In an effort to further enhance vital international connections, Brock has become Canada’s first university to launch a Global Scholars Office (GSO) aimed at facilitating and supporting academic exchange and collaboration.
The unique centralized service assists international scholars and professors with the logistics of visiting the institution, while also aiding Brock academics with collaborative opportunities overseas.
Building on the success and benefits of the well-established visiting scholar program, the University is investing greater resources and support to launch the new office — a one-stop shop to provide supports and promote opportunities for both inbound and outbound academics looking to participate in international research and teaching experiences.
Academics are assisted from pre-departure with required documentation, accommodations and, in the case of outbound participants, making connections with partnering institutions. Support is offered with library and computer access, health insurance and other logistics.
Many institutions in Canada require professors to make these connections and arrangements on their own without any formal assistance.
In a time of economic restraint, introduction of the GSO affirms Brock’s continued commitment to enhancing internationalization.
The new office is intended to help create a positive experience from start to finish for all international scholars working with Brock, said Jamie Mandigo, the University’s Vice-Provost for Enrolment Management and International.
The hope, he said, is that it will lead to additional collaboration opportunities with institutions around the globe.
“The more welcome scholars feel here, the more likely they are to return, to do more research and collaborate with our faculty and grad students,” he said. “They’re also more likely to recommend Brock as a destination for others back in their home country.”
To ensure scholars feel like part of the Brock community during their stay, a reception is held each term to introduce them to other scholars, faculty, staff and administration.
The next We Welcome the World reception is scheduled for May 9.
Visiting scholars are also encouraged to share their research with the Brock community through a speaker series created to highlight their contributions to various fields of study.
Those global connections provide valuable insight into innovative research happening around the world, while also highlighting the work taking place at Brock, Mandigo said.
“Members or our own community are our best recruiters because they can share first-hand knowledge of the great things we’re doing,” he said. “We want to show the world why it’s an advantage to come to Brock.”
It was Atsushi Lino’s interaction with the Global Scholars Office that helped to solidify Brock as the institution of choice for his visit from Japan’s Hosei University.
The GSO quickly responded to his query about visiting the Department of Applied Linguistics, helped to expedite the process and created an immediate rapport, he said.
Upon his arrival, office staff helped Lino address challenges he encountered.
The support provided a sense of security during his time in Canada, he said.
It was Brock’s commitment to internationalization that inspired formal visiting scholar services many years ago, said Sheila Young, the University’s Associate Director of International Supports.
“We already knew that many faculty engaged in scholarly collaboration with colleagues all over the world, and putting formal programs into place to help support this important activity served to strengthen it,” she said.
The Global Scholars Office aims to further enhance that success and make more inbound and outbound opportunities available.
Professor Lucie Thibault, in Brock’s Department of Sport Management, was recently helped by the GSO in planning a visit to Hochschule Koblenz University of Applied Sciences in Germany.
During her three-month stay, Thibault will be interacting with international exchange and graduate students, as well as teaching two courses.
“From a research and teaching perspective, it’s an invaluable exchange of ideas and knowledge,” she said, while crediting the GSO for helping to bring the trip to fruition.
The office is yet another asset Brock faculty can promote while working abroad, she added.