University attempts to expand globally

In an attempt to expand global participation and become increasingly accessible to non-local students, Gannon University administrators are researching the possibility of establishing a campus overseas. The location that is being most heavily considered at this early point in the planning stages is India.

The goal of this project is to provide access to Gannon programs to students who would not normally be able to attain the “Gannon experience,” said Keith Taylor, Ph.D., Gannon’s provost and vice president of academic affairs. Taylor said that 83 percent of college students attend school within 100 miles of where they live. With Lake Erie on one side, Gannon has a smaller area from which to draw in more local prospective students. Developing a campus at a new location is one way to become more accessible.

Though the project is still very premature, India has surfaced as one of the best options for a location for several reasons, he said.

One of the most important factors in selecting a site for a new campus is whether the area’s population is growing and will continue to grow over the next several years. According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, India is home to 1.1 billion people, 350 million of which are under the age of 14 and will soon be in need of options for attending college.

India has some areas that are very impoverished, but they have a desire to expand their industry and are therefore in need of a drastic increase in educational opportunities for engineering and business, among other programs.

Another important factor that makes India stand out as a prospective location is the fact that a private partner has already come forward to fund, develop and build the campus. Since Gannon will not fund the project, a partner who is willing to do so is a necessary component to the undertaking of an overseas campus.

Furthermore, Taylor said that the majority of our international students come from India. The new campus would be a way of recruiting students for both the Erie and Indian campuses. It would also promote student exchange; allowing Erie students to study abroad in India and vice-versa. Students would also have the opportunity to do service and internships abroad.

 Taylor also said an overseas campus would “increase Gannon’s international presence and global perspective.” It would be a way for students choosing to study abroad to learn about the culture, business practices and diversity of another country.

Since the idea is still in the preliminary stages, the next six months will require extensive research and planning development on Gannon’s part to determine the definite location and time frame for this project.

What Taylor said he knows for certain is that the school would operate with Gannon faculty, staff and programs and would have the feel of a Gannon campus. 

CHRISTINE PEFFER

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