Global Engagement Director does own EDGE Project, Abroad of Course

Published: August 15, 2014 | Author: Olyvia Myer | Category: Academics

SUU’s Director of Global Engagement, Dr. Kurt Harris, spent seven weeks this summer researching the international programs operations of universities in Australia. Funded by an Endeavour Executive Award from the Australian government and hosted by CQ University, Harris met with over 75 faculty, staff, and students at six different universities down under to learn how the institutions coordinate their study abroad programs, negotiate international partnerships, recruit and retain international students, and staff their operations.

Because Harris has been part of the team developing and delivering SUU’s EDGE program, he decided he would structure his research following the path that his students take when they conduct their EDGE projects. “The fellowship application was very much like a detailed EDGE project proposal, with a timeline, budget, and expected outcomes," said Harris. "And I kept a record of everyone I met with and what we discussed while I was in Australia. When I returned, I included many of the things I learned there in a strategic plan for internationalizing SUU, and I submitted that plan to President Wyatt.”

As part of his project, Harris will present his research at SUU’s Festival of Excellence next spring, and he will seek other venues, both nationally and internationally, to share the results of his research. He is also providing an assessment report to CQ University.

Although he spent the majority of his time focusing on research in Australia, Harris made the most of his free time. “I saw kangaroos lounging in the sun on CQU’s Rockhampton campus, was invited to take a helicopter ride there, visited the Sydney Opera House, spent time in several art galleries, and saw fairy penguins nesting in a breakwater near Melbourne." But what Harris enjoyed the most were the people. "Australians tend to be very generous and kind, and I developed some friendships in the relatively short time I was there. It was a wonderful experience on many levels.”

Harris earned his PhD in Literature at the University of California Santa Cruz, is an Associate Professor of English at SUU, and served as Chair of the English Department before being hired as the Director of Global Engagement in 2010. For the past nine years, he has led study abroad programs to London. This fall, he will be teaching and conducting further research on higher ed international programs in Spain as a Fulbright Specialist.

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