New college to push students to think global

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South Africans reflect on Nelson Mandela on the official Day of Mourning.
VPC USA Today

 

Today’s college students have to think beyond city or state borders, so universities are doing the same.

“This is a global economy,” said Damien Ejigiri, dean of Southern University’s Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences. “There is no better way to prepare students than linking them to beyond our environment.”

The newly formed college previously was a school of public policy and this summer will introduce a new curriculum, programs and international opportunities like student exchanges and training opportunities within multiple South African universities.

“There is so much value added when you expose students to other environments,” Ejigiri said.

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The college’s first partner is South Africa. With a name honoring a world icon from South Africa, a partnership with that country seemed an appropriate place to start, Ejigiri pointed out.

South African Ambassador to the United States Mninwa J. Mahlangu visited the college in May, rededicating it to Nelson Mandela and also serving as speaker at Southern’s commencement. 

“Our goal is to forge as many partnerships and relationships not only within the United States but outside the United States with this college of government and social sciences,” Ejigiri said. “We want it to be a strong hub of linking Louisiana with the outside.”

The relationship also will connect the college to South African companies to establish recruitment efforts for graduates, according to a release.

Ejigiri, who has been with Southern almost 22 years, plans to expand the program to other African countries as well as locally.

It includes a health concentration, but “it is not strong enough,” he said. He wants to see the curriculum revised to include what he calls “health analytics.”

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He estimates about 1,000 or more students are enrolled in the college, which offers degree programs in criminal justice, public administration, public policy, sociology, social work and more.

The college also has partnered with Southern’s College of Business to offer a new doctoral program with a concentration in finance and business.

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