Global Perspectives Shared At the Swiss Embassy in Washington DC

Another exciting opportunity to gather with the VT and Swiss Global Perspectives Program (GPP) Cohort 2017 in Washington, DC to present about Higher Education as a Public Good.  It was great to be able to have most everyone attend our presentation at the Swiss Embassy on Friday, June 23rd. There were a few who were not in attendance, but were missed and remembered!

Throughout the entire trip, I have gained an overview of how higher education is set up in some European countries and how I compare or contrast this to my working knowledge of how higher education is set up in the USA. Personally, I see education as both a private and public good.  Private, in the fact that your education should be about increasing one’s own knowledge and understanding; yet, public because higher education as a whole should be for the betterment of the communities in which it serves.

Our GPP cohort was broken into three groups to discuss perspectives in the following areas:  Massification of Higher Education: Smart Solutions for Open Global Higher Education; Global Higher Education in the Post Truth Era: Importance of Fact Finding and Critical Thinking Skills; and Communicating Science in Global Higher Education.  Each group posed interesting thoughts and questions on ways for us to think both globally and forwardly.

We also heard the guest speaker, Dr. Mary Sue Coleman, President of Association of American Universities, give her thoughts on the current landscape of higher education. She charged us with being innovative, creative, and flexible in ways we teach students to apply and use knowledge.  Dr. Coleman stated that innovation and creativity can create new pathways for higher education in the global landscape.

Overall the meeting was powerful, enlightening, and served as a reminder of how we all face similar challenges no matter where we are in the world. As the GPP 2017 cohort “circled up” in our chairs one last time, we shared what we learned, what we wished were included, and a recommendation to help make the next trip better. Even though I may have some recommendations for things different, I do not wish one single experience was different. The trip has given me insight and caused me to think differently about me and the education system moving forward. So, perhaps, the trip was perfect. Perfect in that it allowed seamless things to happen, but also allowed for blips or imperfections that kept us all grounded.

No, I do not believe I would change a thing.  Except maybe I would have had one more gelato before I left…. 🙂

Thank you goes out to the Swiss Embassy for hosting us, and as always feeding us well! Thanks also to our Swiss cohort members for traveling our way for this meeting. May you have safe travels back to Switzerland!

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