Exploring Beyond Evergreen: A Visit to Newcastle

By Amy R. Wolfson, Ph.D.  |  Photos by Jen Lowry, Ph.D.

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With our emphasis on international study and global engagement for our undergraduate and graduate students, I decided that—as I enter my third year as vice president for academic affairs at Loyola—it would be helpful to get to know our study abroad partners and locations.

It also seemed like a good time to begin to consider new international exchange partnerships, other opportunities for our graduate and undergraduate students, various ways that international students might study at Loyola, and opportunities for faculty to collaborate with colleagues at many of these universities.

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I am traveling with my colleagues, Andre Colombat, dean of international programs and Jen Lowry, associate vice president for academic affairs.

We are visiting Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium, this week.

In mid-July, we will visit with our colleagues at Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand, and meet new colleagues at Fu Jen Catholic University, New Taipei City, Taiwan.

From Taiwan, I will head to Indonesia, where I am meeting up with colleagues at the Sanata Dharma University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and speaking at the University’s Southeast Asia psychology conference: People’s Search for Meaning through Ethnicity, Culture, and Religion.

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After taking the first day to settle in, enjoy a traditional English breakfast, catch up on sleep, and taking a little time to explore Newcastle—including a train ride out to the seaside town of Tynemouth—we started our two-day visit with Loyola’s colleagues at Newcastle University.

Inez Janna Summers, acting Loyola Center manager, welcomed us and escorted us throughout the day as we met with the following colleagues: Professor Colin Bryson, director of Combined Honours Centre, Professor Liz Todd, acting director of Institute for Social Renewal, Professor John Terry, Head of International Relations, and Professor Richard Davies, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Engagement and Internationalisation.

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We had lunch with the Loyola Center staff and concluded the day with a tour of ScienceCentral, a landmark development and collaborative project among Newcastle University, the city of Newcastle, and private businesses. The project’s focus is on science, business, living, and leisure in the center of Newcastle.

Our conversations over the course of the day focused both on updates regarding our students’ experiences at Newcastle (both for one semester or a full year) and on new, exciting ways in which Loyola and Newcastle could collaborate with our shared commitment to internationalization and global citizenship for our communities.

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Some of the highlights of the day included:

A discussion with Colin Bryson about his pedagogical work on students as partners in curriculum co-design work and ways to get Loyola students engaged in service learning while studying at Newcastle;

Discussion with Liz Todd about Newcastle’s commitment to being a “civic university with a global reputation for academic excellence,” which includes three Institutes: Sustainability, Social Renewal, and Aging;

Learning about Newcastle’s strategic plan for Internationalization from John Terry;

A conversation with Richard Davies regarding Freedom City 2017, Newcastle University and the city of Newcastle’s two-year festival commemorating the visit to Newcastle University by Martin Luther King 50 years ago, November 1967.

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Martin Luther King, Jr., received an honorary degree and gave one of his last addresses that November. There will be city and University events, an academic conference in November 2016, and other projects that build on King’s legacy, including the possibility of a Newcastle trip to Baltimore and other U.S. cities.

Learning about MLK and Newcastle led to a discussion about ways in which Loyola and Baltimore might connect with Newcastle with our shared commitment to social justice.

Loyola students who are studying at Newcastle over the coming year, and particularly the following year, will have an opportunity to share in the Freedom City events.

After this marvelous day, our hosts treated us to a lovely and memorable dinner.

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Jen, Andre, and I so look forward to tomorrow when we will meet with more of our Newcastle colleagues, including the dean of cultural affairs. We will also have the chance to tour the Biomedical Sciences and Physics facilities and learn about student volunteer opportunities, as well as talk with the University’s Catholic chaplains.

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