In a search of new leadership, the Office of International Programs aims to hire a candidate who will continue the tradition of emphasizing global awareness.
In December, Senior Vice President Robert Jones created a task force to search for a new associate vice president in the Office of International Programs. The search still is under way to replace current Vice President Eugene Allen, who will retire this spring.
Jones selected a committee of eight University staff members and one graduate student in hopes of finding an energetic person to replace Allen sometime during the spring semester.
Jones said he hopes to hire someone who will follow through with the University’s commitment to international education and bring energy to academic research on global issues.
The job description for the new associate vice president has a new emphasis on promoting academic research on global concerns because it will aid in the University’s efforts to become a top three public research institution in the world, Jones said.
“The whole notion and driving factors of searching and expanding the job description are to make it broader than international services,” Jones said. “We clearly believe that in order for us to be in the top three research institutions, we have to have a stronger academic portfolio on global issues.”
Jones said there are several goals for the Office of International Programs, including sending half of students abroad before graduation and having more staff members work on global research projects.
A new person on staff might be able to bring a new energy to these issues, he said.
The undergraduate and graduate student body should be concerned about the choice because it will affect their education, Jones said.
Undergraduate students will see increased study abroad opportunities as well as more recruitment of international students, he said.
Jones said graduate students will benefit by having “a more enriched climate for research on global issues.”
Taqee Khaled, public health professional student and Graduate and Professional Student Assembly vice president, said the University is moving in the right direction as far as addressing the needs of international research options for graduate students.
Khaled said he hopes the intentions to increase graduate student global research projects are not merely a “material commitment.”
However, some international offices on campus saw different advantages for the future vice president.
Kay Thomas, International Student and Scholar Services director, said a new vice president should bring energy and enthusiasm to the international agenda at the University.
Thomas said she would like to see someone hired who is willing to learn about the important functions that International Student and Scholar Services serves for its students and one who understands “how important internationalization at home is.”
China Center Director Hong Yang said the center has grown tremendously under the current leadership and hopes that a new vice president will be able to continue that growth in communication and educational programs.
The impact of Chinese business relations in Minnesota has been very important, Yang said. Strong relationships with a new vice president and the China Center will help that impact become stronger.
“A new leader will need to continue to support what we have created up to now in not only the University academic programs with China but also the Chinese community in Minnesota,” he said.