Rock vies for international agreement A-list


asian SRU college student

Feb. 19, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - One of the indexes of academic prestige is the quantity and depth of agreements a University operates with international institutions, said Brad Wilson, SRU interim provost for transformational experiences.

Slippery Rock University currently has 48 international partnerships in place or in the works with institutions in 21 countries - Australia, China, Mexico, Japan, Poland, Scotland, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, France, Hungary, England, Belgium India, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Spain, Malaysia and Vietnam.

"Most of our agreements are exchange programs allowing our students to study at universities abroad and for their students to study at SRU," Wilson said. "We try to maintain an equal balance in both directions. The students typically pay tuition and fees at their home university while studying abroad."

brad wilson


Wilson said the agreements vary to meet student needs. In addition to semester exchanges, SRU and its partners offer 2 + 2 and 3 + 1 programs allowing for transfer flexibility and long-term connectedness.

"These are articulation agreements where students from abroad study at their home university for two or three years, and then transfer to SRU to complete their degree requirements and receive an SRU degree," Wilson said. "This is one of the main areas where we are developing new agreements, to expand our impact abroad and to bring greater numbers of international students to SRU."

Wilson said SRU brokers relationships with international institutes initially by approving a memorandum of understanding. This is a signed document that initiates a relationship, specifying in general terms the areas of cooperation. A formal agreement on specific programs or joint initiatives comes later.

Two of the University's newest exchange agreements are with Turkey's Istanbul Bilgi University and Hungary's Hungarian University of Physical Education. SRU is placing students at the point where Europe and Asia intersect, on The Great Wall in China, in Spain and in Rome.

"The interest in the international exchange and bringing students here and having our students go overseas is a initiative of the University as a whole," Wilson said. "This isn't just coming from one department. President Norton and Provost Way see this as an important part of the future direction of Slippery Rock University."

China in particular, because of its vast number of students, is on SRU's radar. SRU partners with Nanjing University, Shanghai International Studies University, Northwest University, Xi'an Fanyi University, Wuhan Sports University, Shanxi Normal University, Shanghai University, Tianjin University, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics and the Kindergarten Active Learning Research Center of China.

Nanjing University, which sent several administrators to SRU last year to formalize a relationship, recently sent 34 exchange students to study in SRU's resort recreation and hospitality management program.

Even SRU students who don't study at partner institutions benefit from the presence of international students on campus, Wilson said. Numerous studies show having international students on campus provides more opportunities for domestic students to interact across cultures and challenge their existing belief and value systems. Domestic students get a broader experience of life by learning alongside students from every corer of the globe.

Wilson said an international experience is a key component of a student's maturation.

"The primary reason in my view, and I think it is shared by virtually everyone who works in higher education, is that a college education should be transformational," he said. "If students haven't changed from the time they come in here to the time they leave, we haven't done our job.

"Talk to any student who has done an international trip," he said. "Almost universally, he or she points to that as one of the most impactful events of their college education," Wilson said. "Once you get outside your own country you start to re-examine things you take for granted. It can be a real eye-opening experience."

Wilson said many high school students and college freshmen often don't realize the terrific international exchange opportunities SRU offers.

"They have opportunities they don't even realize exist," he said. "Because they don't usually have a lot of external responsibilities, they are not yet raising a family or working full time, this is the time to take advantage of these opportunities. It's a moment in their lives when they really have the freedom to travel, to do new things."

SRU's international partnerships are in and with:

Australia: Victoria University, student exchange
Belgium: Institute de Hautes Etudes des Communications Sociales, student exchange
Belgium: Artevelde University College Ghent, student exchange
China: Nanjing University, student and faculty exchange, 2 + 2 in accounting, communication, economics, finance, information systems, information technology, management and marketing; customized program for Nanjing students enter hospitality program
China: Shanghia International Studies University, student exchange
China: International Business School, Northwest University, 1 + 3 articulation agreement
China: Xi'an Fanyi University, 3 + 1 + 1 master of business administration, 3 + 2 hospitality, partnership for master's degree program in English
China: Wuhan Sports University, pending articulation agreement for physical activity and fitness management
China: Shanghai Jian Qiao University, computer science students at SRU
China: Modern College of Arts and Sciences, Shanxi Normal University, articulation agreement for political science, history, English, early childhood education, psychology, finance, economics, management, fine arts, music, dance, mathematics, computer science, physics, information technology, chemistry, biology, geology and health and physical education
China: Tianjin University of Sport, memorandum of understanding pending;
China: Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, memorandum of understanding pending
China: Kindergarten Active Learning Research of China, memorandum of understanding pending;
Costa Rica: University of Costa Rica, Spanish language program
England: University of Bradford, student exchange
England: University of Teesside, student and faculty exchange
England: Kingston University, study-aboard agreement
England: Roehampton University, study-aboard agreement
England: Canterbury Christ Church University, pending articulation agreement
France: College International de Cannes, study-abroad agreement
Germany: University of Bamberg, student exchange
Hungary: Hungarian University of Physical Education, student and faculty exchange, grant for international student and faculty mobility
India: JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth University, student and faculty exchange
Ireland: University of Limerick, student exchange
Ireland: Dublin City University, annual agreements
Japan: Kansai Gaidai University, student exchange, direct transfer agreement
Japan: Saga University, student exchange; customized program for Saga university students to study English as a second language at SRU
Japan: Jissen High School, memorandum of understanding
Japan: The University of Shiga Prefecture, memorandum of understanding, exchange program hybrid pending;
Mexico: Universidad Iberoamericana, student exchange
Poland: University of the Arts, student exchange
Scotland: Queen Margaret University, student exchange
Slovakia: Academy of Fine Arts and Design, student exchange
Slovakia: Comenius University, student and faculty exchange
South Korea: Kangwon National University, student and faculty exchange
South Korea: Chungnam National University, study abroad, dual degree agreement
Spain: Univeridad de Alcala, SRU students enroll in academic year and summer
Spain: University of Girona, School of Sports, student exchange
Sri Lanka: University of Peradeniya, summer 2016 program
Sri Lanka: American Education Centre, students to SRU
Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology, 2 + 2 from ANC to SRU for accounting, computer science, economics, finance, information systems, information technology
Sri Lanka: National School of Business Administration, SRU course offerings in Sri Lanka
Sweden: Kristianstad University, student exchange
Turkey: Izmir Institute of Technology, student faculty exchange
Turkey: Istanbul Bilgi University, student exchange
Turkey: Akdeniz University, student and faculty exchange
Vietnam: Ton Duc Tang University, student exchange agreement pending
Vietnam: Dong-A University, multiple projects pending

MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 |