach and enrich the global experiences and perspectives of others.  It has been my great pleasure to share personal and professional experiences with my graduate dean colleagues.  Thank you for joining me on this adventure toward greater global understanding and enhanced global graduate education.



Program ends but process continues

Lukas said it.  Justin tweeted it.  We all felt it (perhaps also the audience at the Swiss Embassy).  The 2012 Global Perspectives Program (GPP) has come to “the end but the global perspectives process continues”.

The global seminar on “access to and within higher education” at the Embassy of Switzerland on June 15, 2012 officially ended the GPP’12 program.  The well attended event featured a keynote presentation by Karin Fischer, Senior Reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education on the topic of access to higher education.  The GPP’12 participants from Virginia Tech, University of Basel and the University of Lund shared their reflections on access to and within through panel presentations and discussion with the audience.  Key highlights of conference are available via twitter.

During my drive back to Blacksburg, I took time to reflect upon GPP’12 and take note of the many and varied aspects of the program, the interactions with each of the participants, and the ways in which the program has once again changed our lives.  As seen through my lens, the program was indeed very successful! Thanks to all who participated, organized and contributed to the program’s success (UniBasel, Embassy of Switzerland, University of Lund, VT).  I am grateful to each person because I know that one’s active engagement with the Global Perspectives program truly is making a difference and contributing to the overall success of the program.   And of course, to the process of preparing global citizens through global conversations.  Keep up the good work and let the conversations continue!

In July, I will lead a group of U.S. Graduate Deans on a similar global experience.  Thus, the program expands and the process continues.

For more information about the Global Perspectives program, please follow this blog, the Global Perspectives blog, twitter, and Face Book –GPP UniBasel.

Access to and within higher education

The theme of the 2012 Global Graduate Education Summit is “access to and within higher education”.  [The summit is a culminating event for Virginia Tech’s Future Professoriate Global Perspectives program held in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland in partnership with University of Basel in Switzerland and University of Lund, Sweden].  What follows is a preview of my musings in preparation for the opening presentation of the summit on May 29, 2012.

“Access to” and “access within” means many different things and we will explore the various meanings and global trends during the Summit.  At least initially, “access to” seems to make reference those who do, those who do not and those who should be able to seek admission into a college or university.  Historically specific groupings of individuals have not been able to access higher education but there seems to be emphasis on increasing access to colleges and universities in various parts of the world.  And with the advances in technology and the digital evolution the question must be raised about access to colleges and universities in a more traditional sense of higher education vs access to higher education in the sense of advanced knowledge and understanding not necessarily housed within colleges and universities.

“Access within” refers to those within the academy and how they access knowledge and understanding through teaching and learning, research/scholarship and engagement within higher education.  How information is taught.  How knowledge is acquired.  How learners learn. How one accesses information within and across disciplines or not.  How research questions are developed and shared or not.  The ways in which learning, discovery and engagement are or could be connected. These are just some of the topics that will be explored in the Summit.

“Access” also refers to access to the scholarship and information discovered (or uncovered) within the university.  Questions here could include who has access to the scholarship currently and how the public could access the information.  Open Access? Scholarship as private good or public good?  Education as private good or public good?  And there’s more.

Issues of access are intriguing and complicated – exciting conversations to follow.