Troy University is using its new Global Scholar Initiative Program to work toward the internationalization of the university with the hopes of it becoming a university-wide initiative.
“We call ourselves the international institution of Alabama,” said Dr. Richard Ledet, director of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) at Troy. “We can always be taking steps to improve, to demonstrate, that we are.
“This (program) has the potential to spill out benefits into the broader community, because it’s not just about internationalization, it’s about intercultural experience and coming together with other cultures.”
Ledet described internationalization as the “process of becoming more open and aware to other cultures.”
“If you can understand culture, you can understand how to function … you should be able to go to any country on this planet because you could still have an international experience and never even leave your own country,” Ledet said.
The QEP is an accreditation process built on two globally-focused initiatives: a student initiative and a faculty initiative, both with the goal of “developing Troy’s capacity to provide students with an education geared toward global competency.”
The Global Scholar Program is the student-focused portion of the QEP.
“Our goal that everybody who graduates with this program will have the Global Scholar designation through NASBITE (National Association of Small Business International Trade Educator),” said Dr. Clint Relyea, a member on the SCOB International Development Committee.
“I joined (the Global Scholar Program) in the first semester of my freshman year, so fall 2019,” said Matthew Smith, a sophomore business management major from Prattville, Alabama, and one of nine current Global Scholars.
Smith said the appeal to students is the personal relationships and connections students can make as part of the program.
“We have a deep personal interest in their future,” Relyea said. “Sometimes we provide drinks and stuff like that for the students that come in and we visit together. It’s a real collegial (relaxed and friendly) kind of atmosphere.
“We want to do career coaching and that kind of stuff all the way through until you graduate and provide this office as a center for Global Scholars that the business school is set up for.”
“My focus is on helping students become more adaptive, and therefore competitive, in a complex and increasingly globalized world,” Ledet said.
Relyea believes the Global Scholar Program is a way for the university to develop global citizens while “improving our ability to communicate across cultural boundaries.”
“That’s kind of our philosophy,” Relyea said.
“Anyone who participates in this program has the potential to create a body of knowledge that will make them a better scholar, and that is something that stays with you,” Ledet said.
“It might seem daunting but if you rise to the occasion you will benefit in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine before you set out on this journey. It’s worth it.”