One of the perennial challenges in trying to build a global university involves developing and sharing appropriate levels of information about what’s already happening. We had the experience a few years ago of rounding up about 35 faculty interested in Africa, from various disciplinary standpoints. Not only had many of them not met before, as it turned out three, again mutually unaware, were specifically working on Sierra Leone. Precisely because we have so many faculty and units contributing global initiatives—and we have no desire to staunch the flow—we need always to work on appropriate internal as well as external communications.
Over time we’ve undertaken several initiatives toward pooling information around regional interests and, even more ambitiously, to try to create some effective central register.
Thanks to the Global Office and active collaboration with the Provost’s IT staff, we now have a new instrument, an interactive global electronic portal called the Global Register, now up and running and available for consultation and expansion. The Register is intended to make it easy for units and individual faculty and staff to identify colleagues and programs with complementary interests. It will also serve as a window through which external communities, locally but literally around the world, can become better acquainted with Mason’s scholarly and creative activity in the global arena. This will position Mason to pursue additional opportunities more readily, and it has significant potential to broaden our network of partners around the world.
The Global Register provides information about current international agreements, our active partners abroad, relevant unit activities and faculty/staff expertise (including international degrees and linguistic competence). In the near future it will be expanded to include information on international student numbers and organizations, study abroad, and international alumni groups. It also links to U.S. Department of State country websites.
The Register can be accessed through links on the University Resources page and on the Office of Global and International Strategies home page. Of course the Register will be, or should be, constantly in the process of becoming—we invite interested faculty and staff to add and update information regularly. We’ll also face the gardener’s challenge of regular pruning, to make as sure as possible that outdated materials are removed. Even at present, however, the technical sophistication and range expressed in the Global Register exemplifies Mason’s commitment to being a university for the world.