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The Robert and Suzanne Barker Globalization Institute

  • Gannon University - Global Possibilities provided by the Barker Globalization Institute.

    Globalization is one of those concepts that seem easy to grasp, yet difficult to define, but not for Robert P. Barker '72, whose eventful career exemplifies the idea.

    Barker, a member of the Gannon University Board of Trustees, had a four-decade career with Parker Aerospace, a multinational manufacturer that designs, builds and supports systems and components for virtually every aircraft flying today. His career took him to dozens of countries, bringing him into contact with many cultures.

    Believing that Gannon students should have a similar opportunity to experience the world, Bob and his wife Suzanne have made a transformational gift to the University to create the Robert and Suzanne Barker Globalization Institute.

    This University institute's goal is to:

    • Enhance global learning opportunities;
    • Prepare students, faculty and staff to be competitive, socially responsible world citizens;
    • Increase recruitment and retention of students who embrace respect, open dialogue and a global perspective.

    Academic Affairs

    Learning Abroad

    Programs abroad offer the opportunity to explore world cultures and languages while developing the interpersonal and analytical skills vital to success in the global marketplace. A learning abroad experience is a time of adventure where students can explore new themes, shift perspective and build relationships and challenge oneself to learn and grow.

    International Partnerships

    Partnership development grants are available to departments or colleges interested in furthering the development of an existing or new international partnership.  Funding is intended to support start-up costs for initiatives in the first year of a new project that will enrich the opportunities and activities for students (i.e., curriculum, teaching, service, scholarship, internships, research, etc.)

    Faculty and Staff Exchange

    This program will support short-term exchanges for individual faculty or staff members between University and our international partner institutions.  Potential activities include: providing services, consulting, building departmental relations, reviewing curriculum, planning and conducting cooperative joint research activities and developing programs and courses.

    Globalization of the Curriculum

    To effectively address complex global issues, students must understand their role as individuals, their role in collective responsibilities, as well as these ethical issues associated with a global world.  Funds will be used to engage faculty to identify curricular needs and to assist with curriculum revisions.  The curriculum revision will: identify areas of the curriculum that would best incorporate global issues; provide support to faculty members to incorporate global issues into their courses; develop curriculum components that effectively teach global issues; and provide continuing support for faculty to redesign their courses to incorporate diversity and global themes.

    Student Engagement

    International Service

    Service trips are short term, mission connected, highly focused trips that enable students to meet local citizens in their own international communities and to contribute to their host country in a mission connected way. Student leaders often develop and facilitate these trips that are accompanied by faculty and staff.  Recent trips have gone to Haiti, Guatemala, Africa, and Mexico.

    Global Travel Program

    The newly developed T.R.A.V.E.L. Program (Transforming Residents Abroad Via Engaged Learning) targets juniors and seniors to form small groups that live on-campus in intentional communities, meet every other week to study a variety of topics together in partnership with two staff/faculty facilitators, and travel together to the international destination of their choice at the end of the academic year.  Students who live on-campus and actively participate receive $1000 toward the cost of their trip.  During this group experience students learn about the country and topics of interest to that group; develop their intercultural competence; and explore at least two of the goals of student development:  leadership, service, global citizenship and wellness.  Recent trips have gone to Israel, Germany, Australia, South Africa and other locations in Europe.


    Global Admissions and Outreach

    Strategically, Gannon will continue to grow the number of international students on campus by expanding recruitment.  Currently, Gannon has 403 international students from 33 countries.  The Office of English Language and Global Training serves students whose native language is not English and who intend to begin their Gannon degree immediately.  Students who are required to take ESL courses must successfully complete the ESL program before being completely transitioned into a degree seeking program.  

    Global Support and Student Engagement

    To provide greater support services to enrich the international experience including flexible housing and food service opportunities; programs that integrate the international student into campus everyday life; and collaborative ventures for international and American students that promote learning and enhanced cultural awareness. 

    Overall Impact

    Funding the Barker Globalization Institute will provide endowment, operating and capital funds to support a systematic set of campus-wide, cross-divisional, international initiatives that will build an international culture on the Gannon campus and prepare students to participate globally.