The start of President William “Billy” Wilson’s term as ORU’s fourth president saw “globalization” become a new buzzword among faculty, students and alumni. But what exactly does having global vision mean?
“Globalization is the coming together of the world,” Wilson said in a recent interview. “Dividing lines between people groups are not as they used to be. The economies of the world are not as they used to be, and education is not as it used to be.”
The former ORU Board of Trustees vice-chair was inaugurated in a formal ceremony Friday afternoon in the Mabee Center. Wilson said technology, like cell phones and airplanes, has made the world more accessible.
“Globalization is a process happening in the world, with or without ORU,” he said.
Wilson, along with the globalization task force, discussed implementing this process in seven steps to put the university on the global map by 2025.
These steps bring global focus on ORU’s campus through an emphasis on study abroad, expanded online and distance learning efforts and increased international student recruitment.
Members of the ORU faculty heard Wilson explain globalization goals at a forum earlier this month.
Rhonda Gallagher, assistant professor of communications, arts and media, attended the forum.
“Stretching ourselves in a more global perspective is going to support [our efforts] on campus,” said Gallagher.
During the forum, Wilson said streaming lectures online is a way to showcase ORU through partnerships and contacts with educational institutions and churches all over the world.
“I want ORU not to be a university in Tulsa that reaches the world, but a global university that [happens to be] in Tulsa, Okla. There’s a definite difference in that,” he said.
The whole person curriculum will still be infused in the online class, with physical and spiritual components built into the curriculum.
A devotional and an exercise regimen could be next to a pending quiz, Wilson said.
Gallagher said this type of “intellectual application of technology” is important in a college atmosphere where students frequent social media.
For Dr. William Collier, professor of chemistry, connecting with international professors is key to globalize ORU.
“We can’t go out to the world until the world comes to us,” Collier said.
Collier had two sabbaticals overseas during his time at ORU, one through the Fulbright Program.
“ORU is one of those places that from the outside, people don’t [understand], but from the inside, everything opens up,” Collier said. “People realize how remarkable what we have is and want to take it back to their countries.”
This is Wilson’s hope.
“By 2025, ten years after our fiftieth anniversary, we will be able to have a viable presence of Oral Roberts University on every continent in the world,” Wilson said.
Satellite campuses or campuses within churches are an eventual possibility.
“We’re not sure of all the things that will happen, we just know that God is calling us to extend our mission around the world,” Wilson said.