Globalization: Not Just a Word at JU

Dec. 1, 2017

To our JU Community:

Our University is evolving, improving, adding resources and deepening our expertise. We also now attract and develop talent from all around the world. That begs a question: is globalization, a modern concept at the turn of the 21st century, relevant now?

Some contend that the international economy of today isn’t all that global to begin with and instead is dominated by a few key players, like the G8 (United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada). We had “the big eight” in 1914 and in 2017, we have the same number with very little difference in the roster of nations. Others argue that globalization is a new thing, in fact the “next thing.” According to some experts, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the UK are at the top of rankings lists for “most globally connected.” So, where does that leave us?

To me, that word quickly gets linked to concepts like commercial integration and trade adjustment compensation, but in our world of higher education the word inspires lively debate over what kind of world students want to live in. On college campuses worldwide, we talk about policy, social change, and how to ideally handle hot-button global issues like free markets, labor policies, safety nets, and immigration.

The term “globalization” was the brain-child of a marketing expert and former Harvard Business School professor. Theodore Levitt is credited with first coining the term in a 1983 Harvard Business Review article. But it’s interesting to note that Levitt viewed his extensive writings on globalization as an extension of his classroom. I would agree with Levitt and others that, in higher education, it's more crucial than ever to pursue globalization in university programming. Perhaps, to some of my friends and colleagues in the corporate world, the concept has been well-worked as we enter 2018, but for Jacksonville University, attracting and enrolling international students and encouraging U.S. students to participate in the full study abroad experience is incredibly important and has the potential for equally incredible outcomes.

What sort of outcomes?

Multiple studies have shown that undergraduate study abroad has significant and positive effects on students. We’re not just referring to a maturation process or an expansion of student attitudes and closely held values. I mean measurable effects, such as appreciation for world markets and economies, greater knowledge and awareness of world geography, political structures, global interdependence, cultural relativism, environmental and community engagement, improved communication skills, and a bent toward socially responsible leadership. In a season when political and governmental actions seem to send mixed signals regarding globalization in higher education, I could not be more proud of Jacksonville University’s diverse, creative, talented and truly global student body.

In fact, this fall, we eclipsed previous semester starts in the number of “world students” enrolled, both graduate and undergraduate, and in the number of countries represented on campus (51). In addition, JU continues to send students abroad through a variety of experiential programs, including Iceland, Ireland, Peru, Ecuador, France, Greece, the United Kingdom, and more.

It’s undisputed that the U.S. is the top destination for education aspirations worldwide, to the tune of one million non-U.S. students enrolled. And here’s a statistic I really appreciate: according to the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers: Association of International Educators, nearly 25 percent of the only 87 privately held U.S.-based start-up companies, with a market value of $1 billion or more, have one founder, sometimes more than one, who started here, in America, as an international student, including SpaceX, Jawbone, and Eventbrite.

As our nation prepares for the holiday season to come and looks forward to the beginning of a new year, I am grateful for our tapestry of remarkable students and remain keenly aware of what they mean for Jacksonville University.

Whether we’re referring to our U.S. students returning home from a study abroad experience with a more positive view of the country in which they studied, or one of our esteemed faculty members, Dr. Carla Fry, receiving a prestigious 2017-18 Fulbright Scholarship to teach and conduct research at the University of Belize, one thing is always true--Jacksonville University is a whole-world university. We believe in globalization. We embrace it, welcome it, and live it out every day. We will continue to support international and U.S. students alike, providing a premier, well-rounded and highly-customized education to each of them.

Why are we so committed to this?

Consider one last statistic. According to the U.S. State Department, almost 300 current and former foreign heads of states and governments studied right here in the U.S. It is undeniable that we, as higher education institutes across the country, have the opportunity to help shape future leaders, not just leaders of our nation, but around the globe.


Tim Cost
Jacksonville University
Class of 1981