Global Perspectives Programme
The Global Perspectives Programme (GPP) was officially launched on May 25th 2010. The US delegation, lead by Prof. De Pauw, Vice-President of Virginia Tech and Director of its Graduate School, was welcomed to Basel University at an afternoon reception. Rector Prof. Dr. Antonio Loprieno lent his support to the programme in a welcoming address that highlighted the realities of a global higher education market.
As the Swiss and US participants met for the first time, they shared their expectations of the programme. The mixed disciplinary group view the programme as an opportunity to gain an understanding of global HE, learn from peers, establish inter-disciplinary collaborations and connections, gain skills, maximise their students' learning and broaden perspectives.
The afternoon continued with a culturally and historically rich agenda reflecting on the University of Basel's celebration of its 550th anniversary. In the historically significant building at Nadelberg 10, the group was hosted by the Faculty of Theology. As one of the original faculties from the time when the university was founded in 1460 it was particulary interesting to hear faculty members discuss the challenges faced by modern universities.
Moving on to the Munster, the group viewed the exhibition Treasures from the Founding Period of the University of Basel. They received an excellent guided tour by the exhibition's curator, Sara Stöcklin-Kaldewey. From here, a campus tour stretching from the Rhine to the Spalenberg was conducted by Erich Thaler, Head of International Affairs, University of Basel. An evening meal was then enjoyed by all providing a setting in which less formal discussion could take place.
Seminar - Riva San Vitale, Ticino
Swiss and US groups reconvened in Riva San Vitale, Ticino for the GPP 2010 Seminar. Over June 1st and 2nd the two groups had further opportunity to address issues and challenges of global higher education. Proceedings included two guest speakers. Diane Houston, Professor of Psychology and Dean of the Graduate School, University of Kent, spoke about Higher Education and Graduate Education in the UK.
Christoph A. von Arb, founder and president of International Initiatives Inc. - TRIPLEYE, presented Between Tradition and Competition: Challenges and Opportunities for Swiss Research Universities laying out a model of how Swiss universities might position themselves in the global HE market. Christoph is the former Counsel General and Director of the first Scientific Consulate of Switzerland and the former Head of International Affairs, Office of the State Secretary for Education and Research.
Time was dedicated to the planning and consideration of material to be presented at the conference held in Washington DC at the close of the programme. Participants divided into two panels to respond the the question; How, and how well, does HE prepare future academic leaders in the respective fields of Teaching/Learning and Research/Scholarship? Dialogue, although loudly interrupted by the church bells of Riva San Vitale, proved productive. Panel roles were assigned, the presentation format determined and frameworks for content established.
Programme participants took part in a ceremony where the signing of a Global Perspectives Declaration [PDF/1.2 MB] demonstrated the groups' commitment to a global HE network.
In a final session, Prof. Karen De Pauw presented an overview of Higher Education in the US. Her presentation included specifics on the HE institutions to be visited by Swiss participants during the following week in the US.
Meeting in Boston, the Swiss delegation began their programme in the US with visits to a number of institutions in the area. These included Northeastern University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Universtity's WEB du Bois Institute. An evening reception was held at Swissnex, the Consulate of Switzerland, a foreign representation of Switzerland dedicated to Education, Research, Innovation, Art and Design.
After an early flight from Boston, June 8th was spent at the University of Virginia. The group was received by a delegation led by David Wolcott, Assistant Vice President for Graduate Studies, Office of the Vice President for Research. Presentations on the day prompted many insightful questions from participants. The group travelled that evening to Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech.
A further two HE institutions were visited the following day. Hollins University and the New River Community College. In the evening the Swiss visitors were officially welcomed to Virginia Tech at a reception hosted by Virginia Tech President, Dr. Charles W. Steger. Here, Swiss and US groups met together again in a new context. There was much to discuss as Swiss participants' initial impressions of experiences in the US generated many questions. Beginning the next morning, a full day's programme was planned for participants at Virginia Tech. At the day's conclusion US and Swiss participants departed for Washington in readiness for the conference taking place the next day.
GPP 2010 Conference & Programme Close
The visit culminated with a conference hosted by the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington D.C. Keynote speaker was Dr Alan Goodman, CEO of the Institute of International Education (IIE – www.iie.org). The two panels, – Teaching/Learning and Research/Scholarship – made up of Swiss and US participants, presented their findings to an audience of approximately fifty. The conference was followed by a luncheon reception at the Swiss Ambassador’s Residence.
A final assortment of impressions was collected during one last visit made to the Howard University campus, signalling the close of the programme for 2010.
Graduates (docs and postdoc students) interested in joining GPP 2012 can make inquiries to international-2-at-unibas.ch