Internationalization of graduate and professional programs at the University of Pennsylvania: An opportunity and a challenge

Mary C Mazzola, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Globalization has altered the landscape of higher education. The academy is challenged to prepare students to live and work in today's global society. Cultural understanding and global awareness are essential for students as they prepare to become effective leaders, to be competitive in the global marketplace, and to solve growing global problems. This study explores the impact of academic leadership, school and disciplinary cultures, and administrative decentralization on an institution-wide internationalization initiative by examining what opportunities are available for graduate and professional students to develop a global perspective in their academic programs. This multi-site case study focuses on 4 of the 12 professional and graduate schools at the University of Pennsylvania: the Annenberg School for Communication, the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and the Wharton School. These schools were chosen for their different disciplinary perspectives and the depth and breadth of their existing global initiatives. Data for this research were collected through the following methods: (a) analysis of the work of Penn's Task Force on Global Engagement, (b) semi-structured interviews, and (c) review of internal documents (i.e., program reports, course syllabi, etc.). Interviews were conducted with senior administrators, administrators, and faculty at the selected schools and with members of Penn's central administration. What emerged from this study was consensus on the pivotal role leadership plays in moving Penn's internationalization agenda forward. Leadership at Penn (administrative and faculty) has created a variety of opportunities for graduate and professional students to develop a global perspective in their academic studies. Cost and time constraints, however, are major barriers for students in taking advantage of these opportunities. Also missing from this array of globally focused initiatives are interdisciplinary endeavors across schools. Penn's dearth of collaborative global endeavors presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenges include cost, time, and Penn's decentralized administrative structure. But an opportunity lies in bridging efforts among schools.

Subject Area

School administration|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Mazzola, Mary C, "Internationalization of graduate and professional programs at the University of Pennsylvania: An opportunity and a challenge" (2007). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3255877.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3255877

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