Clayton State University is sending students and faculty around the world through affordable trips and low-cost faculty exchanges even as the number of Georgia college students traveling abroad has dropped off during the recession.
“We’ve been able to add study abroad programs to destinations that are less expensive than traditional study abroad destinations,” John Parkerson, director of international programs, told GlobalAtlanta.
Supplementing more expensive trips to Europe with more affordable locations such as Guatemala, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Mexico, the university is the only school in Georgia that has increased study abroad enrollments by 10 percent this year, he said.
According to Mr. Parkerson, Clayton State has almost doubled study abroad trips over the past three years. In contrast, the number of students in Georgia traveling abroad dropped 7.6 percent during the 2008-2009 school year.
Clayton State, however, is not abandoning its more expensive, traditional programs and still offers trips to Australia, Italy, Spain and Turkey.
Mr. Parkerson noted that the trip to Turkey was also relatively inexpensive because the program was done in partnership with the Atlanta-based Istanbul Center.
The university is also creating relationships with universities abroad to facilitate faculty and student exchanges.
In April, the university forged a partnership with the Université de Caen Basse-Normandie in northern France to create exchanges and research collaborations in their business programs.
According to Mr. Parkerson, two French students from Caen have already submitted applications to Clayton State’s MBA program. Clayton State students can also study at a Université de Caen’s institute that focuses on American business and is taught in English, he added.
As part of this new relationship, Louis Jourdan, professor of management, will leave for the French partner school in spring 2012.
Clayton State also has a well-developed partnership with the University of Pannonia in Veszprem in western Hungary, said Mr. Parkerson. This April, Ali Dadpay, an assistant professor in the business school, visited as part of a two-week exchange program.
Craig Hill, an associate professor of management, will also travel to the University of Pannonia in the spring of 2012 and a Hungarian professor will visit Clayton State in fall 2011.
As universities in Georgia cut pay and lay off faculty, Mr. Parkerson said these exchanges were a way to motivate professors and incorporate new teaching methods.
He added that these exchanges are also relatively inexpensive because the partner university pays for the travel and cost of living. Clayton State’s Office of International Programs covers the cost of visiting professors, which is offset by affordable housing and cafeteria meals.
Clayton State has partnerships with six universities abroad including the Birla College of Arts, Commerce and Science outside Mumbai, India, and Georgian American University in Tbilisi, Georgia.
On July 9, Mr. Parkerson will deliver the commencement address to the second graduating class at Georgian American University. The school, which was initially conceived by a student at Georgia State University as an MBA project, opened in 2005 and offers business and law degrees.
Last year, Clayton State partnered with the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza, an agricultural research and education facility in Costa Rica, to design a course on tropical ecology.
The university is also in the process of forging partnerships with schools in Asia, Africa and South America.
For more information, visit http://adminservices.clayton.edu/oip/default.htm .