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Globalization is one of those concepts that seem easy to grasp,
yet difficult to define, but not for Robert P. Barker '72, whose
eventful career exemplifies the idea.
Barker, a member of the Gannon University Board of Trustees, had
a four-decade career with Parker Aerospace, a multinational
manufacturer that designs, builds and supports systems and
components for virtually every aircraft flying today. His career
took him to dozens of countries, bringing him into contact with
Believing that Gannon students should have a similar opportunity
to experience the world, Bob and his wife Suzanne have made a
transformational gift to the University to create the Robert and
Suzanne Barker Globalization Institute.
This University institute's goal is to:
Programs abroad offer the opportunity to explore world cultures
and languages while developing the interpersonal and analytical
skills vital to success in the global marketplace. A learning
abroad experience is a time of adventure where students can explore
new themes, shift perspective and build relationships and challenge
oneself to learn and grow.
Partnership development grants are available to departments or
colleges interested in furthering the development of an existing or
new international partnership. Funding is intended to support
start-up costs for initiatives in the first year of a new project
that will enrich the opportunities and activities for students
(i.e., curriculum, teaching, service, scholarship, internships,
This program will support short-term exchanges for individual
faculty or staff members between University and our international
partner institutions. Potential activities include: providing
services, consulting, building departmental relations, reviewing
curriculum, planning and conducting cooperative joint research
activities and developing programs and courses.
To effectively address complex global issues, students must
understand their role as individuals, their role in collective
responsibilities, as well as these ethical issues associated with a
global world. Funds will be used to engage faculty to
identify curricular needs and to assist with curriculum
revisions. The curriculum revision will: identify areas of
the curriculum that would best incorporate global issues; provide
support to faculty members to incorporate global issues into their
courses; develop curriculum components that effectively teach
global issues; and provide continuing support for faculty to
redesign their courses to incorporate diversity and global
Service trips are short term, mission connected, highly focused
trips that enable students to meet local citizens in their own
international communities and to contribute to their host country
in a mission connected way. Student leaders often develop and
facilitate these trips that are accompanied by faculty and
staff. Recent trips have gone to Haiti, Guatemala, Africa,
The newly developed T.R.A.V.E.L. Program (Transforming Residents
Abroad Via Engaged Learning) targets juniors and seniors to form
small groups that live on-campus in intentional communities, meet
every other week to study a variety of topics together in
partnership with two staff/faculty facilitators, and travel
together to the international destination of their choice at the
end of the academic year. Students who live on-campus and
actively participate receive $1000 toward the cost of their
trip. During this group experience students learn about the
country and topics of interest to that group; develop their
intercultural competence; and explore at least two of the goals of
student development: leadership, service, global citizenship
and wellness. Recent trips have gone to Israel, Germany,
Australia, South Africa and other locations in Europe.
Strategically, Gannon will continue to grow the number of
international students on campus by expanding recruitment.
Currently, Gannon has 403 international students from 33
countries. The Office of English Language and Global Training
serves students whose native language is not English and who intend
to begin their Gannon degree immediately. Students who are
required to take ESL courses must successfully complete
the ESL program before being completely transitioned into a degree
To provide greater support services to enrich the international
experience including flexible housing and food service
opportunities; programs that integrate the international student
into campus everyday life; and collaborative ventures for
international and American students that promote learning and
enhanced cultural awareness.
Funding the Barker Globalization Institute will provide
endowment, operating and capital funds to support a systematic set
of campus-wide, cross-divisional, international initiatives that
will build an international culture on the Gannon campus and
prepare students to participate globally.