dean's blog

With Labor Day just past, and classes well underway, I want to welcome everyone to the 2014-15 academic year! I always enjoy the expansive feeling at the beginning of the school year, with so many new faces, undergraduates eager to visit the office to explore options abroad; graduate and professional students working with Karen Wachsmuth to apply for grants and fellowships; and faculty across the disciplines contacting me with ideas about how they can enhance their global teaching, research, and engagement activities.

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In this dean's blog entry, Downing Thomas asks the question where do the terms "global" and "international" come from?

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Cultural knowledge goes beyond language ability. It is difficult to acquire, but can be valuable in your career and ultimately personally satisfying.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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