University of Iowa

Tagged with "dean's blog"

Downing Thomas

Dean's Blog: Welcome to the 2017-2018 Academic Year

Though it is the first week of the 2017-18 academic year, International Programs and many others around campus have been working hard over most of August to prepare a new group of international first-year graduates and undergraduates, transfer students, and visiting scholars to hit the ground running this fall semester. We will have a smaller incoming cohort of international undergraduates this fall. While we will not know the full story until we have final data and are able to compare it with our peers, most likely this change is attributable to factors that are out of our control, such as the current political climate in the U.S., fierce competition from other English-speaking countries, and the shifting winds of global demographics and sources of educational funding. The University of Iowa, likewise, reported a slightly smaller freshman class at 5,029 -- making it the third-largest class in UI history after two record-setting years. Our total enrollment remains up slightly -- at 33,564 from 33,334 last fall.

Dean's Blog: Fostering a deeper understanding of cultures among students

Leveraging the benefits that come from a diverse student population is a key priority for International Programs and for the university as a whole. The diversity of our campus community is an asset that we must cultivate because it enriches the educational experience students have while at Iowa. By deliberately engaging students who come from different walks of life, from different cultural backgrounds, from different parts of the globe, students develop cross-cultural competencies. We must provide them opportunities to learn to function successfully and with ease in global environments. We will accomplish this goal in many ways.

Welcome to the 2016-17 academic year

As we enter another academic year, it’s a good time to ask: what have we accomplished? where are we going? The short answer is that we are ever more committed to, and engaged in, connecting Iowa with the world and the world with Iowa.

Study Abroad Sins

The New York Times published a brief piece, entitled "Study Abroad's Seven Deadly Sins," in the Education Life section of the Sunday paper on April 10th. The article is not inaccurate in the strictest sense; but the larger context is missing. The author, a professor at the University of North Carolina, stokes the fires of parental alarm by listing seven evils of study abroad: slide courses, suds (beer), sexual fervidity (as if sex were absent from our home campuses), shopping, self-segregation, smartphoning, and selfie-taking.

Impact of International Experiences

In his latest Dean's blog, Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs Downing Thomas writes about the impact of international experiences. While close to three-quarters of S&P 500 companies generate international revenue, the leaders of these companies have a long way to go in developing their global competencies. Yes, English has become the lingua franca of international business; but culture is always local. And far too few executives have the skills to be truly successful in unfamiliar cultural waters. Culture is far more than mastering a calendar of national holidays or knowing how to say hello. Negotiation varies from one culture to another, as do a vast array of expectations related to the business of getting things done, ranging from timing to process, from who decides to how to approach next steps. To be competitive, our graduates need to have the skills that allow them to approach new situations with confidence, to listen attentively to what is being said and what is not being said, and to understand multiple shades of grey. And an excellent way to gain such skills is to study, intern, or live abroad.
Downing Thomas

UI scholarships support international study

Student support is more important than ever in higher education; and with increasing priority given to offering opportunities to students in global education, scholarships have a crucial role. University of Iowa students have access to hundreds of scholarship opportunities and many are designated specifically for international study or for international students who attend the UI.

Encouraging our students to be citizen diplomats

The University of Iowa celebrates International Education Week as an annual opportunity to promote global awareness and engagement and to feature the international opportunities offered on our campus and in our community. Today, as never before, education must be globally oriented to prepare Iowans and students from around the country and around the world to move confidently across borders, to interact effectively with people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and to take pleasure in a life filled with inquiry and discovery.

Welcome to the 2014-15 Academic Year!

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.