Welcome to the new academic year!! As the AY 22-23 begins, the University of Iowa is delighted to receive over 250 new international students from 55 countries. We are fully back, and while the pandemic is not over, the current atmosphere on campus clearly resembles that of fall 2019.
The past two weeks have been quite busy in the office as our new international students have arrived and are settling in. It is exciting to see Iowa’s global reach as applications and enrollments increase from all over the world, but especially Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. While our total international numbers are not as high as they have been in the past, we are seeing greater global representation. This means that we continue to make progress with respect to our goal to make the UI look more like the world.
The two week-long orientations we held for our new international students were a great success, and we salute our International Students and Scholars team of Michael Bortscheller, Brandon Paulson, Taivna Mills, Shuhui Lin, Pauline Beazer James, Dongwang Liu, and Kevin Roiseland for providing excellent customer service to our new global Hawkeyes!
In the spirit of welcoming our new students as well as the campus community as a whole, we have undertaken an office beautification project these past few months. The efforts include renovating our main reception area, adding (artificial) plants in and around the front desk, and adorning our two entrance walls with pictures from our study abroad photo contest as well as the iconic image of the IMU footbridge displaying the flags that represent the home countries of our international students. So that our mission is readily visible to the public, the phrase “Connecting Iowa with the World and the World with Iowa” is mounted on our west wall. Photos can be found in the gallery at the bottom of this page. Please feel free to visit the updated space when you have a chance.
As we welcome new students, we are also delighted to receive visitors from our many global partners. The end of August saw a visit from Professor Tatsumi Akita, Deputy President for International Affairs at Yamanashi Gakuin University. Many of you know that Yamanashi Prefecture is Iowa’s Sister State in Japan. Under the auspices of Iowa Sister States, a delegation from Yamanashi visited Des Moines to commemorate the 60th anniversary of our state’s partnership with Yamanashi. Professor Akita’s visit was in conjunction with the delegation’s trip. He met with representatives from Study Abroad, the UI Athletic Department, and the English as a Second Language Program to discuss potential collaborations.
The next week, a small delegation from the Chinese Consulate in Chicago came to Iowa City to meet with students and faculty, while also interacting with the directors of our International Writing Program and the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies.
I would like to thank and congratulate our grants administrator, Ann Knudson, for her tremendous work in shepherding Iowa’s application to house a National Resource Center (NRC) in Translation and Global Literacy. We found out in early August that the U.S. Department of Education approved the grant, worth $1M over four years. It has been a quarter century since the UI was awarded a new NRC, and we are thrilled to see the great efforts of the principal investigator (PI), Aron Aji, and his co-PI, Associate Dean Pam Wesley from the UI College of Education, come to fruition. International Programs is proud to partner with the College of Education, the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences on this endeavor which will continue to promote the humanities at the UI while underscoring Iowa’s brand as the Writing University.
Please let me conclude by expressing my deepest appreciation to our dear friend and colleague Joan Kjaer, whose last full day at International Programs is September 2. Joan has served as our director of Communications and Relations since 2009. Thanks to her skill, grace, and overall excellence as a leader, IP has assembled a media team that is the envy not just of the UI but of similar units across the Big Ten. Joan’s emphasis on the life-changing experience that is international education has enabled IP to tell student, faculty, and alumni stories on a personal and transformative level. In many respects, Joan is International Programs’ lead representative to the public at large, and there is no better person that embodies the spirit and mission of IP. While her day-to-day presence in the office will be sorely missed, Joan will remain a force in IP through the venue for which she is most celebrated—our WorldCanvass Forum. The ties between Joan, IP, and the UI community are too strong to be broken completely. We look forward to Joan’s continued role as Iowa’s voice for global engagement.
With all best wishes,