New website to consolidate Penn's global opportunities

Penn Global will combine student opportunities as well as resources for faculty and alumni into one point of access

· October 26, 2012, 12:28 am

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Penn is looking to provide a glimpse into its global reach with a modern touch.

The Office of the Vice Provost for Global Initiatives launched a new “Penn Global” website last week. The website is designed to consolidate all of the global options that Penn offers — student opportunities, faculty engagement and alumni connections — into one point of access.

Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Ezekiel Emanuel said the website will serve as a primer for Penn’s global activities.

“With my arrival, we’ve had a strategic planning process — we’ve been rethinking how Penn does global activities, and we’ve also reorganized some of the offices,” he said. “It just seemed like an opportune time.”

He added that his office identified the need for a redesign after faculty requested a means of finding out different research activity by region. Before the website, faculty could not easily access the policies for working overseas.

In an effort to bridge the global engagement of students, the website also features a PennKey-protected “Global Activity Map” that sorts opportunities and activities by region.

Penn Abroad Director Barbara Gorka said the website will provide a “one-stop shop” for students and faculty interested in the University’s range of global offerings. Prior to the launch of the Penn Global site, each office had a separate website, and the Penn Abroad Office constantly had to redirect students to the correct websites and offices.

“We tried to make the website reflect our priorities,” Gorka said. “The goal was to try to encompass global activity at Penn regardless of who the office reports to, so it’s an attempt to create a place where you can come and find anything related to global activity.”

Engineering sophomore Paul Le Ster believes that the new site has so far succeeded in its goals. When Le Ster tried to search for summer internship opportunities in China last year, he only came across semester-long programs and could not find what he wanted.

“I think this is the best improvement they made because there are so many opportunities abroad,” he said. “I have no complaints — this is much more than I had hoped for.”

College junior Elise Jun, who is currently studying abroad in Brazil, agreed.

“I remember trying to find general information about studying abroad, and the information was formatted in a very clustered way,” she said in an email. “The new site is definitely more clear on this information, and the layout is more accessible.”

She also believes that the new website makes it more compelling to explore other global opportunities.

According to Penn Abroad Assistant Director Rochelle Keesler, the office started working on the overhaul in May.

“It was a challenge to brainstorm and clear our minds of the existing website … but I think it was a good challenge because I think it will improve the way we’re communicating with students and faculty and anyone else who’s visiting our website.”

Emanuel hopes that the website will serve as a catalyst for further global initiatives.

“The website is one component of many different ways we’re hoping to engage people in global activities,” he said. “Alone, it’s probably not that meaningful. Together with all the other stuff we’re doing I think it will be a tremendous resource in facilitating engagement.”

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