Purple Passport seeks global citizenship


Purple Passport, a new five-year program unveiled this week, is seeking to enrich the university's commitment to global citizenship through the development of international experiences for students, faculty, staff and the university as a whole.

Purple Passport: Discovering Global Citizenship is important for the university in an increasingly globalized world, John Singleton, director of the Office of International Services, said.

“When jobs start growing all over the world in countries that see their work capital transform into jobs, being international will make our students competitive,” Singleton said. “Not being international makes our students obsolete.”

When describing the program, Jane Kucko, director of the Center for International Studies, quoted the university's mission statement, which says it seeks to create ethical leaders and citizens in a “global community.”

Purple Passport would look to strengthen the university’s commitment to this mission by creating a grassroots network of learning that can impact all levels of the university, Kucko said.

“We want to support the chancellor’s and trustees’ goal of creating a world class university,” Kucko said.

Approximately 30 percent of the university community is already looking and thinking about international issues, Singleton said.

“70 percent of the campus right now isn’t really having a global experience,” Singleton said. “Our question is how do we get that other 70 percent to have that same experience?”

The program is broken into 11 working initiatives that will be flexible so that students, faculty or entire departments can implement the ideas that they like, Singleton said.

One of the program’s ideas is Virtual Voyage, where TCU students are directly connected through modern technology with locations they otherwise could not visit, according to the Purple Passport website.

Several of the initiatives such as the World Programming Grant and the Global International Alumni Project include students teaming up with faculty or alumni to provide for research support on global issues and increased student participation in understanding these issues.

At the university level, Purple Passport will try to have more faculty and student interaction with guest speakers and experts instead of having them finish a lecture and leave, Singleton said.

“I call [lecturing and leaving] drive-by internationalization,” Singleton said. “You throw a few ideas out, people get excited and then you are gone.”

The program also hopes to further engage international issues through hosting visiting scholars and experts, Kucko said. This includes allowing a residency program for international experts to develop research and ideas at the university.

“We are looking for people who can work with our students and our students can engage with,” Singleton said. “They will have to agree to have our students work with them on projects.”

Dale Young, director of student teaching in the College of Education, said he was interested in Purple Passport as an expansion of the education department’s current exchange program.

“If we knew the alumni that live in the exchange countries, it would be good for that person to meet the students and develop a connection,” Young said.

Leo Nicolao, a marketing professor, said Purple Passport is important to foster a global perspective and should be considered part of a larger education university provides.

“It is a necessity of the time we live in. We are dealing with people from around the world every day,” Nicolao said. “It is very hard to be open to new ideas while staying within the confines of your city.”