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U.Va. Builds A Stronger International Program Professor William Quandt To Hold New Post, Vice Provost For International Affairs

August 31 , 2000 -- William B. Quandt, the Edward R. Stettinius Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs, has been named the University of Virginia’s Vice Provost for International Affairs. The new position was created upon the recommendation of the International Commission, one of the four Virginia 2020 committees charged with envisioning the University of Virginia's third century.

Creating a new position at the vice provost level was the top recommendation of the International Commission, which submitted its report to U.Va. officials in May.

The commission identified numerous successful international programs at the University, but many rest on the shoulders of individual faculty members and are not widely known outside their sponsoring departments. To turn that around, the commission urged the appointment of a vice provost to provide university-wide leadership, believing it to be a critical factor in promoting the coordination and expansion of international activities at U.Va.

"We wanted to create a center point, not centralize international activities, which are occurring all over," said Brantly Womack, chairman of the International Commission.

The commission also recommended the creation of an All-University Advisory Council and the establishment of a "significant" incentive budget, as it proposed creating a program similar to the one adopted by Duke University five years ago, according to Quandt. Duke was one of five schools in the aspiration group studied by the commission, along with Cornell University, Michigan State University, New York University and the University of Wisconsin.

The commission's goal is to expand existing programs by removing barriers to participation and to launch new initiatives that fit well with U.Va.'s strengths, and which have the potential to become internationally recognized centers of excellence, Quandt said.

Quandt, a former member of the National Security Council and Middle East expert who was actively involved in the Camp David Accords under the leadership of President Jimmy Carter, is serving a two-year appointment as vice provost for international affairs while an international search is conducted to replace him.

Womack said several factors led to his recommending Quandt to fill the new vice provost position, including Quandt's international experience, academic prestige and background in government and administration. Quandt served on the International Commission's task group on organizational arrangements.

"He's been an outstanding participant since the beginning," Womack said.

Taken together, the commission's recommendations envision nothing short of a cultural transformation at the University of Virginia, incorporating an awareness of international issues across disciplines and throughout the curriculum.

"What does it mean to make this an international university?" asked Womack. "It means that most students need to see the world as part of their U.Va. experience."

Indeed, that is what characterizes the leading schools in the field, according to the International Commission's report: "'International' becomes normal and universities, such as New York University or Cornell University, accept and encourage their international dimension as part of their basic identity. Moreover, their international achievements have become a central part of their claim to academic excellence."

Now, U.Va. ranks about 40th nationwide in international programs -- 37th in the percentage of foreign scholars on Grounds; 66th in percentage of foreign students enrolled; and with only 16 percent of its students studying abroad, U.Va. falls well below the 30-40 percent levels common at its peer institutions. Duke now sends 44 percent of its students abroad at some point in their university careers, according to Bruce Kuniholm, vice provost for international affairs at Duke.

One of the commission's goals is to see 80 percent of U.Va. undergraduates -- up from the current 16 percent -- participating in study abroad by 2020.

The U.Va. commission outlined five main elements of a strong international program:

1) sending more U.Va. students and faculty abroad; 2) internationalizing the curriculum; 3) hosting more international students and scholars; 4) fostering international liaisons; and 5) sponsoring international activities.

U.Va. has already embarked on initiatives in several of these areas, including the longstanding programs in the study of language, literature and culture in Valencia, Spain, and other countries, an architecture program in Venice, Italy, and a commerce program in Bath, England. Closer to home, the University is building a new international residential college with open programming and services, which is expected to be finished in the fall of 2001, and a new building for residential language programs, which should open in the fall of 2002.

The commission's recommendations for new programs include an International Institute of American Studies, which would build on U.Va.'s strong library collection in Americana; an Institute of American Language and Culture, which would promote the teaching of English as a Second Language and offer foreign-born students help with their English-language skills, both for undergraduates studying in the United States for the first time and for graduates taking on new responsibilities as teaching assistants; and a Center for International Medicine, building on existing programs at the School of Medicine. The commission believes that U.Va. has the potential to become a world leader in these three areas.

While the U.Va. commission has not recommended a budget, Kuniholm said that Duke has earmarked $20 million in its current capital campaign to fund similar international initiatives.

Quandt expects to spend the coming months establishing contacts with faculty members and administrators throughout the University, working to expand the International Studies Office, and updating and improving the International Studies Office web page. He also will be working closely with the administration and development officers to establish priorities, estimate costs and determine ways of raising the necessary funds.

Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (804) 924-6858

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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