Diversity, depth and opportunity are some of the key aspects of international program improvement the University’s international task force is looking to enhance.
The international University systemwide task force released its latest recommendations Jan. 27.
The recommendation included a plan to combine a new position ” dean of international programs ” with the recent opening of the Office of International Programs vice president to improve the quality of international programming, said Ian Greaves, University professor and task force member.
“We want to be an international player, but we don’t have any coordinated efforts to keep us informed,” he said.
Greaves said the task force saw a need to pull together all the diverse international programs and projects at the University into a coordinated position.
The position would be able to fulfill some functions that are not already done, he said. It will provide input about the international concerns to the University community and “synergize efforts” to make the University an international player, he said.
Director of the Institute of Global Studies and task force member Evelyn Davidheiser said the new hire’s input will be especially important when the University deans gather to discuss issues at the University.
“We are focused on including concerns about international education on all levels of decision making at the “U,’ ” she said.
The position would be combined with the hiring of the associate vice president in the Office of International Programs because of the job descriptions’ similarities, said Senior Vice President Robert Jones.
“We don’t know how the “U’ will respond to that recommendation… if (the University) decided to take this recommendation, it will mean modifying responsibilities,” he said.
The modification of the position and job duties, however, would not be very drastic, Davidheiser said.
Greaves said the changes to the position mainly would concern the amount of attention allotted to international programming at the University.
The hope is that there would be more diverse educational programs regarding international issues and the existing programs would have more depth, he said.
The other aspect of the integration of the two positions would be to provide more attention to increasing opportunities for students to study abroad.
However, Davidheiser said, the main priority for the introduction of this position is to make the international programs at the University more visible.
The task force views this added title to the position of vice president in the Office of International Programs as an opportunity to “enhance visibility of the position rather than to alter it in a substantive way,” she said.
Some students said simply creating the position won’t enhance international standings.
Global studies senior and officer for the General College Truth Movement Lily Shank said that although the University is trying to do some good things with its plans, its motivation isn’t necessarily fair for all students.
“I think that one of the reasons why we are trying to become internationally popular is to get international students to the “U,’ ” she said.
Shank said some are worried the University might be increasing its efforts to appeal internationally to make up for potential lost diversity with the closing of the General College.
However, Davidheiser said, students can only benefit from increasing awareness about international education and the task force’s recommendations are important for improving the University.