The GEN Strategy for Penn State's Global Engagement
The Penn State Global Engagement Network (GEN), a system of interconnected Global Engagement Partners, is the anchor of the two-part vision of our strategic plan, which is global citizenship for all our students and global leadership for Penn State in scholarship and international engagements. GEN supports all three dimensions of our internationalization strategy:
- enhancing and diversifying our study-abroad enterprise,
- increasing and diversifying our international student population, and
- building transformational, strategic partnerships around the world
GEN promotes the transformation of Penn State's students into global citizens, enhances Penn State's global presence and relevance, and will propel Penn State toward global leadership in scholarship and international engagement with moderate investment.
GEN is a multi-dimensional partnership involving select international partners and Penn State. GEN will naturally have many themes and/or regional foci but each would involve a subset of the partners whose interest are served by the particular theme or region. The development of each theme is organic, faculty-driven, and administratively enabled by the University Office of Global Programs (UOGP). The themes will evolve from faculty interest, expertise, and investment in a region. The implementation of each thematic focus will evolve at a different pace and will take on characteristics unique to the region, theme, and type of engagement.
GEN is characterized by the leveraging of pooled resources to address major global challenges such as energy, sustainability, climate change, food security, health, youth and family issues, immigration/migration, and poverty. Each theme requires interdisciplinary framework and has the potential to engage a diverse range of faculty, staff, and students, as well as institutional and community partners.
Organic Process of GEN Formation
The process of identifying themes and regions of focus involved university-wide working groups that identified Penn State's research strengths and existing engagements, proposed international partners, and determined appropriate thematic foci. Opportunities for GEN are being pursued currently in the following geographical areas: China, India, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and South East Asia. An additional task force focused on global community engagement and service-learning opportunities around the globe.
The faculty working groups operated on the premise that global issues are multifaceted and interdisciplinary. They are guided by cross-disciplinary considerations, Penn State's research strengths, and by the desire to diversify international opportunities for faculty and students. Other considerations include the following:
- whether proposed partnering institutions offer a comprehensive education;
- the potential for involving the tripartite mission of teaching, research, and service;
- the level of international engagements of the partnering institutions; and
- the existence of critical mass of existing Penn State faculty engagement (research, teaching or outreach).