Global Education First Conference grows connections, international perspective

October 3, 2013

by Mark Donahue

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(L-R) Prof. Jean-Pierre Ezin, Provost Christine Quinn, Lee Cherry of the African Scientific Institute and Prof. James O'Meara at the GEFC

In late September, NLU hosted a unique event aimed at the higher education community in Chicagoland — one that brought new perspectives to the college experience that those working in the U.S. might not always consider.

The Global Education First Conference — inspired by the United Nations Global Education First Initiative — was held at Chicago campus and focused on improving access to quality education and fostering global citizenship in post-secondary learning environments to promote relevant and transformative educational experiences for all students.

The conference, organized by NLU's Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL), also created a great opportunity for attendees to make connections, bringing key people together around areas important to NLU, said James O'Meara, co-Lead Director of the OTL.

"This one was intentionally intimate to enable connections to occur," he said. "One of the key takeaways from all people that I've heard back from is they actually valued the opportunity to attend a conference of this size where meaningful connections with key people can occur."

Attendees participated in a wide range of sessions over the course of two days. Highlights included a session from Professor Jean-Pierre Ezin on the new Pan-African University system and how collaborations with institutions like NLU on study-abroad programs, internationalizing curriculum and faculty exchanges can occur. The program also featured speakers from Ferris State Universitydetailing Latino initiatives in Michigan and how they could apply more broadly, and the emerging priority of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for NLU and higher education at large.

Additionally, the conference provided a strong platform to raise awareness of the U.S. Department of Education's strategic plan for international engagement for success, O'Meara said, enabling attendees to see how they can begin to reach out across borders and succeed globally through international education and engagement.

He added that the innovative use of technology from the Wiley Learning Institute gave participants a first-hand experience of NLU's approach to inclusive internationalization, with attendees from Beirut, New Zealand, Jordan and other points in the U.S. participating virtually in the conference sessions. The offering of special rates for delegates from least-developed countries created the  opportunities for dialogue between delegates from developed and developing countries, as well.


GEFC attendees attended a wide range of sessions around access and internationalization, with opportunities to make connections

NLU has already seen some connections of its own moving in new directions, O'Meara said, with talk of two potential grant applications to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). NLU is also looking at how to start collaborating with key conference partners, he added, including Education Futures Collaboration, the African Union and Friends of African Union, the World Literacy Summit, and the IDEA Center.

It's a strong start for an event NLU hopes to make a yearly flagship for its efforts to internationalize while fostering a culture of research, O'Meara said. The University is already reviewing what worked and what could be done better in 2014.

"I think we've created a hub for the Midwest internationalization efforts here at National Louis," he said, "and the idea that doing something well in a sustainable way is probably a way forward in terms of internationalizing the region in a strategic and purposeful way that aligns with where we hope to be as an institution in the next three to five years."

Locations
  • CHICAGO DOWNTOWN CAMPUS

    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603

    (888) 658.8632

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    Campus Location
  • ELGIN

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123

    (888) 658.8632

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    Campus Location
  • NORTH SHORE

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632

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    Campus Location
  • LISLE

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632

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    Campus Location
  • WHEELING

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632

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    Campus Location
  • FLORIDA (TAMPA)

    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

     

     

    5110 Eisenhower Boulevard
    Suite 102
    Tampa, Florida 33634
    800.366.6581 | www.nl.edu/florida

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    Campus Location
  • WISCONSIN

    NLU's Milwaukee campus has a proud history of serving graduate students in education in southeastern Wisconsin. Nearly one in five certified Wisconsin teachers looks to NLU for graduate education programs – more than any other university in the state. In addition to classrooms with high-tech media equipment, the campus offers a state-of-the-art computer lab with wireless Internet access and an extensive IDS research library.

    12000 West Park Place, Suite 100
    Milwaukee, WI 53224-3007
    414.577.2658

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    Campus Location