Pennsylvania colleges, universities sign agreement to partner with schools in India

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April 29, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Global Education & Business Hub, an initiative begun nearly four years ago to help promote colleges and universities in Pennsylvania to students from India, took another step forward today with the signing of a new international partnership agreement

Representatives of more than 20 Pennsylvania public and private colleges and universities and the Ryan International Group of Institutions in Mumbai, India, signed the agreement at a ceremony held in the state Capitol. Through the initiative, a pair of Pennsylvania Education Centers already has been established in Mumbai and Bangalore to promote the schools to potential students. The centers are funded and staffed by Indian partner institutions.

While it was designed primarily as a recruitment tool for Pennsylvania institutions, the program also provides students and faculty from the participating colleges and universities a variety of educational opportunities in India, including workshops conducted there by faculty from the participating schools as well as summer schools, lessons offered via virtual classrooms and a range of student and faculty exchanges.

"We are excited to be working with our partners in India to be able to provide students and faculty a whole new range of educational experiences on an international scale," said Frank Brogan, chancellor of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education. "As this initiative continues to expand, it will benefit not only those directly involved in its programs, but also others on our campuses whose lives will be enriched through their interactions with the students from India who come here to study."

Six State System universities - California, East Stroudsburg, Indiana, Millersville, Slippery Rock and West Chester - are participating as full partners in the program. More than a dozen private institutions also are partnering in the effort: Arcadia, Alvernia, Chatham, Gwynedd Mercy, Harrisburg, Marywood and Villanova universities; Cedar Crest, Gettysburg, Juniata, Moravian, Wilson and York colleges; and University of the Sciences.

"Pennsylvania's private colleges and universities, like our public sector colleagues in the State System of Higher Education, see this partnership between Indian institutions like the Ryan International Group and Pennsylvania higher education institutions as a win-win for all," said Donald Francis, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania. "The globalization of higher education has the potential to reshape our world, and Pennsylvania's colleges and universities are on the front lines of this movement."

To date, the program has conducted 18 workshops organized by Pennsylvania schools in India on topics such as life sciences, mass media, "flipped classrooms," leadership and business. The first "edu-tourism" visit, in which students from Ruia College in India traveled here and visited six Pennsylvania schools, took place last fall. Fifteen member universities already have visited India as part of the program, supported on the ground by special envoy Kanika Choudhary.

Among the planned program expansions will be the opportunity for K-12 classroom teachers who graduated from State System universities to travel to India and spend six months to a year teaching in Indian classrooms. The teachers' expenses, except for air travel, will be paid while they are participating in the program.

"This experience will provide our students and graduates of our universities a unique opportunity to grow as classroom teachers, either at their beginning of their careers or as they seek to further develop their teaching skills," said State System Executive Vice Chancellor Peter Garland.


MEDIA CONTACT: Kenn Marshall | 717.720.4045 | kmarshall@passhe.edu