Oct 10, 2015 | Atlanta, GA
Our trip wrapped up with two days in Munich for the 2015 meeting of the Global Alliance of Technological Universities (“Global Tech”). The theme of the event was “Internationalization of Higher Education in the Globalized Economy: Motivation, Strategies and Sharing of Best Practices.” Created in 2009, the Global Alliance members include Technical University of Munich (TUM, the host of this meeting), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore, California Institute of Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of New South Wales (Australia), Imperial College (England), Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, ETH Zurich and Georgia Tech. Carnegie Mellon was welcomed as a new member during the event.
The Alliance seeks to be a forum for presidents and high-level officers to jointly address issues of science and technology education and research, and to share best practices among leading global institutions with similar missions. The members promote student exchanges and faculty collaboration in education and research. Last year, Georgia Tech hosted the meeting, themed “University Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy: Challenges, Opportunities and Sharing of Best Practices” and showcased Technology Square as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship in Atlanta.
On Day One, we participated in a member sharing session and I was proud to share an overview of the exciting momentum happening here at Georgia Tech and our continued commitment to “graduating good global citizens” through innovation, and global and social engagement. On Day Two, I participated in a best practices roundtable on the internationalization of education, while Yves Berthelot, vice president for international initiatives, participated in a session about the internationalization of research.
It was a great opportunity to highlight the success of our International Plan and study abroad programs: now 52% (more in engineering) of our graduating students spend a summer, semester or more abroad. That is an extraordinary and very positive feature of the Georgia Tech experience, unmatched by any science-engineering focused university in the country and rarely surpassed by any university – the average number is more like 14% in the United States. It was also an opportunity to celebrate our presence in many parts of the world and in particular the success of our campus in Metz, France.
I also highlighted our SERVE-LEARN-SUSTAIN initiative and the goals of the new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). Today’s students seek a fuller understanding of society, culture and the world. Today’s employers are looking for a workforce with international experience and intercultural proficiencies. Through initiatives like study abroad, the international plan, and opportunities through SERVE-LEARN-SUSTAIN, Georgia Tech is answering both calls.
The highlight of the trip, though, was an alumni/ae reception held during the last evening in Munich. Around 70 of our graduates joined us for a relaxed evening of conversation and networking. This is an outstanding group, most working and leading in some of the most powerful companies in the world, for example Siemens (a strategic partner of Georgia Tech), Daimler, BMW, and many others.
As is always the case they cherished the opportunity to hear about all that is going on in the Institute and reminisce about their good times in Atlanta. Of particular interest was the presence of several students presently spending time in TUM, and expatriates working in Germany in major companies: the education of the global citizen is working!
- Rafael L. Bras