Academic journal article Peer Review

Bringing the World to North Dakota

Academic journal article Peer Review

Bringing the World to North Dakota

Article excerpt

Globalization is uniting the world while simultaneously transforming the workplace, the economy, and the community. Currently, one in six jobs in the United States is tied to international trade and investment, and exports account for one quarter of the economic growth in the United States over the past decade. Moreover, many environmental and health issues recognize no boundaries. And, of course, the threat posed by terrorism and terrorist networks is global.

The unifying and transformative impact of globalization requires a new paradigm for higher education. Students must be prepared for the multicultural society and the global economy. Indeed, the complexities of the twenty-first century require that American colleges and universities educate students to be both competent in their discipline and prepared for global citizenship.

The need to internationalize the campus is especially compelling for rural institutions because of the isolation and parochialism inherent to their locations. Dickinson State University (DSU), a member of the North Dakota University System, has an enrollment of 2,461 students from twenty states and twenty-eight countries. DSU offers more than forty undergraduate programs. Located in the rural southwest corner of North Dakota, our host city of Dickinson has a population of approximately 17,000 and serves as the economic, social, governmental, and medical center for an eight-county area.

Civic, educational, and governmental leaders have noted the importance of strengthening ties to the global economy through ontrepreneurship and partnerships. At the same time, and consistent with efforts to address economie needs in North Dakota, the State Board of Higher Education's strategic plan emphasizes the need for system institutions to he competitive nationally and internationally.

The Global Awareness Initiative

DSU's Global Awareness Initiative was implemented in 2000 as a way to globalize our institution and to better prepare our students as members of a multicultural society and participants in the global economy. Specifically, the Global Awareness Initiative focuses on three goals:

* to create a more diverse and invigorating learning environment by recruiting and retaining international students and faculty

* to engage students and local citizens in activities that foster a greater understanding of the issues and opportunities related to our multicultural society and interdependent global economy

* to foster the ideal that individuals can contribute to world peace through education, understanding, tolerance, and interaction with people from other culture's

Making this vision a reality has required a multifaceted approach and the development of an appropriate infrastructure. Efforts to meet these objectives are ongoing.

Recruitment and Retention

DSU has pursued several strategies for recruiting and retaining international students and faculty, an essential first step in implementing the Global Awareness Initiative.

Scholarship support tor international students has been particularly critical. DSU established the Global Awareness Scholarships program, which provides fouryear awards of approximately $17,000. Athletic scholarships offered to international athletes are another important source of financial support. In addition, international students with outstanding academic credentials can qualify for admittance to the Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership Program and for scholarship funding from the DSU Foundation. Recently, the North Dakota legislature appropriated funding lor additional scholarships to support the Global Awareness Initiative.

Recruiting international students to attend a small institution in rural southwest North Dakota has proven easier, in some respects, than attracting students from distant parts of the United States. We emphasize personal attention, the safe environment, beautiful regional surroundings, community support for international students, involvement in campus life, and the breadth of educational opportunities. …

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