The global equation

Oct 12, 2009

Some important activities that Kettering University's Office of International Programs is developing include educational agreements with universities in the Middle East and Far East, which help expand the University's global plans.

It doesn’t take a mathematician to comprehend the following equation: sweat equity + relationship building = new international opportunities for Kettering University.

In recent months, Kettering’s reputation has broached the boundaries of the Far and Middle East regions of the globe, thanks in large part to a university-wide strategic response to this equation. 

Yeditepe University of Istanbul, Turkey; Chungju National University of Chungju, South Korea; and Ajou University of Korea have recently signed agreements with Kettering University to provide opportunities for students to study abroad. In addition, research collaborations with faculty from these universities will also be available, thus deepening the relationship between Kettering and these three schools.

For Dr. Luchen Li, who has directed Kettering’s Office of International Programs since April 2007 and is also an associate professor of Liberal Studies, these are just some of the new efforts designed to promote a stronger cultural, educational and professional awareness among students and institutions. Li is assisted in this effort by International Student Coordinators Beckie Campbell and Heidi Schmoll and Doreen Strienitz, the office’s administrative assistant.

“The goal is to share global academic partnerships through which all institutions involved can reap some important benefits,” Li said.

Specifically, these new agreements present distinctive approaches in terms of how each institution can assist one another through academic programs and professional relationships. For example, agreements with these colleges may include but are not limited to the following:

  • exchange of faculty and staff members;
  • joint research and consultancy activities;
  • participation in seminars and academic meetings;
  • exchange of published academic materials and other information;
  • exchange of students (including internship opportunities); and
  • dual-degree programs.

According to Li, more and more Kettering students are interested in exchange programs.

“Part of the strategic vision of the institution and certainly of this office is to provide students global exchange opportunities given the increasing complexities of our global business environment,” Li said. “These opportunities give students the chance to view their discipline from a very different perspective, which only enhances their education by exposing them to the diversity and richness of a different culture,” he added.

During the last academic year that ended June 30, 2009, approximately 90 Kettering students participated in exchange programs, which is a significant increase from previous years. These numbers include the first ever exchange between Kettering and China, when Senior Samantha Best studied at Yangzhou University during the fall term of 2008. In addition, Senior Faith Brown was also Kettering’s first student to study at Sussex University in the United Kingdom. Students returning from these endeavors reported that they had an exceptional experience.

The new agreements with Yeditepe, Chungju and Ajou Universities enhance a program that continues to show significant progress toward becoming one of the most sought after academic and professional opportunities available for students. But as Li notes, this would not be possible without the full support of faculty, staff and students.

“It really takes an exorbitant amount of work from everyone to develop these opportunities,” Li said. “We have collaborated with the Office of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education to develop professional training programs and other academic and continuing education courses for international students and professionals. But to do this requires all academic units, administration and leadership. The support has been excellent across the board,” he added.  The strategic decisions and timely decisions from academic leadership have been instrumental and in some cases crucial for the proper management of challenging scenarios.

Dr. Michael Harris, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, said “Kettering has made the development of new international activities a strategic priority. Our efforts are focused on recruiting international students, exchange students, study abroad, joint research, applied research and professional development. These activities contribute to our well being as an institution that focuses on academic excellence and provides an exciting academic environment for our students and faculty. Our focus and efforts have resulted in significant breakthroughs and exceptional opportunities. We have a road map as to future activities and a clear focus."

As far as the future for international opportunities is concerned, Li said that Kettering will continue to seek out and develop new relationships with other institutions, governments and industries throughout the globe as long as those relationships bring mutual and tangible benefits to all constituents.

To learn more about the Office of International Programs, visit, call (810) 762-9869, or email

Written by Gary Erwin