explores ways to internationalize universities
to right): Womack, with keynote speaker Donald Kennedy, president
emeritus of Stanford University, and U.Va. President John
T. Casteen III.
and college administrators from across the country gathered at
U.Va. earlier this month for a two-day conference on "Universalizing
the University," exploring ways to integrate more international
perspectives and activities into university life.
U.Va., "we tend to think in terms of a Charlottesville-centered
world, and this actually reduces
the role we can play in the world and what we can learn about
it," said government and foreign affairs professor Brantly
Womack, who chairs the Virginia 2020 International Activities
Planning Commission, sponsor of the conference.
Schoettle of the Ford Foundation addresses the audience attending
the first session of U.Va.'s Virginia 2020 International Activities
Planning Commission conference on "New Challenges & Best
Practices: Universalizing the University,' held on Grounds
Oct. 14-15. Also on the panel were (left to right): Brantly
Womack, chair of U.Va.'s commission; William Kiehl of the
Interagency Working Group on USG-Sponsored International Exchanges
and Training; and Mary Byrne McDonnell of the Social Science
conference provided a kind of general horizons-raising for the
University," Womack said, " and offered a sense of the
scope of nternationalization that the University can aspire to."
typical panel addressed ways to enhance study-abroad programs
for students and faculty.
Daniel Davidson, a Russian professor at Bryn Mawr College and
president of the American Councils for International Education,
described study-abroad programs as an excellent and much-needed
way to improve foreign language proficiency.
other industrialized country has achievement levels as low as
ours," he said.
graduating students have the language skills to "survive
a home stay" with a family, he said, but even those who have
studied abroad for a summer don't have the skills to do an internship
in a foreign country.
a powerful distinction between the summer and the semester, and
between the semester and the year," he said, noting that,
after studying abroad for a year, 95 percent of students have
made significant gains in speaking or writing, or both.
the number of Americans studying abroad burgeoned in the 1980s,
many Duke University faculty have a tendency to regard it "merely
as a culturally enriching diversion," said Craufurd Goodwin,
James B. Duke Professor of Economics there.
been little serious evaluation of programs through which students
go overseas Š and no serious attempt to take advantage of the
possibilities," he said, blaming this on "the inherent
conservatism" and "professorial hubris" on American
American professors' attitude toward the rest of the world that
'whatever is happening over there, we're doing it better here,'"
he said. "They don't see any reasons to encourage" students
to go abroad.
faculty on the international commission's subcommittee on exchange
programs don't share this view, according to committee member
and French professor Kandioura Dramé.
vision ... is to have University-wide exchange programs with similar
institutions abroad, particularly in two areas: undergraduates
majoring in foreign languages and exchanges for faculty doing
research," he said later.
really like to see this two-pronged approach give priority to
areas of the world that have traditionally been absent in U.Va.'s
programs, especially Africa," he said.
27 study-abroad programs in 25 countries, Longwood College in
Farmville has a strong emphasis on international exchange. The
college has been requiring every student majoring in a foreign
language to spend at least a semester abroad since 1992, said
John Reynolds, Longwood's director of international studies.
"We've found that foreign institutes for language study are
a good match for American students, because the classes are small
and cover history and culture, they include home stays, and their
academic year corresponds to that in the U.S.," he said.
has streamlined its procedures to facilitate the creation of programs
with foreign universities, Reynolds said. He noted that a German
university tried for more than a year to establish an exchange
program with U.Va. before giving up and approaching Longwood,
where the two created a program in a month.
very interesting to see that with persistent efforts, Longwood
is way ahead of U.Va. in placing students abroad," Womack
said later, pointing out that many U.Va. students study abroad
through programs based at other schools.
U.Va, "there are two related, but distinguishable problems:
the lack of a central organization to encourage international
activities" and a tendency to wall off international issues,
hope that, 20 years from now, people don't think about 'international
activities,' because they're so interwoven with everything we
do," he said.
International Activities Planning Commission is looking at
developing four areas: faculty research and student exchange programs;
incorporating international issues into the curriculum; assessing
whether the University provides a hospitable environment for international
students and scholars; and increasing the number of liaisons with
under consideration include providing more foreign language living
arrangements near the French and Spanish houses and creating an
International Living and Learning Center that would house a mix
of international and American students, as well as host international
addition, the commission will develop "an appropriate organization
to encourage and coordinate international activities," Womack