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Shepherd University receives $10,000 internationalization grant

ISSUED: 31 March 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
(Shepherd University receives $10,000 internationalization grant)

Shepherdstown, WV--Shepherd University has received a $10,000 grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission through the Consortium for Internationalizing Higher Education.

In February 2010, Shepherd began a campuswide initiative, under the direction of Dr. Mark Stern, professor of political science, to expand internationalization with the assistance of the American Council on Education. According to Stern, the goal of the planning grant, which will be matched by 50 percent by Shepherd, is to lead to a formal exchange program of faculty and students between Shepherd and partner institutions at the University of Laval in Quebec and the University of San Marcos in Peru. In addition, the grant will allow implementation for an internationalization community in Shepherd's residence halls and common learning areas.

According to Dr. Rachel Ritterbusch, associate professor of French, the grant will allow Shepherd to integrate faculty research and diversity with international content.

"It is an excellent first step in the development of Shepherd's internationalization process," Stern said. "In addition, the grant provides for the development of a language area in the dorms and this, too, will be of help to students who are interested in developing their expertise in French or Spanish language. Dr. Ritterbusch did an excellent job in this grant as it is a very sound step in the further development of the modern languages program at Shepherd."

Ritterbusch said that establishing connections with schools in Quebec and Peru will encourage student and faculty exchange programs. This partnership will also enable Shepherd students to complete a program of study at a host institution.

International housing will be available on Shepherd's campus starting in the fall of 2012 for students majoring in modern languages, giving them a viable immersion experience in existing on-campus housing. Students will commit to speaking only the target language while in the residence and will be supported by native-speaker assistants who will live with the students.

In the fall of 2011, Satellite Communications for Learning Associated (SCOLA) World TV will be installed online throughout the campus. According to Ritterbusch, SCOLA will be available in campus computer labs as well as televisions in the Student Center and the residence hall for international language housing. SCOLA is a nonprofit educational organization that receives and re-transmits television programming from around the world in native languages.

"I hope that in the long-term there will be more of an international flavor on campus, and we will have a stronger language program and greater diversity on campus," Ritterbusch said.

Ritterbusch said that what makes Shepherd unique for internationalization is that it is close to major hubs of the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., metro area, but still has a small town feel. "It has that 'Think local, go global' type feel," Ritterbusch said.

-30-KESNER

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