School has view toward greater links in Asia, Middle East

Last updated: July 21. 2014 12:05AM - 1912 Views
By - jdolinsky@timesleader.com

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WILKES-BARRE — King’s College is recruiting students from Turkey.

With their sights set on diversifying campus while reaching students on an international basis, representatives from King’s College have returned from a trip to Turkey, where several academic partnerships were established.

On the trip, King’s President Rev. John Ryan and Dr. Fevzi Akinci, associate dean of the William G. McGowan School of Business, met with of not-for-profit universities to share several school initiatives.

The agreement calls for a “2+2” commitment between the student and the school, in which a student would take two years of courses at one of the participating Turkish schools and finish the remaining two years at King’s, receiving a degree from both.

For Akinci, a native of Turkey, the country was an obvious starting point.

He worked for three years as the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Zirve University in Garziantep, Turkey, and was a member of the Turkish Higher Education council from 2010-2012.

“I knew the region well,” Akinci said. “I know exactly what they had to offer.”

According to rankings by the International Monetary Fund, Turkey has the 16th richest economy in the world based on its gross domestic product.

“They have multiple resources,” he said. “Students from there can only stand to benefit by bringing their knowledge of the economy here and combining it with our curriculum.”

The first wave of Turkish students is expected to be enrolled this fall, as the faculty work on cleaning up the final stages of the curriculum. Much of that curriculum is the work of De Martin, King’s director of international student recruitment.

“The world is a much smaller place today, so we are looking at global marketplaces for our graduates,” Martin said. “In order to prepare them, we need to internationalize not just the campus but the curriculum.”

With that in mind, Martin said she has been working diligently with faculty and staff on easing the transition to the area for international students, including dining, residency and travel.

Though transportation costs are paid by the student, Martin said scholarships are available to help defray the cost of travel. Those scholarships won’t detract from the number of offers available to domestic students, she added.

Additionally, Martin said students are already in the process of forming an international student association to assist in familiarizing international students not only with King’s but with the Wilkes-Barre area.

Part of the first two years will involve English prep programs, though King’s is currently in the initial stages of enhancing academic programs with additional English language support.

“Certainly the aim is about exposing our students to global ideals and global culture so that someday they might be prepared for that global market we now live in,” she said.

While the current enrollment agreement calls a 2+2 format, Martin said the college is open to any type of academic partnerships, including three-year accelerated programs which would allow students to save on housing and tuition costs while allowing them to get the education they’re seeking.

“For international students, business tracts are extremely attractive,” she said, adding that students will eventually have the option to enroll in international relations and science programs like chemistry and biology.

While the focus currently is on Turkey, Akinci said that relationship will serve as a hub which allows King’s to expand their program offerings into Asia and the Middle East.

King’s representatives are already in the early stages of discussions with several medical schools in Saudi Arabia and a college of pharmacy in Taiwan.

“Just seeing that growth potential is very exciting,” he said.

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