Cultural knowledge goes beyond language ability. It is difficult to acquire, but can be valuable in your career and ultimately personally satisfying.
Welcome to the 2013-14 academic year! As I do at the beginning of every fall semester, I would like to share a few thoughts on the University’s progress in internationalization, and some specific projects and activities for the coming year.
Sometimes you may find an opportunity to travel to a country that is unfamilar or to an institution at which you have no existing professional connections. In those instances, International Programs can help identify other UI faculty who already have a knowledge of the area and who may even have long-standing connections at the particular institution you plan to visit.
As part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the sister-state relationship between Iowa and Hebei, and in recognition of the significant and growing economic ties between Iowa and China, Governor Terry Branstad led a delegation of business, community, and educational leaders to China this past week. In addition to Governor Branstad and Ms. Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, members of the delegation represented interests as diverse as agriculture, law, manufacturing, and higher education. A large group from the Iowa Sister States non-profit was also present, on their first trip abroad as a group, to mark the 30th anniversary of the relationship.
One of the more significant changes that has occurred during the time I have served in my current position is the tremendous increase in international undergraduate students at the University of Iowa, and indeed across the U.S. And here at the UI we have seen even larger than average increases. The fall before I started as Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs (fall 2007), we had about 400 international undergraduates in total on our campus. This past fall, that number was getting close to 2000.
Do international collaborations make for better science, or better scientists? This was one of the key questions raised at an event I attended this week, the first “Global Research Funding Forum,” hosted jointly by International Affairs and the Office of Research and Economic Development at the University of North Texas.
Though I am currently traveling in Asia focused on College of Engineering initiatives, connecting with alumni abroad, and recruiting fully-funded graduate and professional students, the topic of my post is related to France and national memory.
A warm welcome to all of you for the 2012-13 academic year. In this brief note, I’d like to share a few thoughts on International Programs’ goals for the coming year as well as updates on activities and organizational changes.
Given the importance of ensuring that students graduate on time and are equipped to be successful in their careers, and given the emphasis the University of Iowa is giving to student success, my earlier post addressed the connections between study abroad and student success. Since then, the number of students studying abroad has gone up a bit: now over 20% of UI undergraduates study abroad at some point during their time at the University, which is a significant and encouraging number. However, as I noted previously, the study abroad population remains strongly female, and there is still significantly lower participation among minorities than among white students.
Why should the president of the University of Iowa—an institution serving the people of the state—travel so far from Iowa? The international connections we have established are an integral part of the future successes of the University, and this trip is an important investment to advance these successes for the benefit of the University and the entire state of Iowa.
Today, as never before, the University of Iowa must function as a global institution in order to fulfill its core missions of teaching, research, and public service in Iowa. As business leaders across the state recognize, what we think of as local is fully tied to global processes and trends.
Over the past couple of years, a number of U.S. universities have set up branch campuses or other extensive satellite ventures (or pulled out of failing ones) particularly in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa: NYU, Michigan State, Texas A&M, and more recently Duke University, just to name a few. Branch campuses can be successful, and meet the needs both of the U.S. institution and of the host country in which the offshore branch is located. Among the reasons U.S.
Last spring, our College of Pharmacy hosted Prof. Nguyen Van Hung (MD, PhD), Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacy and Family Medicine Unit at Haiphong Medical University in Vietnam. It is not unusual, of course, for us to host visiting faculty from abroad: in fact, we have visitors on campus from abroad on a weekly basis, perhaps even on a daily basis, throughout the academic year. What made Hung’s visit special was that he was in residence for the entire spring semester as a Fulbright scholar, working on long-term goals for pharmacy education and practice in Vietnam. Another thing that made it special is that his visit began discussions toward what promises to be a comprehensive, deep partnership between the University of Iowa and his home institution, Haiphong Medical University.
At 5:00 p.m. on November 11th, in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber, Joan Kjaer will host a very special edition of WorldCanvass where, in addition to a full program that is free and open to the public, University of Iowa President Sally Mason will present the second annual International Impact Award to Dr. Trudy Huskamp Peterson. Former acting archivist of the United States, founding executive director of the Open Society Archives, and director of archives and records management for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Dr. Peterson’s achievements are of the very highest order. The award recognizes her tenacious commitment, sometimes in the face of intimidation, to the protection and appropriate dissemination of documents that tell truths that some would rather never be told. Through her work, records that have been subject to the ravages of war are given a voice to reveal abuses of power that otherwise may never have come to light.
With the summer months behind us and the start of another academic year, I would like to welcome you back to campus and extend my best wishes for an exciting and productive fall semester.
Our offices have been buzzing with orientation and advising activities for another large class of international undergraduates and with UI students exploring global study opportunities as part of their UI experience. As faculty members return to the classroom to take up teaching and mentoring duties, and as the collaborative work of IP’s programs and centers once again gets under way, I continue my work with Provost Butler and with leadership in the colleges, departments, and divisions across campus to set priorities, establish goals, and face new challenges as we begin the 2011-12 academic year.
Currently on return flights from a trip to Asia, with at least my fair share of flight delays, I have had time to reflect on the importance of building relations between the University of Iowa and our constituencies abroad, in particular the growing number of friends and alumni we have living in other countries. There are two reasons for the growing significance of our ties to friends and alumni abroad. First, there is the fact that our international enrollment has grown significantly over the past few years, particularly at the undergraduate level. We welcomed about 60 new, first-year i