Donation from Robert H. McKinney will increase study abroad opportunities, attract international students
Marian University’s efforts to expand its international endeavors has received a significant boost from Indianapolis philanthropist Robert H. McKinney, who donated $1 million to aid the university’s ventures into foreign markets. University officials state that the money will be used to increase opportunities for current and future Marian University students to study abroad, as well as attract international students to its campus on Indianapolis’ west side.
Marian University’s international efforts will now be led by the Robert H. McKinney Chair of International Programs, a newly created position funded by the donation. The McKinney Chair of International Programs will be a staff position, reporting to the vice president of enrollment management, with responsibility for building collaborative agreements with foreign universities, increasing study abroad opportunities, and attracting more international students to study at Marian University. The university is currently conducting a national search to identify qualified candidates for the position.
“Marian University’s mission is to develop transformative leaders for service to the world,” Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener said. “To fulfill that mission, we must expose our students to other cultures through study abroad opportunities, and by globalizing our campus through international outreach efforts.”
Many universities across the nation point to the rapidly changing global economy as a reason for growing their international programs. A recent report from The McKinsey Global Institute found that worldwide, approximately 40 percent of job growth in advanced markets like the United States is going to foreign nationals because of their language skills and cross-cultural competency. Universities believe that study abroad experiences, combined with campus globalization efforts, will help their graduates compete in the global marketplace. Research supports that, by engaging in international exchanges, students will learn how to interact with their peers, have better grades, experience less attrition and graduate from college at a higher rate than their peers.
“The heart of Marian University’s strategic plan is focusing on transformational leadership. In today’s world, it is essential that leaders have a view of cultures outside of the United States,” McKinney said. “Students need study abroad experiences to fully appreciate a view of the world. And these experiences can be life transforming. With the great work that Marian University has done within Central Indiana, I know that students who graduate from Marian University with more study abroad experiences and an increased number of international students on campus will be the ones who actually change the world.”
Marian University has established aggressive goals for growing its international base. By the 2017-18 academic year, Marian University expects to double its number of collaborative agreements with foreign universities from 15 to 30. In the same time frame, it is expected that the number of students annually studying abroad will increase from 60 to 125, and the number of international students attending classes in Indianapolis will increase from 25 to 60. Marian University has a total enrollment of approximately 2,750 students.