As a way to foster a relationship between the campus and the city, students will be required to take a class that gets them involved with the community, said Zach Messitte, dean of the OU College of International Studies. The university is also looking to organize a program similar to OU's Big Event, an annual student-run service project at the OU-Norman campus.
Having a permanent campus overseas will increase the number of students who study abroad, Messitte said. Traditionally, he said, students who study abroad tend to be language or international studies majors, with a few students in other programs like art history.
A permanent OU campus makes studying abroad a more viable option for students in other programs, he said, because it will allow the university to offer a greater variety of courses in Italy. OU will be sending a professor to Arezzo to serve as the faculty member in residence, Messitte said. That faculty member will teach courses in his or her own discipline, he said, but they will be geared toward a more general audience.
For example, he said, if the faculty member is an engineering professor, he or she might teach a course on Roman aqueducts. If he or she teaches international studies, courses might be offered in issues like human trafficking and combating the Mafia. These courses would be supplemented by other classes taught by adjunct faculty members from the area, he said.
Even as they complete those courses, Boren said, students will be exposed to Italian life and culture. Making such overseas programs available to as many students as possible is a top priority of the university, he said. It's especially important as those students graduate and enter an economy that is increasingly global in nature.
“The vast majority of these students will in one way or another need to be able to interact with people in other countries,” he said. “To be fully literate, they need to be globally literate.”
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The vast majority of these students will in one way or another need to be able to interact with people in other countries. To be fully literate, they need to be globally literate.”