Frostburg State University President Jonathan Gibralter and a small contingent of key University officials will embark Oct. 27 on a weeklong journey to strengthen ties and enhance relationships with three European universities that have had longstanding connections with FSU.
“International understanding is such a crucial part of education in today’s world,” Gibralter said, “and I am strongly committed to increasing the opportunities for our students to expand their horizons, as well as to bring the world to Frostburg in the form of these young scholars.”
The group will first visit Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland, with which FSU has its longest-standing relationship, dating to 1989. In addition to discussions on a number of logistical and development issues, Gibralter and Mary Immaculate President Peadar Cremin will sign a new agreement reaffirming the one inked in 1991, further solidifying the relationship between the two higher education institutions.
Over the years, scores of FSU students have studied in Limerick, and a number of faculty have offered classes there. Nearly as many “Mary I” students have become part of the Frostburg student body.
The next stop will be in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, to the University of Northumbria, which is Frostburg’s closest tie in the United Kingdom. Currently it is a one-way relationship, with FSU students studying there for the past decade. These discussions will expand on progress made when a representative from Northumbria visited FSU in September.
Finally, the journey will wind up in Copenhagen, Denmark, where FSU has another nearly decade-long relationship with the Copenhagen Day and Evening University of Teacher Education, an institution that has just recently become part of a larger comprehensive university. With its focus on teacher preparation, some FSU students have even been able to do their teaching internships in Denmark. Danish students have also come to Frostburg.
FSU has been working with these and other institutions to build partnerships, as well as exploring new program areas to provide better opportunities for students both here and abroad. The best progress, however, is made in person, according to Dr. Hank Bullamore, a professor of Geography and director of the FSU Center for International Education.
During the past five years, FSU has enrolled students from 50 countries, ranging from Argentina to Zimbabwe. During the 2006-2007 academic year, 31 international students, were on campus. Likewise, nearly 50 FSU students each year study abroad, and that number increases every year.
“International education is a life-changing experience, enriching a student’s education in a way that no classroom can,” Bullamore said.
In addition to Gibralter and Bullamore, the delegation will include Vice Provost Dr. John Bowman; Dr. Ken Witmer, Dean of the College of Education; and Liz Medcalf, director of News and Media Services.
For more information about international studies at Frostburg State University, contact the Center for International Education at (301) 687-4714.