Recommend an organizational structure for all international activities
For this charge, the Committee elected to address four initiatives, identifying those elements that must be centralized and those that are unit responsibilities:
- Student study abroad
- International visiting students
- Faculty teaching and research abroad
- International visiting faculty for teaching and research
Student Study Abroad
Build programs currently in place (centralized and decentralized), remembering that UofL seeks to offer a variety of experiences for its students, in classroom and experiential (service learning) as well. UofL-developed programs currently include but are not limited to Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, and Trinidad.
Target to send 1000 students to UofL developed programs. Target to send 65-75 students to Kentucky Institute for International Study (KIIS) summer programs. Target to send 10-20 students to KIIS semester-long studies. Target to send 30 students to study programs in Sister Cities. Target to send 100 students to Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA) summer programs. Target to send 20 students to CCSA semesterlong programs. Target to send 50 students to International Studies Abroad (ISA) summer and semester-long programs.
Provide student scholarship and tuition support with equity across schools and disciplines. This needs to be a widely advertised source of support for students. It need not be total funding, but some funding would make a difference.
There must be significant publicity for available programs. Examples include international activity on the front page of the UofL Web page with links to individual schools for school-specific programs and activities with better efforts to make options known to students through The Cardinal, posters etc. (Kalamazoo College provides one model).
Make “one-stop shopping” possible with a user-friendly International Office. Examples of these services include travel agency functions like plane tickets, Eurailpass, international student ID, youth hostel and hotel information, information on other travelrelated items serving incoming and outgoing students, faculty and staff; advising for students going abroad with individuals who are knowledgeable about UofL requirements for degree programs and opportunities for students such that they could help students find programs appropriate for them; assisting faculty develop new programs; familiarity with contractual/legal requirements of UofL and other institutions; and serving as the central point for publicity and for record keeping.
Ensure “buy-ins” so that faculty have ownership across the board and the idea of everybody knowing another language and/or country plays into this in a big way. Everyone should be knowledgeable of what UofL has and can offer, be willing to look for other opportunities for UofL students on their own and commitment from other partners from around the world.
Properly fund and staff an International Center, with implementation within the next 12 months and with continued central funding. The International Center will be assessed annually for success in accomplishing its goals. Staffing to include: a Director to oversee all activities, two assistant directors (one responsible for in-comers, the other responsible for out-goers; in both cases faculty and students alike). The Assistant Director responsible for out-goers has two responsibilities, one programmatic (relating more to units), the other administrative (relating more to individuals). Working programmatically will be a staff person in charge of publicity matters and with general record keeping; all unit-based international activities would be reported to this individual so that there is a central place for information. Someone centrally will assist students in selecting appropriate course work in concert with the unit advisors. Working with individuals will be a staff person performing many of the activities of a travel agent (this individual will also provide logistical support to units developing new programs) and yet another staff person working with Financial Aid. This last staff person would be responsible for dealing with PeopleSoft and financial matters for in-coming individuals as well. In addition, there would be a full-time receptionist. Thus, we need a total of 8 individuals, not covering people coming to UofL.
The Director of the International Center will act as the central repository of all international activity on campus. The person hired for this position will be full-time with a background in international activities, significant academic experience, and with appropriate knowledge to be an active administrator.
Recommendation 1: Develop new programs at the unit level.
Recommendation 2: Establish an Advisory Board on International Study, with at least one representative from each unit, one alumnus and one student representative, plus the Director of the International Center.
Recommendation 3: Each unit will have at least one international program in place and operational by 2009.
Recommendation 4: International activities and study abroad must be on the front page of UofL’s website and on unit websites (Fall 2008). In addition, publicize strongly UofL programs internally and externally.
Recommendation 5: The University of Louisville will fund $500,000 central funds annually to supplement study abroad activities for at least 1000 students (2009).
International Visiting Students
The University of Louisville values the rich and global diversity that international students bring to our campus. We are therefore committed to recruiting, retaining and providing a supportive educational and multicultural environment in which they can flourish. International students are to be integrated into the campus community with opportunities for cross-cultural communications and interactions that will be mutually beneficial to them and U.S. students, faculty and staff and that extend from recruitment through alumni status. Note: For purposes of this initiative, we define international students as those who are here on a student visa.
University recruitment activities will be geographically diverse. Scholarship funds will be allocated across regions, with specific scholarships reserved for underrepresented geographic areas. Faculty participating in exchanges in underrepresented areas would be encouraged to host recruiting events. The university’s goal will be to have an international student body of 10% (See benchmark data in Appendix 1).
International students’ arrival on campus will be welcoming and well-coordinated. International students will participate in an acclimation orientation. Part of that orientation will include communications on transportation, shopping, entertainment, religious services, and safety. A student guide will be available for each international student for his or her first few hours on campus. Students will meet with academic advisors to finalize class schedules. Various signage around campus will be multi-lingual. (Perhaps not all signs would have several languages; instead, many signs would have English and one other language on them. The goal would not be to allow students to get around without English but rather to impart an international flavor.)
After they arrive on campus, international students will be part of a cohesive program. International students will live in the “international” dorm. Each international student will room with an American student who has either studied abroad or plans to. Each region will have its own student group, which would include American students who have traveled to that region or who wish to travel there. These groups would be responsible for hosting an event showcasing their cultures. This event could include a meal, speaker or movie.
The university will provide a place for one-stop shopping for the international students; whether they have visa questions or need to resolve an issue about dorm rooms, the students should have only one place to go. A number of regional excursions will be available.
There are, of course, challenges. One is that we would increase the international student population while alienating current stakeholders (recruitment and admissions). Another is ensuring a welcoming, integrative experience for the international student that complies with a myriad of governmental regulations and, at the same time, does not become overly bureaucratic (student services). Finally, we must develop an infrastructure that is responsive and adaptive.
Recommendation 1: Recruitment and admissions:
Create a coordinated outreach program to attract high quality students across the university to help it meet its mission and to share knowledge across international boundaries.
Centralized responsibilities include focused recruitment activities, using alumni and athletics where feasible. Prospective students should be given application packets that include information on academic programs and requirements such as TOEFL scores, visas, SEVIS, and other federal immigration regulations. The office should assist with immigration issues including visa processing, advocacy, and green cards (faculty/post docs only), etc. Finally, the staff must provide assistance in evaluating foreign university transcripts as well as foreign university accreditation.
Units must make final decisions on foreign transcripts interpreted by central office and assist in recruiting.
Recommendation 2: Student services:
Develop an integrated plan that follows students from admission through graduation and beyond.
Centralized responsibilities include identification of avenues for financial support for graduate and undergraduate international students. Staff should provide orientations for international students. They should acclimate students to English language idiosyncrasies and cultural institutional norms through diversity training (beyond orientation and as part of a concerted, integrated plan). The center must notify students of changes in laws and regulations that could impact their status, especially if they travel outside the U.S., provide housing information/facilitation, and publicize general opportunities. Other centralized activities include workshops on banking, employment, taxes, health insurance, leadership and diversity as well as information on public transportation and, for those interested, information on how to buy a car, driving education programs, and car insurance. Staff should provide information and tours of the Metro Louisville area for new students.
A key objective is to provide living and learning communities for new international students. The center must maintain a centralized listing of all current international unit programs and partnerships and facilitate between- and among-unit co-operation on international initiatives. Other activities include liaisons with university partnership organizations (e.g., KIIS). In conjunction with other units, the central staff should develop opportunities to integrate international students into the university community and provide cross-cultural training with simulations for faculty and staff to enhance understanding of various cultures.
Units must work in conjunction with the university to develop opportunities to integrate international students into university community. Unit staff must identify host families that would provide international students with opportunities to visit on holidays and at other times to share cultural events in the community and create a buddy system or peer mentoring system that would pair international students with U.S. students to facilitate cross-cultural communications and understanding of cultural configurations for both.
Recommendation 3: Infrastructure:
Create an International Center that is adequately staffed and has sufficient resources to offset financial and other stressors that international students may experience.
This center will provide staffing that will include at least one person for each of the areas defined above as well as a receptionist to serve as initial contact for international students. The head of the center must develop an integrated plan that follows students from recruitment through graduation and alumni status and monitor international students in accordance with US law. The center should be a clearinghouse for study abroad opportunities. Staff will act as ombudsmen for students with one-stop shopping, cutting institutional red tape.
Units will be responsible for providing up-to-date contact and program information to this office.
Faculty Teaching and Research Abroad
UofL faculty members must become a larger part of the world community of scholars in their area and in so doing broaden the perspective that they bring to their work and bring back to their students, to increase UofL’s level of recognition nationally and internationally, and to facilitate UofL’s recruitment of international scholars and students.
Many relationships are possible; some will be university to university, others school to school, and even some person to person. Some will be formal and others informal.
Requirements include sustained institutional and administrative support. These relationships take time to develop and are usually fragile. UofL’s support and valuing must be ongoing and constant. The best approach is to put an administrative structure in place that facilitates international exchange/applications/information/etc. and then pursue established national approaches to international exchange, e.g. NSF, State Department, and Fulbright and individual approaches as they might arise. Departments and units must support individual attempts including maintenance of a repository of UofL’s international connections.
Recommendation 1: Assemble a listing of current university, school, department and individual faculty connections for such exchanges. The listing should include key contacts, potential for expansion, etc. Such a listing would be a natural starting place for faculty who have interest in exchange to begin their search. In many cases these relationships can be expanded.
Recommendation 2: Require faculty returning from exchanges to file a report (much as is now done for faculty returning from sabbatical) on their experience. Make these reports available (as part of the above listing) to other faculty with interest in exchange. The experiences of others can generate ideas for later faculty.
Recommendation 3: Appoint a key person to be the Fulbright, NSF, State Department, DAAD, etc. contact for UofL. This would be a full-time position. This level of FTE is required for the person to actively attempt to generate activity and not simply respond. This person would foster national/international contacts, publish a newsletter, hold workshops on international opportunities, work with individual faculty to help them prepare applications and prepare for successful experiences abroad. (The natural location for this individual would be in a revitalized International Center, which could assist with staff support.)
Recommendation 4: Make additional international exchange opportunities a perk for UofL faculty that is tied to performance, e.g. receipt of tenure, major awards, etc.
Recommendation 5: Make successful international experiences and the fostering of such experiences activities which are specifically rewarded in PAT and merit pay documents.
International Visiting Faculty for Teaching and Research
The University of Louisville is an institution that welcomes to our campus faculty who broaden our global experiences, sharing their talents and expertise that expand our thinking and knowledge.
Recruiting - This is primarily a department/college function based on academic need and available grants. Support could include central resource for advertising, grant writing, cooperative agreements, contracts, and general inquiries,
Welcoming - Resources should be available to provide support for basics such as visas, social security numbers, bank accounts, health insurance, taxes and housing. An orientation should be offered that includes information about UofL, the city of Louisville, and the U.S. Temporary housing and a “welcome host” would make the transition less stressful.
Supporting - Support should include an office, computer, and supplies and perhaps ESL classes. A mentor/host from the department would help with services such as transportation, food (restaurants, shopping), sightseeing.
Integrating - This category should include an international faculty network, a spousal support group, ties with international student groups, public presentations/performances by visiting faculty.
Recommendation 1: The University must promote the values of cross-cultural understandings and provide a series of relevant workshops to increase the awareness of faculty and staff. ESL training will be provided if appropriate.
The university should allot $500,000 continuing annual resources to assist units in undertaking international exchanges. Each school should develop plans that bring international faculty to campus on an annual basis. Funding requests would be submitted to a committee appointed by the Provost. Overseas advertising and utilizing overseas contacts is appropriate.
Additionally the university shall provide the funds to hire one key staff person (preferably multilingual) who will be responsible for providing schools/departments with information on the hiring of and bringing faculty to campus as well as assisting with details for bringing visiting guests to campus for short-term (i.e. one week) stays. The staff person would be housed in the International Center and will have a strong contact with the appropriate staff in Human Resources in order to be able to assist with issues of contract, tax, visa, etc. This person will also be the contact for UofL faculty traveling abroad and will provide them with information on visa and travel.
This staff member will be responsible for:
Information regarding immigration, visa, permanent residency (green card) including how to apply, forwarding proper forms, assistance with application, etc.
Foreign transcript/degree evaluation if needed
Tax/Social Security applications and information
Health Insurance information/applications
Accompany faculty to Federal Building/Post Office, etc.
Housing/food information (long-term and short-term)
Drivers license, car insurance
University/city orientation/public transportation/sightseeing options/information on local and campus events
Schools (for faculty coming with families for a semester)
Local customs issues
Keep abreast of grant programs that would help to fund international visits of faculty.
Recommendation 2: Each unit must ascertain that the faculty member has sufficient English skills to be responsible for a class, or a translator will be needed. Departments need to consider grant applications to assist the university in the support of such visits, i.e. Open World program in which School of Music is involved with NEA.
A contract letter will be provided, stipulating term of appointment, title, salary if offered, who pays for travel expenses, local travel/food/housing. It must be determined before hiring that the faculty member is eligible for a US entry visa.
Each unit must identify staff and resources to:
Provide travel arrangements
Arrange motel/local travel/meals/entertainment/hospitality/sightseeing
Entertain/welcome from other members of the department/social events
Provide office space with a computer
Mentor visiting faculty member
Host family/spousal support
Find ways for faculty member to become involved with other faculty and students while on campus
Help to showcase the talents and abilities of the faculty member to our students/faculty Broadly publicize special events
Organize special workshops/presentations/public events to involve local community presence
Recommendation 3: It would be helpful if the university had at least one apartment on campus that could be used for short-term faculty visits that would have minimal cooking facilities and be located close to campus (i.e. Reynolds Building or Macaroni Building on Floyd), or at least on a bus route/close to a grocery. The staff member should also be a contact person for available sabbatical leave housing of UofL faculty.
An “International Network/Club/Committee” who could serve as a volunteer welcome group. Regular events shall be sponsored by this group to include all international faculty on campus. Full-time international faculty would be encouraged to serve as hosts/mentors for this group.
Center for International Learning, Research and Service
Led by a senior-level officer, responsibility for developing, monitoring, and evaluating international programs and initiatives would be the key focus. The director of the Center should have significant international experience and preferably language skills in one or more languages beyond English. The Center will provide one-stop shopping for international initiatives.
An International Advisory Board would be formed representing faculty, students, alumni, and community members to help guide the philosophy and vision for the International Programs and Initiatives. Individuals asked to serve will have international teaching, research, or service experience and reflect the cultures of the student population. The proposals suggest that enhanced language training will be necessary in the future. The committee recognizes that the needs may be met with a variety of options to include increased staffing of modern languages, commercial training, or individual initiative.
In addition to the budget for staffing, there should be an additional $500,000 each year to support international faculty exchanges, visits, and study tours and an additional $500,000 annually for student study abroad.
In addition to the Director for the Center, there should be specific staffing with the responsibilities outlined in the following section. The committee believes that investing in a strong center is critical to achieving the expanded vision and activities in both the near-term and in the future.