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Community Spotlight: Global Engagement Office Opens at USF Sarasota-Manatee


SARASOTA – USF Sarasota-Manatee announces the creation of a Global Engagement Office (GEO), a liaison to USF World, which will develop the international reach of the institution and advance student achievement through enriched global academic experiences. Dean Cihan Cobanoglu of the College of Hospitality & Technology Leadership is named director of Global Engagement. Amela Malkic is named assistant director, expanding her previous role of international advisor, and continuing to serve as primary immigration and visa contact for international students and scholars and USFSM faculty and staff. 

The USFSM Global Engagement Office will support all study abroad programs, special initiatives and collaborative agreements with foreign countries, advocating for increased international academic exchanges. “We are already supporting learning experiences that allow USFSM students to integrate successfully into international communities and work environments abroad,” said Cobanoglu, who has a passion for cultural diversity experiences, and was once an international student from Istanbul himself.

Cobanoglu brought nine Taiwanese students to USFSM for a Hospitality certificate program last fall and is currently working out partnerships with universities in China, Taiwan, Turkey, France, Germany and South America. “Now we will have the framework for working with USF’s system-wide resources to host international visitors, scholars and conferences, increase faculty engagement and research opportunities abroad, and build robust and sustainable partnerships for innovative and cooperative solutions to global challenges,” Cobanoglu adds.

The Office of Global Engagement will collaborate with deans, recruiting officers and administrators in support of effective recruitment and retention programs for international students and be a resource for the entire USFSM community.

“We are delighted that there will be an office here at USFSM, because as a system, USF is deeply committed to graduating globally competent students,” said Roger Brindley, vice provost and USF System associate vice president. “Like a ‘mini-USF World’, the GEO will coordinate global engagement on campus to the benefit of all USFSM students and faculty. We offer considerable, excellent resources and the services of our highly skilled Education Abroad office to help. Working hand-in-glove with the GEO, we will continue to be a university with a profoundly global footprint.”

USFSM students are taking full advantage of opportunities for overseas educational enrichment, and may earn credit for their study abroad, whether it is as short as three weeks in the summer or an entire fall or spring semester. Freshman Lana Pohlmann, for example, will study via a cruise ship this summer, visiting 15 different countries through Semester at Sea. Disembarking from Ft. Lauderdale, Pohlmann will take a total of five courses coupled with field work while dropping anchor and exploring parts of England, Russia, Poland, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Senegal, Ghana, Brazil, Barbados, and Cuba. She plans to major in international relations and work with the United Nations or another international organization. Alexander Benishek, another USFSM freshman, leaves soon for two weeks in Japan studying Japanese language, culture and history with stops in Fukuoka, Dazaifu, Nagasaki, Beppu, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Tokyo and Yokohama. “I’ve always been very interested in Asian culture,” said Benishek. “In addition to this, I am considering a major in history, and if I did end up doing so, I’d like to study Japanese history as one of my main areas of focus.”

About USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)

USF Sarasota-Manatee is a regional campus of the University of South Florida system, offering the prestige of a nationally ranked research university with the convenience of a hometown location, including classes in Manatee County, in North Port and online. Separately accredited, USFSM is ideal for those interested in pursuing a baccalaureate or master’s degree, professional certification, or continuing education credit in a small, personal setting with distinguished faculty and a dynamic curriculum of over 40 academic programs. Website: www.usfsm.edu.


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