A new direction for international education
This past year, as we reviewed UofL's mission and developed a new strategic plan to take us even further toward our state mandate to be a pre-eminent metropolitan research university, a task force reviewed the international experiences available to UofL students.
It looked at the opportunities for international study available to students from the United States, at programs UofL offers in other countries and at the experiences of international students who attend UofL in Louisville.
I asked the group to develop a vision for international involvement at UofL, recommend an organizational structure for all international activities and recommend the role and function for the new structure.
The groundwork for implementing their recommendations will begin this month with the closing of the Institute for International Development (IID) in the Office of the Provost. Buddy Enck, the associate provost for international programs and director of the institute, will retire at that time. We will move the IID’s components out of the provost’s office and into the colleges and schools which operate them.
The PhD program in humanities that UofL operates in China will move into the College of Arts and Sciences. The MBA program in Germany will move to the College of Business, and so forth. IID support staff will transfer with the degree programs to the respective colleges.
Under the task force’s plan, by 2020:
- All faculty will have a second language capability.
- Teaching and research resources will reflect a significant number of visiting scholars and teachers from around the world.
- Undergraduate students will have some fluency in a second language.
- There will be a required international education component for undergraduate degrees.
- Ten percent of the undergraduate population will be visitors and permanent residents from other countries.
- More graduate students from other countries will attend UofL.
- There will be a broad range of opportunities for all students to conduct some of their learning or research abroad.
The task force also outlined an organizational structure to support all international activities. It starts with a revamped and comprehensive International Center that would be a hub for all international activities and processes, from working with students from other countries to making sure they are properly documented to study in the United States, to helping students from UofL make travel arrangements to other countries.
Part of the plan also calls for a campus culture that supports international education and cultural exchange. One component, for instance, would pair an international student as a roommate with a student who planned to study abroad.
We have a lot of work ahead of us to fulfill the task force’s vision. It will take a year or two just to put together the infrastructure to support that vision. My next step will be to assemble an advisory group to do that work.