April 9-22, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 7
Back Issues
IN THIS ISSUE
Pituitary Center brings life-changing treatment to thousands
Student health insurance plan
Headlines @ U.Va.
U.Va. marks the 261st birthday of its founder — Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals in Architecture an Law
Aerospace institute becoming a reality in Hampton
Online applications aid admissions process
Fatton: No ray of hope for native Haiti
Grossman enters new world of responsibility
Women’s Center to honor Arizona’s trailblazing Gov. Janet Napolitano
Artist explores DNA and difference in
‘ Jefferson Suites’
Nobel Prize-winning poet
Seamus Heaney to read April 19
Roaming Rome, Wylie focuses on material and light
Grossman enters new world of responsibility

By Charlotte Crystal

Leigh  Grossman
Photo by Peggy Harrison
Leigh Grossman seeks to make it easier for U.Va. students to earn credit for foreign study.

Leigh Grossman expected her new position as vice provost for international affairs to be demanding. She didn’t expect it to be a second full-time job.

“I just wish there were another 24 hours in a day,” she said.

Not that she’s complaining.

Grossman loves her work in pediatrics — teaching clinical pediatrics, pediatric infectious disease and serving as an inpatient-attending physician in the pediatric wards.

She also continues to publish in the field of public health, working on the seventh edition of “Infection Control for Daycare Centers and Preschools” and keeping an eye on new translations of “Infection Control for the Health Care Worker,” now out in Spanish and Japanese and soon to be available in Portuguese and Chinese.

Grossman wasn’t looking to add to her responsibilities when the position as vice provost opened, but once she starting thinking about the goals she might like to pursue, “the idea of being able to make fundamental changes, to leave something better behind, was too seductive an opportunity to pass up,” she said, particularly in the field of international studies, about which she is passionate.

Grossman spent her childhood in India and travels frequently to Haiti as a practicing pediatrician. Both of her sons spent part of their college careers abroad — Nick, now 24, spent a semester in Kenya, and Jeff, now 22, spent the fall of his junior year in Nepal.

“I believe that every student at this University should have an experience abroad,” she said.

Just a few months into her two-year term, Grossman is still thinking through her priorities and how to go about addressing them. But a few ideas are crystallizing.

Grossman would like to expand the number of study-abroad programs open to U.Va. students to increase the likelihood of students finding a good fit. She’d also like to work with faculty and administrators to explore ways of liberalizing credit restrictions to make it easier for students to earn credit for courses taken abroad.

At the same time, Grossman would like to boost the number of international students at the University, admittedly a challenge in the current political climate. But she sees foreign alumni as an underutilized resource in recruiting students, and perhaps in sponsoring foreign students who want to study at U.Va. but need assistance to do so.

Once here, foreign students have to hurdle language and cultural barriers to feel comfortable in their new home. Grossman would like to see 105 flags, representing the 105 nationalities of U.Va.’s international students, flying around Grounds as visible signs of welcome.

She also supports an increase in international activities — speakers, visiting scholars, the arts, programs, conferences. And she is launching a Diplomat Scholars Program that would bring Washington-based diplomats to Charlottesville to lecture and mentor students interested in foreign-service careers.

“This initiative was requested by students and is a natural, given our proximity to Washington,” Grossman said.

Grossman realizes that her job involves salesmanship, and persuading students to leave the known world for the unknown is likely to be a challenge.

“I think our students are ready for this,” Grossman said. “International study takes you out of your comfort zone. If you’re totally comfortable, you’re probably not learning much,” she said. “If you’re uncomfortable, your learning curve is steep.”

Regarding her new responsibilities, Grossman added, “My learning curve is vertical.”


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