Our View: Texas Tech takes steps to expand its brand on the global stage
Anyone visiting the Texas Tech campus can easily see the university is growing as new buildings seem to be constantly going up and existing buildings undergoing overhauls. But there is also growth in areas that most people wouldn't notice.
That's the Tech System reaching out into areas away from Lubbock.
Many people are aware of Tech having a presence in Amarillo, El Paso and Abilene with campuses associated with the Health Sciences Center. Just about any medical field you can think of can be studied at Health Sciences Center campuses.
Those offerings are projected to be expanded even further with a proposed veterinary school in Amarillo and a dental school in El Paso. In addition, Tech offers courses in other professions, such as engineering, at campuses and centers scattered around the state. Plus, there's the Tech System having Angelo State as part of the family.
Those facilities put the Tech brand on much of the state, but Tech also is embarking on establishing a global presence. Going global is not a new thing for Tech with its center in Seville, Spain, and students studying abroad in several countries. But now the Tech System is planning on branching out into Central America with a campus in Costa Rica.
The Costa Rica campus could also reach out to neighboring countries, allowing students from Central America to receive a college education at a lower cost than what would be involved in coming to Lubbock to study.
In addition, Tech faculty members have traveled abroad to instruct students in their own countries for many years. Through the help of grants, Tech is also focused on providing instruction in Ethiopia. All that gives Tech a presence in Europe and Africa, and now with the proposed Costa Rica campus, Central America. That leaves only Asia, South America and Australia not having a physical presence by Tech, although faculty and students have been to those continents for various studies and research. Some years ago, Tech also had a research team in Antarctica.
Tech also has a long history of attracting foreign students to the Lubbock campus, including the Health Sciences Center and the School of Law. This year alone more than 3,000 students from 108 countries are studying in Lubbock.
Foreign studies have proven beneficial to Tech students going abroad and to foreign students coming to the South Plains. Tech officials report students studying abroad return with a new focus and perspective in regard to their education, and that studying abroad is a life-changing experience.
So why are international studies important? We asked Tibor Nagy, Tech's vice provost for international affairs, to explain:
“Let's start with a practical truth. Like it or not, in today's world, and more so in tomorrow's, global competence and global competitiveness — irrespective of major or profession — are essential. The old joke: what do you call someone who speaks three languages (trilingual); two languages (bilingual); one language (American) — is no longer funny. And while English remains the most spoken “second” language worldwide, so someone can get by at a basic level in the global environment without learning another language, “speaking” another culture is perhaps even more essential.
“Our two colleges — architecture and engineering, which now require an international program of all their students — do so because the employers who hire our graduates made it clear that a global perspective which such experiences build are now key components to successful professional performance.”
Nagy went on to say foreign students benefit from studying at Tech by the research opportunities, the value of a U.S. education, the ability to study without fear of tyranny or oppression and learning more about the English language and American culture. Nagy also said foreign students are impressed with the friendliness and support of the Lubbock community as well as the city's climate and low cost of living.
Nagy added, “Campus internationalization has become a priority for all leading universities because of the benefits it brings to all students. With an ‘internationalized' campus students can develop a diverse and knowledgeable worldview.”
In conclusion, Nagy said, “To maintain our premier global position in advancement of science and knowledge through research and teaching, we must rely on the best students and faculty from around the world, not just around America, and internationalization allows us to attract them whether they come from Abernathy, Atlanta or Addis Ababa.”
Many people may not realize the effect Tech has on the world, but from Nagy's comments the university, as well as Lubbock, are shining stars on the world stage. Tech and Lubbock should be proud to have such a global presence.