Wednesday, August 25, 2010

GlobalPittsburgh Coordinates Education Partnership Aimed at Increasing International Student Enrollment and Retention in Greater Pittsburgh Region

GlobalPittsburgh has formed a consortium of colleges, universities and other organizations in the Greater Pittsburgh Region with the goal of increasing international student enrollment and retention by 10 percent in the next five years.

Study Pittsburgh! is the marketing theme of the GlobalPittsburgh Education Partnership (GPEP), which is a new initiative of GlobalPittsburgh, a non-profit organization that for 50-plus years has hosted international visitors through the U.S. Department of State and other agencies. In 2010, GlobalPittsburgh embarked on this initiative to increase international student enrollment in the Greater Pittsburgh Region by 10 percent in the next five years.

The Study Pittsburgh! campaign reaches around the world attracting international and globally-minded students to study at one of the many top-notch accredited institutions and English Language programs in the Greater Pittsburgh Region.

The campaign also has the effect of building the Pittsburgh brand to a universal audience as a desirable, highly livable city, a center for innovation and entrepreneurship, and an education and cultural hub. It also will connect with students when they are attending school in the Region.

Increasing the number of international students in the Region has many positive benefits. For universities it means higher enrollment numbers, often at full tuition, greater on-campus diversity as a positive recruiting tool, an expanding global alumni network, and greater visibility in a worldwide and increasingly competitive education market.

In economic terms, international students make a significant positive impact, contributing an estimated $2.6 million to the regional economy for every 100 international students enrolled at regional colleges and universities, according to the Institute for International Education.

Known as the GlobalPittsburgh Education Partnership (GPEP), the consortium currently includes 17 participants and is expected to continue growing, according to Roger O. Cranville, President of GlobalPittsburgh, which creates programs for international delegations through the U.S. Department of State and brings together the region’s international communities.

“We’ve had a great response to the program thus far, and we hope to include additional educational institutions and interested organizations in the very near future,” Cranville said. “We plan to use GlobalPittsburgh’s resources to raise the visibility of the region’s outstanding educational opportunities around the world, and also to help engage incoming students and their families once they arrive in the region.”

Partner institutions currently include:
Carlow University
Chatham University
Community College of Allegheny County
Duquesne University
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
La Roche College
Penn State – Beaver
Penn State – Greater Allegheny
Penn State – New Kensington
Point Park University
Robert Morris University
University of Pittsburgh English Language Institute
University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business
Washington and Jefferson College
West Virginia University
West Liberty University

Participation in the GPEP also provides access for students to the GlobalPittsburgh CONNECT program, which helps international students, professionals and families settle into the community by offering more than 30 activities per year, including orientations, networking events, hospitality dinners with American hosts and other services.

“Through our existing international connections, including U.S. and foreign embassies and consulates around the world, we have already begun to promote the Pittsburgh region’s broad spectrum of educational programs,” Cranville said. “Our GPEP partners already have had numerous opportunities to meet with high-level international officials interested in connecting with the Pittsburgh region.”

In recent weeks, GPEP participants have met with several government delegations, including ambassadors from Vietnam and the Republic of Georgia, and from Lagos, Nigeria, the second largest city in Africa. Coordinated by GlobalPittsburgh, these meetings have led to serious discussions about admissions opportunities and educational partnerships in such areas as faculty training and transfer programs.

About 7,000 international students are currently enrolled in colleges and universities in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, according to the Institute for International Education in Washington, D.C. Eighty percent of those students are enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, creating opportunities for growth at the other 25-plus institutions in the region.

“The CONNECT program provides a wonderful addition to support on our campuses for international students by providing integration with the larger community,” said Dr. Sabine C. Klahr, Assistant Vice President for International Affairs at Chatham University.

“This partnership will provide valuable resources and connections for regional higher education institutions for recruiting international students, developing cooperation with institutions across the world, and expanding our global footprint,” she said. “This will also assist institutions to develop ties to business and organizations that will help us expand our international dimension and provide services and programs to audiences beyond students.”

Curtiss E. Porter, PhD., Chancellor of Penn State Greater Allegheny in McKeesport, said his ongoing relationship with GlobalPittsburgh enhances the university’s goal to be an international campus.

“We are committed to student success, global citizenship and engagement in the region, the commonwealth, in our nation and through our international partnerships,” Dr. Porter said. “Like all of the Penn State campuses in the Greater Pittsburgh area, we appreciate our partnership with GlobalPittsburgh. We are happy to be part of a University-Community partnership that will make life better for all."

Michael Wilhelm, Director of the Office of International Students and Scholars at WVU, said “My colleagues and I at the Office of International Students and Scholars at West Virginia University are proud to have the chance to participate in an organization like GPEP. Not only will it help spread the word about WVU to prospective students around the globe, but the Connect program will allow the 1,500 international students currently at WVU to interact with even more students from their home countries who are also studying in the region.

About GlobalPittsburgh
For more than 50 years, GlobalPittsburgh, formerly known as the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors, has forged relationships between the Greater Pittsburgh Region and the global community through citizen diplomacy – connecting people and institutions in the region with audiences around the world through a wide range of hosting, training, networking, educational and outreach programs and services.

GlobalPittsburgh engages international delegations, groups and individuals by creating itineraries and facilitating introductions through the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program and other international programming agencies in many fields, including energy and environment, life sciences and medicine, education, business and technology, clean/green design, advanced manufacturing, arts and culture, government and finance, social services and law, and other areas.

GlobalPittsburgh welcomes individuals and families to engage in citizen diplomacy as dinner and homestay hosts, tour guides, office and event volunteers, and greeters for visiting delegations and individuals.

For more information about GlobalPittsburgh, go to www.globalpittsburgh.org or contact Thomas Buell, Jr., GlobalPittsburgh VP-Communications, at 412-392-4513 or 412-720-2218, or by email at tcbuell@gmail.com.

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