The University of Iowa

International Education in the Time of COVID-19

April 27th, 2020
Russell Ganim, Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs
Russell Ganim

As the University of Iowa prepares to graduate the Class of 2020, I and my colleagues in International Programs want to offer our congratulations and best wishes to the students, parents, alumni, and friends who make this institution such a special place.

Although we're all living through unfamiliar and difficult times, we are looking to the future and working collaboratively with our partners on and off campus to find innovative ways for our students to safely engage in international education. 
 
International Programs’ highest priority is the health and safety of our students.  And while the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in major program disruptions, our team members continue to work virtually.  

Over the past few weeks, Study Abroad staff worked diligently to return 270 students home safely. An additional 397 students were assisted in finding alternate course options when their spring break and summer study abroad programs were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Study Abroad staff continue to support and advise students through phone and online communications, including Zoom virtual meetings and twice-weekly Discover Study Abroad sessions. Recent collaborations with study abroad program providers offer students multiple virtual internship options this summer. The Study Abroad webpage provides current updates in a Coronavirus FAQ section specific to study abroad.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) staff continue to support our 3,000+ international students through phone and online communications. The department has hosted virtual Q&A sessions addressing remote learning, travel, student life, and concerns about immigration status while studying at the UI, and the ISSS webpage features a Coronavirus FAQ section specific to our community of international students and scholars. 

A video message from International Programs

You may be aware of the UI's status as a Top Producer of Fulbrights for the past five consecutive years.  This marks an extraordinary achievement on the part of the student applicants and credit also goes to the faculty and International Programs staff who mentor applicants throughout the lengthy process.  We have high hopes as we wait for announcements about this year's awardees.  Meanwhile, our grants and fellowship staff are hosting virtual competitive grant writing workshops to support students who are interested in pursuing international research, study, or teaching opportunities in the future.
 
We are always encouraged by the commitment of our faculty to international education. Even with the current crisis, faculty continue to propose ideas to bolster study abroad programming and to expand partnerships with institutions across the globe. Faculty also continue to show support for our international students through their research, teaching, and mentoring activities. Our faculty’s commitment to the internationalization of the curriculum is unwavering and their energy and expertise are crucial to IP’s emergence into the post-COVID world.  

In closing, I'd like to assure you that International Programs is working hard to provide the most effective support for our students as they face today's challenges. In terms of study abroad programming and international travel, International Programs monitors public health and travel advisory guidance in real time from the CDC and the U.S. Department of State, and will share updates with our students and campus community as the situation evolves. I encourage you to reach out if you have questions or concerns at IP-communications@uiowa.edu.  

Stay current with campus COVID-19 information here: https://coronavirus.uiowa.edu/.
 
We are here for you.
 
With warmest regards,

Russ Ganim signature

 

 

Russell Ganim
Dean and Associate Provost, International Programs

 

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