Faculty, staff members to travel to Japan for partnership delegation

GVL / Courtesy - Wiki Commons 
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan as seen from the main gate.

GVL / Courtesy – Wiki Commons Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan as seen from the main gate.

Meghan McBrady

A small delegation of Grand Valley State University staff and faculty members have been awarded grants to study abroad in Japan during the summer semester this year.

Partnering with the Padnos International Center (PIC), this will be the eighth year that an interdisciplinary group of GVSU faculty and staff members have been chosen to visit a partner institution across the globe.

Each year, a different partner institution is chosen, and from June 4 to June 11, the delegates will travel to Japan and visit three different universities: the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) and the International Christian University (ICU).

Rebecca Hambleton, the director of study abroad and international partnerships at PIC, is one of the co-leaders of the delegation. She said that the group decided on Japan because of the possibilities for further development of study abroad programs.

In addition, the delegation wants to show that there are substantial scholarship opportunities through studying at ICU and APU which could make opportunities for studying abroad more affordable for students who are interested in studying in Japan.

“Getting faculty and staff involvement is a key aspect to raising the visibility of these programs, as we are also looking to diversify the regions we visit,” Hambleton said. “The previous three years were in other regions of the world.”

When applying for a delegate position, PIC looks for faculty and staff members that represent a variety of perspectives.

The delegation looks for individuals who can best articulate what they plan to do to contribute to the internationalization of GVSU upon their return and what they hope to gain from their experience.

“Over the past several years, we have found the delegation participants to be some of our biggest supporters,” Hambleton said. “Many students have been encouraged to study abroad after connecting with someone who has participated in one of these programs.”

The delegates within the program include Tracey James-Heer, associate director of admissions and Luanne Brow, the director of payroll services.

Felix Ngassa, associate professor of chemistry, Melissa Selby-Theut, coordinator of outreach and peer education at GVSU’s Counseling Center and Lin Tian, an affiliate professor of communications, will also be traveling to Japan this summer.

Naoki Kanaboshi, assistant professor of criminal justice, is serving as a co-leader of the delegation. He said that he is looking forward to boosting interaction between GVSU and the partner institutions, taking the chance to establish a strong network with their Japanese counterparts in regard to research, teaching collaborations and student exchange programs.

“This trip will also help (us) better understand the unique challenges of international students by putting (ourselves) in their shoes,” he said. “Upon return, I hope the participants will become a strong advocate/supporter for GVSU’s study abroad programs, especially the ones in Japan.”

To learn more about PIC and their different study abroad opportunities, visit http://www.gvsu.edu/pic.