Monday, January 31, 2011

Live … learn … study in Russia

If you recall last month, I wrote about the rewarding advantages of studying abroad and the many opportunities Bloomsburg University students have to take their BU experience internationally. Another unique global opportunity for students, including those at our 13 PASSHE sister institutions, will be in the spotlight on campus this week.

Our collaborative study abroad program with Moscow Finance University is gearing up for another term, of which our students can learn about first-hand Tuesday, Feb. 8, from Saleem Khan, professor of economics and BU’s Russian Program director. The open forum will begin at 5 p.m. in room 302 of the Bakeless Center.

I’m personally looking forward to hearing more about this unique collaboration that offers our students a chance to step into the world of globalization at a prestigious university featuring 40 departments, three institutes and branches in seven regions of Russia.

The program features three options, including a double-degree economics program that brings Russian students to Bloomsburg. Nearly 100 Finance University students have attended classes here and graduated from BU since 2003. As for our students, they have the opportunity to study for a semester, the summer or an entire academic year at the university in Moscow. During those terms, students can pursue areas of economics, language, arts and music … in individually tailored programs, with most classes taught in English.

A bonus, as with all study abroad programs, students can immerse themselves in the rich culture of their host country. As for Moscow, not only does it boast a deep history that dates back to the early 12th century, it features a vast mass transit system, famous museums and world-renowned architecture, such as the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the Seven Sisters.

Just like other study abroad opportunities where students enjoy tremendous educational experiences in some of the most-desired destinations across the globe, the Russian Study Abroad program is a wonderful opportunity for our students to live … learn … and study the world as they prepare for careers in the global economy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A new face for state leadership

Last week the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania inaugurated its 46th governor, just in time to begin work on next year’s budget. Among Tom Corbett’s key campaign initiatives – on top of pledges to make Pennsylvania a leader in business growth, agriculture, job creation, transportation, energy production and education – is to maintain fiscal responsibility.

This initiative, which mirrors one of Bloomsburg University’s four key strategic issues, is directly tied to the state budget and the legislature’s annual appropriation for higher education. As a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, we are paying close attention to Corbett’s approach to this campaign promise.

So much so that two members of Chancellor John Cavanaugh’s staff will visit our campus today (Monday, Jan. 24). They will talk about ways we can work with our 13 sister universities to show support for PASSHE while stressing the impact government funding has on tuition, fees, program offerings and other facets of student life.

It’s no secret state funding for higher education has significantly declined in recent years; to the point that only 29% of our operating budget is funded by the state this year. As a result, tuition across the 14 universities increased by 4.5 percent for 2010-11 and 3.7 percent for 2009-10. The economic burden has fallen more heavily on the shoulders of students and their families and forced universities to increasingly rely on donor support.

Despite the economic challenges, BU continues to provide our students with outstanding educational opportunities. The wonderful reputation of our academic programs, faculty and staff is reflected in record enrollment, year after year.

BU is proud to provide an excellent, affordable education that prepares students for success in our multicultural society and global economy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Launching student innovation

I am a thinker. I am a builder. I am a doer. I’m an entrepreneur.

As we welcome students back from winter break, this message is being spread across campus with the hope of sparking – well, more like launching – a new way of fostering student entrepreneurial creativity. The effort will begin later this week with the help of several successful alumni.

Bloomsburg University will host its first LaunchPad symposium Thursday, Jan. 20, featuring three Husky alumni entrepreneurs, who will share their success stories, and the director of the Greater Susquehanna Keystone Innovation Zone, who will explain how our current students’ innovative ideas can be supported by the local KIZ. You may have heard previously of KIZ; it’s a statewide initiative to build knowledge-based economies and cultivate entrepreneurship in Pennsylvania.

I’m looking forward to seeing this collection of talent come together on campus to exchange ideas, brainstorm and give our students unique access to the secrets of entrepreneurial success. That success, as students will learn from our alumni, can begin here in a classroom, laboratory or a residence hall study lounge. Our students will also benefit from face-to-face feedback on their marketable ideas and the chance to network with professionals and other potential entrepreneurs.

This symposium is another example of how BU takes learning beyond the classroom and presents it in multiple ways that are easily accessible to students. It also gives our students a tremendous opportunity to enhance their academic success, while launching them on their way to making an impact in the world.