On behalf of the University of Virginia, President Teresa A. Sullivan accepted a prestigious award from Association of International Educators, for the University’s efforts to globalize its curriculum and research. The 2015 Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization was presented last week, at a ceremony in Washington, DC. The keynote speaker for their 2016 Conference and Expo is Bryan Stevenson. now serving on President Obama’s task force on 21st-century policing, is also the author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, which was one of Time magazine’s Top 10 Nonfiction Books for 2014.
It is ironic that President Sullivan should have accepted this award for the University, since this had been one of the ‘philosophical differences’ that Sullivan had alluded to on the occasion of her having pressured into handing in her resignation in June of 2012.
An article in Inside Higher Education Scott Jaschik reminds us that the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia noted President Sullivan’s reluctance to eliminate some of the courses in the Humanities, in the undergraduate and graduate College of Arts & Sciences that may not have been thought by the BoV to be ‘cost-efficient.’
One of the key complaints of the board members who orchestrated the ouster of Teresa A. Sullivan as president of the University of Virginia was that she rebuffed their suggestions that she eliminate or sharply cut German programs, sources familiar with the discussions have told Inside Higher Ed. The Washington Post on Sunday reported that one of the most specific disagreements between board members and Sullivan was their view that she “lacked the mettle to trim or shut down programs that couldn’t sustain themselves financially, such as obscure academic departments in classics and German. …
The Association of International Educators was founded as the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers in 1948, in order to encourage professional development of administrators and faculty in American college and universities who were assisted and advised the 25,000 foreign students who had come to study in the U.S. after World War II.
By 1964, having an increasingly diverse membership, at this point, the name was changed to the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs; and by 1990, the number of foreign students in the U.S. was close to 400,000 and the membership increased to 6,400 on 1,800 campuses. The importance of “international competence” was recognized and there were far more opportunities for American students to study abroad, and to participate in scholarly exchange programs, and to study foreign areas and languages.
The UVa News Release describes the award in greater detail:
.The Simon Award is given annually to universities that demonstrate “significant, well-planned, well-executed and well-documented progress toward comprehensive internationalization – especially those using innovative and creative approaches.” UVa was one of five schools to earn the honor. Internationalization is a key component of the Cornerstone Plan, UVa’s blueprint for the future.
President Sullivan spoke with UVa Today’s Jane Kelly, and noted that in today’s world, colleges and universities must engaged with one other on a global basis, “through partnerships, student-exchange agreements, research and more,” and that this is being accomplished through what she calls ‘UVa’s blueprint for the future,’ the Cornerstone Plan, which has definitive priorities that include what may be called ‘internationalization’ across the Grounds of the University, and and engagement with global issues and with international partnerships.
“Q. To your mind, what are the key ways to accomplish internationalization?
A. We are moving forward on several fronts. Research is a critical area, and in recent years we unveiled a grant opportunity, called “Global Programs of Distinction,” to support research aimed at solving the world’s biggest challenges.
The first recipients of the grant are conducting a mufti-national climate change mapping and modeling project that will help determine the best options to balance Earth’s allocation of forest, food and biofuel land parcels. This work highlights UVa’s research excellence and its global impact.
Our “Global on Grounds” committee has been doing a broad examination of how an international perspective informs University programs and activities, beginning with tours of Grounds for prospective students all the way through to career services and the alumni experience. It draws input from faculty, students and staff from around UVa to make our University a truly global entity.
Q. How do international students and faculty contribute to this effort?
A. In 2014-15, the UVa community included students, faculty and scholars from 148 countries. We have more than 2,400 international students. They bring the world to UVa, and they enrich our classroom discussions with their diverse cultural knowledge and perspectives. Some professors and schools even form study groups with the specific aim of leveraging the broad geographic and cultural representation among their students, UVa is also home to 166 student organizations with a global dimension. All these factors make UVa a globally oriented community.”
President Sullivan also noted that the relationships between University Alumni and scholars doing research worldwide are significant:
For example, UVa faculty members and their partners are working in India to make water cleaner, and they are working with Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion to make energy production cleaner and more efficient. We and our partners in South Africa and Brazil are striving to improve global health. Those are just a few examples that have far-reaching results.
“Our alumni are an incredible resource. Just this past summer, Neal Rudge, a 1986 graduate of the College, provided an internship for fourth-year media studies major Cameron Harris at a consumer products licensing business in Bangkok, as part of our new Global Internship program. …
The Shandong Tranlin Paper Company, a world-leading pulp and paper company, is basing the project in Chesterfield County near Richmond. The $2 billion deal is creating 2,000 new jobs for Virginians.
The chair and CEO of Tranlin is Jerry Peng, a 2003 graduate of the Darden School of Business. He has remained engaged with UVa and Virginia ever since. This new project could bring farmers more than $50 million each year, and fuel Virginia’s economy.”
Now that economies of all countries are mutually dependent, a global perspective must prevail. Another aspect of this approach demonstrated by the University it the creation of new curricula, such as the new Global Studies major; as well as the new Global Internships Program. For more information about The Cornerstone Plan, visit the website, for the latest update.