A “Higher Ed” listener who teaches English in Osaka, Japan wrote in requesting a discussion of what the listener characterizes as “the tension between servicing the local community near an institution and appealing to international elements (students, partnerships, etc.).” In this episode of the KUT podcast “Higher Ed,” KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how campuses view their role in the local community and how that is balanced with farther flung connections.
You might have heard about “town-gown” relations, meaning the way a college or university interacts with the community where it is housed. Maybe this listener is curious about “globe-gown” relations?
Ed says he believes the focus of any higher education institution should, of course, be on the students, and any other relationships evolve from there.
“I believe that institutions of higher learning are designed for one purpose,” says Ed, “which is to inspire individuals to become better versions of themselves. And while the focus is on the students, obviously, I think that should spill out into the community at large.”
Ed believes international relationships do give both parties – both the institution and the country where connections are being made – an opportunity to grow.
“The idea of going out of one’s comfort zone and exploring a world and exploring people,” Ed says,” I think is a powerful way of learning for everybody, including those who are being visited.”
Listen to the full episode to hear more about how institutions balance “town-gown” and “globe-gown” relationships. It is also time for a new puzzler. Listen closely; this one contains a subtle arithmetic twist.
This episode was recorded on April 23, 2019.