U. drives int’l effort forward, with major progress expected by Sept.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The University should complete the first major steps of its official internationalization effort by early September, when officials hope to name a vice president for international affairs and release the report of its internationalization committee.

The committee – established in October 2006 to recommend how the University could raise its profile outside of the United States and enhance the international character of its curriculum, campus life and research – is finalizing revisions to the report and expects to make its findings public at the beginning of the fall semester, said committee member and Assistant Provost Shelley Stephenson.

The University has also identified a candidate for the new vice presidential position and is currently in negotiations to finalize the appointment, added Stephenson, who serves on the vice presidential search committee.

Those negotiations are unlikely to be completed before mid-August, Stephenson said, meaning a vice presidential appointment could be announced around the time the report is released.

Stephenson declined to identify the candidate or provide any information about the person’s background, citing the candidate’s request that nothing about the appointment be made public yet.

The new vice president will be responsible for overseeing the next phase of the University’s internationalization effort. University officials and committee members have said they expect the vice president will use the committee’s recommendation to guide his or her efforts, at least initially.

The committee’s report, expected to be about 20 pages long, will highlight specific suggestions from initial reports of its six discipline-specific working groups, which will be appended to the report.

The Herald reported in April that proposals in the working groups’ reports include encouraging more science and technology students to go abroad and creating centers to coordinate the University’s global health activities and study African development. The final report will emphasize specific recommendations for University officials and will try to place the working group reports into a larger context, Stephenson said.

The appointment of the vice president for international affairs and the release of the committee’s report will be two of the most significant signs of progress in the University’s internationalization effort since it was announced last fall.

The appointment in February of former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke ’62 as a professor-at-large at the Watson Institute for International Studies and an informal adviser to President Ruth Simmons was also touted by University officials as a boon for the effort. Holbrooke is a former editor-in-chief of The Herald.

One project currently underway is the creation of regional advisory councils in areas such as Asia, Africa and Latin America. The University has also sent delegations to China and India in the past year to discuss collaboration with businesses and universities in those countries.

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