Ohio State is a global university. Our academic programs are influenced by cultures from all across the world. We have research partnerships with universities in nearly every corner of the world. And thousands of people on campus speak a second or even third language.
That international engagement recently drew Seth Harris, acting secretary for the U.S. Department of Labor, to campus. He came to the Ohio Union for a small discussion with doctoral students, faculty, and industry leaders on immigration reform.
"Ohio State is the perfect landscape for this discussion," says William Brustein, vice provost for International Affairs. "We are a truly global university, a campus that is fully engaged with the world."
The challenges international graduate students face are distinctly different from the majority of students on campus today. While many advanced-degree recipients are focused on finding a job after commencement, many international students face being sent back to their home countries. For some, it can mean the end of pursuing the American dream. And the United States also misses out, losing great young thinkers in science, technology, engineering, and math to other nations with which we compete economically.
"Immigration is an important part of driving American innovation," Harris told the group. "We cannot allow talent to slip away because of a flawed system."
As President E. Gordon Gee recently told a Columbus Metropolitan Club audience: "We graduate these fabulous international students. I would love to staple a green card to their diploma so they can stay and be here with us."
Harris' visit gave students a front seat to immigration reform. They addressed issues head on and asked questions about how the system might change.
"This is a chance for Ohio State to contribute to the national discussion in a tangible way," Harris told the group.
Harris joined a growing group who've made Ohio State front and center on discussions about major national issues.
Last year, President Barack Obama toured the Center for Automotive Research, meeting with students working on alternative-energy projects like the Buckeye Bullet; Health Sec. Kathleen Sebelius toured the College of Medicine's Clinical Skills Training and Simulation Center; and Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack met with students and faculty in the Department of Food Science and Technology, saying Ohio State agricultural research plays a vital role in health issues.