After traveling for three weeks and recruiting students from several universities in four Asian countries, Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs and Guangming Zou, English as a Second Language program director, have returned to Murray State.
Robertson and Zou met with 10 different universities in China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan as part of their annual recruiting trip, looking for potential Murray State students, while also strengthening and maintaining the University’s bond with its partnering universities abroad. China, South Korea and Japan are three of the top seven countries that send students to Murray State.
As a result of the trip, Robertson and Zou have finalized the spring semester enrollment of 30 new students from the Otsuma Women’s University in Japan, following their visit to the campus. The Murray State ambassadors also had a chance to meet and establish a new partnership with representatives from Pusan National University in South Korea, one of the top 500 ranked universities in the world, which will also be sending students abroad in the spring.
Luis Canales, director of International Studies, and Robertson’s and Zou’s frequent companion on these trips, said these visits are not just about bringing back students, but are also about opening doors for students, faculty and staff and creating the opportunity for meaningful international experiences.
He said in the fall trips to Asia, they typically visit new partnerships and inactive partnerships that still have the potential for sending Murray State students, while their trips in the spring are more oriented around meeting with students already set on attending in the fall.
“The three of us have developed strong relationships and trust with schools, which is critical for continued success and expansion, particularly in Asia,” Canales said. “These schools trust their students to us and it is reassuring to them when we pay a visit.”
He said these face-to-face meetings are a must and show commitment as well as genuine interest in making a relationship work well.
Jay Morgan, vice president of Academic Affairs, hopes to grow the University’s relationship with Asia past sending each other students by establishing a sister university in Asia, like Murray State’s program in Regensburg, Germany. He said his established task force, headed by Canales, has narrowed down the list of potential universities to four and is scheduled to make its final announcement during International Week.
Morgan said he wants to establish a more permanent presence in Asia where Murray State can offer classes to international students and where they will be able to send Murray State faculty to teach.
Following up on Robertson’s and Zou’s recruiting efforts, Tyson Manering, Murray State’s full-time international recruiter, left Monday on what will be a two-month journey abroad visiting China, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
Story by Ben Manhanke, Assistant News Editor