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International Activities Documents List

International Activities Planning Commission
University of Virginia

Prepared for the Senior Leadership Meeting

December 13, 1999

By Brantly Womack, Chair


A Reader’s Guide to the Interim Report

International activities are by their nature diffuse. They are defined by horizons rather than by bottom lines. Nevertheless, with due regard to the time horizons of various readers, here is a guide to what is more important to read in this Interim Report and why.

Must Read

The Executed Summary.

This is an attempt to concretize the salience of the International Commission’s recommendations by describing their effects, if adopted, on two fictional students in 2020.

The Summary of Commission Recommendations.

Here is a general version of the International Commission’s recommendations that has been formulated on the basis of the task group reports and discussed at our most recent meeting. The General section contains a limited set of major recommendations.


International Activities at UVA in Comparative Perspective

This presents a summary of metrics and comparisons to our aspiration group, Duke, Harvard, University of Wisconsin, Michigan State University and New York University, as well as some national data.


Site Visit Reports

These give a concrete picture of the situation of international activities at Duke, University of Wisconsin and Michigan State.

SCOLA Report

This is a brief report about the international news programming that was halted two years ago and should be restored. It is a good example of an international issue that currently falls through the cracks.

Task group reports

These are in their second revision. They are considerably more detailed than the summary. The report of task group #5 is particularly eloquent on the need for a vice provost for international activities.

Aspiration group metrics

Here some basic information and numbers are collected for UVA and the aspiration group.

National Data

Two tables that provide rankings of universities by proportions of foreign students and scholars


International Activities Planning Commission


Table of Contents


5 Executed Summary

Summary of Commission Recommendations

9 General

11 Task group #1: UVA students and faculty abroad

12 Task group #2: Internationalizing the curriculum

14 Task group #3: International students and scholars

15 Task group #4: Institutional liaisons

Task group #5: Appropriate organization of international activities

19 Conclusion

21 International Activities at University of Virginia in Comparative Perspective


5 Task Group reports

5 Task group #1: UVA students and faculty abroad

7 Task group #2: Internationalizing the curriculum

11 Task group #3: International students and scholars

15 Task group #4: Institutional liaisons

23 Task group #5: Appropriate organization of international activities

31 SCOLA Report

33 National Statistics

33 Foreign students by university 1997-8

34 Foreign scholar enrollment by institution 1997-98

35 Site Visit Reports

35 Duke

39 University of Wisconsin

43 Michigan State University

47 Aspiration group metrics, by task group

47 Task group #1: UVA students and faculty abroad

50 Task group #2: Internationalizing the curriculum

56 Task group #3: International students and scholars

59 Task group #4: Institutional liaisons


Executed Summary:

A Tale of Two Students in 2020

The following is a fictional—or perhaps prophetic—account of the lives of two students at the University of Virginia in 2020 and how their lives might be affected by the recommendations of the International Activities Planning Commission if they are implemented. The items in italics do not presently exist at the University of Virginia, but they are contained in the Commission’s recommendations and in most cases they already exist at other universities. Of course, not all recommendations are visible in the everyday lives of students, but infrastructural, budgetary and leadership changes behind the scenes make possible the visible changes.

Andy Davis is an undergraduate student from Norfolk. He has taken many years of Spanish before college, but is interested in taking something more exotic, perhaps Vietnamese or Korean. One of the reasons he is attracted to UVA is the international dimension of the undergraduate curriculum and of college life, which he has learned about from the UVA Website and from admissions materials. He has signed up to live in Casa Bolivar in the Language Quarter for his first year.

Although Andy does not end up taking any formal language courses his first year, he gets considerable exposure and language practice in Casa Bolivar, and also takes a USEM in Spanish on the ethics of neo-colonialism from the still-spry Tico Braun in the History Department, a course made possible by the Languages across the Curriculum project. Moreover, in the Fall he takes a 5-session, non-credit, informal course, "Introducing Vietnam—Gioi thieu Viet Nam," taught by a physics graduate student from Vietnam. The course is part of a wide variety of short courses offered by the "Speaking Freely" program run by the Center for Language. Students enjoy taking the courses because they aren’t under the same pressures that exist in a full-scale language sequence and they can try different languages before making a commitment. In the spring, he takes a similar course called "Eating Italian—Mangiamo italiano!," which centers on food, cooking, menus and dinner etiquette in Italy, taught by an Italian chef. That summer he takes a three-week course called "Early Renaissance City-States in Northern Italy" from the indefatigable Duane Osheim in the History Department. The course is taught on location, the cost is the same as any 3-credit course (plus air fare), and Andy can use his financial aid.

Second year Andy takes intensive Italian although he has decided to become a math major. He stays in Casa Bolivar, but he takes advantage of the Italian programming available a few steps away in the Language Quarter. Even closer, he watches Italian television on the international SCOLA television channels that are available throughout Charlottesville. He is familiar with the SCOLA programs because his parents used to watch the Spanish programs when they attended Norfolk State University twenty years earlier. During the year his interests tend away from math and toward pre-med, so he takes biology summer courses using student loans.

Third year Andy is in a dilemma. He would like to go to Italy on the UVA study abroad program at the University of Bologna. But he cannot afford a semester away from his pre-med program. No problem, says someone at the fully-staffed study abroad center in the International Studies Office. Take organic chemistry at the University of Bologna in Italian! It is well taught there, it is the chemistry that is difficult, not the language, and several of the professors have been to UVA and could help out. Since we have a comprehensive institutional arrangement with UB, the credits will transfer automatically. So Andy goes off to Bologna Spring semester. He then spends the first half of the summer travelling around Europe and the second half recuperating.

Fourth year Andy moves to the International Living and Learning Center, where he organizes a tarantella dance club. He also meets his future wife Suzie. She is the only person he knows who stayed in Charlottesville for all four years, but then her parents are diplomats and she has never lived anywhere for four years before, so that is her adventure. She speaks Spanish and Chinese from previous lives, is a nursing student, and has been a mainstay of the lively programming at the International Living and Learning Center.

Andy applies for two fifth-year programs at UVA. One is the Fifth Year Scholar Abroad Program. Students submit one-year research proposals to a committee of the University’s International Activities Committee, and ten scholarships are awarded to the best feasible proposals. The other is the Health Sciences Fifth Year Honors Program in Mexico. This is a regular program for fifteen UVA students who live in a house owned by UVA outside of Mexico City and provide health services under the supervision of resident staff. Another site is the Richard Guerrant Center in Brazil, named after the Nobelist who discovered the cure for diarrhea (Guerrant is still a frisky participant in the program). Both Andy and Suzie get accepted by the Mexico program, so of course they go there. Their international credentials help them get into graduate programs, and they become successful and rich, and give generously to the Alumni Association’s international initiatives, especially the intern and externship programs.

Sharon Shanliang Guo is graduating from the American studies program at Jilin University in China, the top student at the best comprehensive university in Northeast China. She wants to go to UVA Law School. She already knows quite a bit about UVA, because two of her teachers spent a year at the International Institute of American Studies, and many of her English teachers have been to the Summer Institute of American Studies for advanced training. Moreover, she has watched many lectures and even courses from UVA on Virginia Academic Vision, UVA’s pioneering Internet programming and archiving station. From where she is, UVA appears to be both the best and the most internationally accessible American university.

Sharon’s English is good enough so that she does not have to take the summer program in legal English, but she finds the pace of dialog in law school classes disconcerting. She signs up for tutorials on advanced listening skills and also a non-credit seminar on American interpersonal culture at the Casteen International English Center, named after the longest-serving—and still serving-- president in UVA’s history. This program is world-famous for its research and teaching in advanced English as a Second Language and related cultural programs. Sharon works off her time at the Casteen Center by leading a Speaking Freely class on Chinese martial arts.

Sharon arranged her housing beforehand, choosing from a number of options available through the Housing Office. She decided to live in a small graduate house with a mixture of Chinese students and American students interested in China in the neighborhood of the International Living and Learning Center and associated with its programs.

Besides her law school classes, Sharon takes courses associated with the International Institute of American Studies concerning the role of common law in America compared with organic law in other cultures. Indeed, some of the courses in her Global Law curriculum are cross-listed at the Institute.

When Sharon goes back to China, she will have learned much more about America and will have had a much more pleasant experience doing it than if UVA were less international. As an alumna, she will be part of a living cultural bridge between the United States and China, something as necessary in twenty years as it is now.


International Activities Planning Commission

Interim Report

December 1999

Summary of Task Group Reports

The University of Virginia International Activities Planning Commission (IC) has been meeting since January to consider the University's immediate and long-term international needs. UVA can and should become a global university of excellence within the next twenty years, and achieving that objective will require major improvements in international capacity and organization.

The IC divided international activities into four concrete task areas and one organizational area and assigned a task group to each area.

Task group #1: UVA students and faculty abroad

Task group #2: Internationalizing the curriculum

Task group #3: International students and scholars

Task group #4: Institutional liaisons

Task group #5: Appropriate organization of international activities

The first four task groups have proposed suggestions for the long-term, medium-term and short-term agenda. Moreover, the IC has been an active participant in several major on-going projects, including the proposal for an International Living and Learning Center, review of English as a Second Language, and the development of a Language Quarter in the vicinity of the French and Spanish houses on JPA.

The most important proposal for immediate action calls for the establishment of a Vice-Provost for International Activities to coordinate and encourage all of the University's international activities. The purpose would not be to create central control for international activities because they are necessarily diverse and diffused throughout the University. But international activities have been left at the periphery, with little recognition of their importance to the University's general mission and quality. A Vice-Provost for International Activities in conjunction with an Advisory Council on International Activities could provide incentives and start-up funding for international initiatives, coordinate university-wide activities, and organize efforts for funding and development.

The list below suggest a basic recommendation and a breakthrough recommendation for each of the four substantive task groups. The basic recommendations are essential steps toward making UVA a global university of excellence. Without significant progress in these areas, our disabilities in the international dimension will continue to constrain our accomplishments in other areas. The breakthrough recommendations identify important initiatives that, if taken, would rapidly create a situation of prominence and competitive advantage for UVA. If the breakthrough recommendations are implemented, then international activities will help lead the University’s qualitative leap forward. It should be remembered, though, that international activities are by their nature diffuse. A glance at the detailed list of proposals will show that they do not easily boil down to one or two objectives or themes.

Major recommendations:

Task group #1: UVA students and faculty abroad

Basic: 80 percent of undergraduates involved in study abroad by 2020.

Breakthrough: Development of fifth-year abroad programs that do not break the rhythm of the Lawn experience but add a major international experience integrated with disciplinary training and career objectives.

Task group #2: Internationalizing the curriculum

Basic: Globalize teaching capacity: adequate faculty resources (we can’t teach what we don’t know), flexible language programming and technology appropriate to the new century.

Breakthrough: Initiatives that integrate international aspects of academic life with the rest of University people and activities. Examples include the International Living and Learning Center, programs for returning 3rd year study abroad students, and contingent incentives for international scholars and grad students to share their experiences.

Task group #3: International students and scholars

Basic: Transformation of International Studies Office and accommodations into pleasant centerpieces of UVA’s global reciprocity.

Breakthrough: Development of an English as a Second Language program that focuses on advanced language training rather than minimum skills.

Task group #4: Institutional liaisons

Basic: Systematic worldwide development of institutional relationships

Breakthrough: An International Institute of American Studies.

Task group #5: Appropriate organization of intl activities

Creation of an Associate Provost for International Activities

The achievements of other universities and the response of the UVA community to the IC's activities convinces us that international activities here could be transformed from a relatively backward aspect of the University to an interactive global dimension of the University's excellence. For this to happen, however, the energy and focus on international activities that has begun with the International Commission and the Virginia 2020 Project must continue, and this requires continuing leadership.

More Details

An interim report is more an amniocentesis than a sneak preview of the final report. At this point many of our ideas are present in embryo but are not fully formed or articulated.

The task groups were asked to present their interim findings in three time-frames: 2020, mid-range, and what should be done now. Because no one knows what conditions will exist in 2020 and much can happen in 20 years, our long-term plans converge with our idea of University of Virginia as a global university of excellence. Mid-term is defined by two criteria: objectives that must be gradually cumulative over time, and objectives that require significant external funding. What to do now is the category of present concerns and opportunities. Clearly much work remains to be done on prioritization, costing out, and other practical problems, and we invite your assistance. This summary is based on the task group reports, but also involves some prioritizations and ideas that are the personal judgments of the chair.

Task group #1: UVA students and faculty abroad


80 percent involvement of undergraduates in study abroad programs. The objective is to have study abroad become a normal and integrated part of the undergraduate experience. Cost of participation should be comparable to on-grounds costs, and regular financial aid as well as specific scholarships should be available.

Provision of full spectrums of study abroad opportunities. The horizonal dimension would be a broad choice of UVA programs throughout the world, addressing a variety of disciplinary interests. The vertical dimension would be programs of various lengths, from a few weeks to a full year, and involving all levels of language commitment. Options would range from faculty-led summer 3-credit programs lasting a few weeks to special fifth-year programs (described below) for honors work.

Facilitation of faculty research and teaching abroad. Without faculty engagement abroad, UVA cannot become a global university.

Mid-range tasks

Things that take time

Development and execution of appropriate mid-range goals for expansion of study abroad. The four parameters would be: percentage of students in study abroad programs; percentage of students in long-term programs; number and variety of UVA programs; number and variety of programs open to UVA students.

Development of a fifth-year practicum program for health science students, probably in Mexico, that would provide professional training as well as language and cultural training.

Integration of university study abroad with career counseling and alumnae activities. Utilize the Alumni Association to develop international internships and externships.


Things that take money

An incentive fund and staff support for the development and management of study abroad programs. Programs should be based on well-supported faculty initiatives.

Funding to facilitate faculty and graduate student participation in international conferences and research. For instance, 50% of international travel expenses at Michigan State University are paid from a central fund.

A competitive scholarship program for fifth-year international research modeled on the junior Fulbright program.

What to do now

Improve the funding and staffing situation of ISO's study abroad capacity so that it can engage in strategic planning and program development.

Utilize the integrated systems project (ISE) for a redesign and a monthly update of the UVA ISO web site. More specifically, develop a Web site to include information on approved international programs, effects of international work on faculty benefit packages, tax implications, and information regarding funding opportunities. University of Wisconsin can be used as a model for the latter task.

Restructure summer session to remove barriers to international study and program development, allowing programs to become self sufficient and allowing students to pay for summer session with financial aid.

Initiate review of how the tenure process could be adjusted to remove disincentives for research abroad by junior faculty.

Task group #2: Internationalizing the curriculum


Creation of a comprehensive system of area centers. Area centers, like the South Asia Center and East Asia Center, provide a regional focus for interdisciplinary faculty and student contact, and they welcome and sponsor students and scholars from the region. Area centers provide an intelligent and interested interface between the University and the world. They also structure and encourage critical masses of regional expertise that can be available to the rest of the University.

Availability of faculty expertise and undergraduate and graduate courses about the history, politics and cultures of all regions of the world and of major countries.

Creation of a University-wide center for the encouragement and utilization of foreign languages across the curriculum. The center would encourage the integration of language competence with the non-language curriculum.

Expansion of foreign language offerings to the variety and the depth that students demand. It should be recognized that language departments serve University-wide interests, and that language instruction requires small classes and educational technology.

Creation of a variety of residential learning environments that are international in focus, such as the International Living and Learning Center and the Foreign Language Quarter, and integration of these environments with other residential programs and with the University's international activities and programs.

Technologies to the World. Expansion of international research and teaching initiatives that use technology to join once remote parts of the world in projects of mutual benefit to partners.

Integration of global education with high school curricula and with language availability in primary schools.


Things that take time

Area centers should be organized for regions for which sufficient expertise already exists to form a critical mass. An example would be Euopean Studies.

Redefine the Foreign Language Requirement as a gateway to study abroad and as a gateway to more interesting and useful language work. The Requirement provides an extended introduction to a language, but not competence or fluency in it. We must create incentives and attractive paths beyond the first two years.

Create advanced seminars modeled on the USEMs for students returning from 3rd year abroad programs that allow them to utilize and apply their knowledge and experiences.

Reorganization of technology infrastructure to support international objectives. This effort should be closely linked to offices or individuals actively involved in academic research and curricular development, as well as to those charged with overseeing and coordinating international activities.

Creation of an International Studies Honors program or certificate that would involve a yearlong international research project.

Review and enhancement of the effectiveness of all levels of language teaching, including summer programs.

Strengthening and coordinating the language-specific houses on grounds within a "Foreign Language Quarter" off JPA.

Students need to be involved with international study beginning in the First Year, perhaps through orientation materials and a program of activities particularly designed for them throughout the First Year Experience in cooperation with first-year dorms. They should have an "International Experience" by October of the first year. (i.e. invitation to dinner or a movie at one of the language houses, the Center for International Living and Learning, The International Center, etc).


Things that take money

Identify gaps in our area regional studies offerings and develop plans to remedy these situations. For instance, coverage of Southeast Asia is extremely weak.

Strengthen area centers that might be able to qualify for Title Six National Resource Center status. For example, help the Russian and Slavic Center regain that status, and consider what steps could be taken to raise the Middle East program to competitive levels.

Raise the level of budgetary support for foreign language departments to the level of other departments in Arts & Sciences, perhaps with contributions from other schools.

Support fund-raising and grant-writing by faculty and centers for international activities.

Support interdisciplinary teaching initiatives that utilize students' knowledge of foreign languages.

Fund cluster hirings: new interdisciplinary faculty positions on the University of Wisconsin model.

Organize and fund non-credit, informal language and culture short courses on the model of "Speaking Freely" at New York University.

Things to do now

Develop the International Living and Learning Center into a major locus of international programming and activity.

Restore the SCOLA program of international news on grounds, and work with Adelphia to make international programming available throughout Charlottesville.

Improve the general international orientation of UVA's web-based information.

Expand the COS faculty database to include all faculty and to include international activities.


Task group #3: International students and scholars


Transformation of the International Studies Office into the central office and visible symbol of the University's commitment to international studies. This must be both a spatial and an administrative transformation of the ISO and its functions.

Creation of a program for international visiting scholars, both short-term and long-term, with appropriate living arrangements and integration into the University community. Such a program could include regular visitors, thereby creating ongoing relationships with international scholars.

Creation of a first-rate program in advanced English as a Second Language (ESL) that would operate workshops in the summer as well as during the academic year.

Development of an international quarter in the area of the International Living and Learning Center, the proposed residential college on Sprigg Lane, by moving the International Studies Office and certain of the international programs into the area. This would then be a natural focus for programming that could involve students, faculty and visitors with academic and cultural interests in International Studies.

Mid-range goals

Things that take time

As services for international students and scholars become coordinated, efforts should be made to encourage interaction with the University's programming and curriculum. The area centers could play a major role in this.

The University needs to investigate our present supervisory, programming, and support services provided through the ISO. Compared to peer institutions we have a modest staff and a tiny budget. Our ISO often seems an adversary (or so some students tell us) since their primary function often seems to be to deal with visa and residence issues. This is, of course, unfair, but it suggests that we need to reorganize our services.

Things that take money

ESL needs to be recreated so that its capacities are adequate to the University's needs. These needs include some general remedial work, but more importantly program-specific training, for instance of technical interns in the Medical School, and advanced ESL for persons seeking to improve their English beyond standards of adequacy. This last task could become an area of special focus and achievement for UVA's ESL program.

Attractive housing dedicated for the use of international scholars and located in the International Quarter should be developed.

Things to do now

The University must immediately increase the budget of the ISO. At critical times, for example when processing visas or during admissions when students desperately need to contact the ISO, a shortage of people and operating budget restricts the ability of the staff to respond to requests or to send materials by express mail. We have heard specific complaints of international phone calls not being returned because the telephone budget cannot cover the expense. The result is that the University seems unresponsive and uncaring about international students with urgent needs and no one else to turn to.

As the staffing of ISO is expanded, attention will have to be paid to space problems.

Clarify and simplify procedures for hosting international scholars. The University's cumbersome financial and residential arrangements for hosting international scholars often deter international initiatives, particularly those involving scholars from developing countries.


Task group #4: Institutional liaisons


Development of an infrastructural capacity that is adequate to encourage and sustain flexible academic relationships with appropriate institutions and programs abroad.

The establishment of a select number of comprehensive institutional relationships with outstanding world universities, with due consideration given to the geographic distribution of such relationships. These would provide the university with an institutional pied a terre throughout the world, encourage a fluid set of more specific relationships among academic programs, and lower the costs of doing academic business abroad.

Development of an appropriate international structure for UVA's strengths in American Studies. Details below.

The recent agreement between MIT and Cambridge University to merge a number of their science programs into what constitutes in effect a single academic enterprise appears to represent the cutting edge of the internationalization of the university. Systematic thought should be given to the issue of how such an internationalization with peer universities (and/or peer programs) would best advance the mission of the university in a rapidly changing intellectual culture worldwide.


Things that take time

A network of academic linkages that integrates what goes on intramurally--across as much of the university as possible--with every major world region. This will have to build upon existing ties and linkages that can be established and/or broadened. Ideally, we should want to see a program along the lines of our Valencia, Spain program (although almost certainly not as vast, i.e., 360 students per year) in every major world region.

After appropriate University-level leadership in international activities is established, Departments and Professional Schools should be asked to undertake a study--on the model of the self-study process--and issue a report on their interests with respect to developing overseas institutional partnerships.

Things that take money

Establish an International Institute of American Studies (IIAS). Blessings of history, current strengths and location converge to make American Studies UVA's area of greatest international competitive advantage. The IIAS would approach the study of America not only from an interdisciplinary perspective, but also from a global perspective. It would not simply be a place for Americans to interpret America for fellow Americans, with others looking on, but instead would provide the forum and locus for global interpretations of America for as broad an audience as possible. The Institute should be founded in consultation with international programs in American Studies around the world, and should remain a venue of international consultation and coordination. This omnibus institute would be fruitfully associated with, and draw upon the successful experience of, the existing program in American Studies, the Miller Center, and the International Institute for Jefferson Studies, as well as individual schools and departments. This should go far toward establishing U.Va as a world university. No one who wishes to contribute to American Studies could afford to ignore what is happening here. The ensuing synergy would create a significant "import benefit" for the University, as Americanists from around the world would be enriching the intellectual life of the University in novel and mutually reinforcing ways.

Things to do now

Begin exploration of specific countries or regions where program innovation appears especially promising. Examples would include France and Japan.

Design a pilot Summer International Institute of American Studies. This could be targeted at university-level teachers in English and American Studies at foreign universities, and could include, besides American Studies seminars, advanced ESL master classes, field trips, and guest lectures.

Establish guidelines for the development of international liaisons, including such issues as exchanges and property acquisition, on the model of the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University guidelines.


Task group #5:

Appropriate organization of international activities

The recommendation of task group #5 does not easily fit categories of short-, medium- and long-term. The major recommendation of their eloquent report is the immediate establishment of the office of Vice Provost for International Affairs. This recommendation can be broken down into several essential components.

The Vice Provost. The major reason for establishing the office would be to provide strong, University-wide leadership for the continuing development of the global dimension of the University. The leadership task would be on the one hand to coordinate and encourage the international activities spread throughout the University, and on the other hand to represent the interests and mission of international activities to the central administration, alumni, and foundations.

Advisory Council on International Activities. Since international activities at UVA and at the leading international universities are faculty-driven, and since successful leadership in this area requires communication and coordination across the University, there should be an Advisory Council on International Activities chaired by the Vice Provost and drawn from all schools and area centers. The Council should meet regularly and serve as an official review and sounding-board for international activities.

Incentive budget. All of the successful programs that we have studied, and especially Duke, which is in a situation most comparable to our own, have large incentive budgets for time-limited investments in program innovation. It can be expected that most of the international activities begun by the Vice Provost will either become self-sustaining (as in the case of successful study abroad programs) or become part of the regular budgets of schools (as in the case of incentive contributions to new lines). In some cases, incentive funding may be necessary in order to qualify a program for Title Six or other federal funding. It can be expected that the Vice Provost would grant and supervise a rolling program of incentive funding as most old programs stand on their own and new ideas are helped along. If the incentive budget (ie, not inlcuding operating costs) is comparable to Duke's $500,000/yr, then we should expect a comparable rate of progress.

Quality senior professional staff. Especially at University of Wisconsin, it was evident that the senior staff in the International Institute, Study Abroad, and International Services was key to the quality of the core program and services. Of course, as emphasized elsewhere in this report, these services, currently combined in the International Studies Office, need to have sufficient capacity so that they can do more than simply run ahead of a brushfire of small crises.

Staff of the Vice Provost's Office. The Vice Provost does not have to run all of the University’s international activities but he or she has to lead them. So the office staff needs to be sufficient to support leadership. The staff should include an executive assistant, a capable office assistant and a development officer.

International Acitivities needs endowment support, and in turn it can generate targets of opportunity not only for new development inititiatives but also for new donors. A vigorous development effort in international activities, supporting significant projects like those described in this report, could attract globally-minded donors of all sorts, including but not limited to international alumni. An immediate endowment target of $20 million is not unreasonable.

A comprehensive International Institute. The International Institute could coordinate ongoing programs and create synergies and efficiencies by performing useful common tasks for the area centers and other international programs. It would be ideal to bring the centers together in a common physical location, as most of our aspiration group has already done.



Although its efforts are unfinished and more input from the entire University community is welcome, the International Commission has worked hard to bring together these recommendations.

We have had both positive and negative inspirations for our work. On the positive side, since each of us is personally involved in international activities, we know that the University of Virginia has the capacity for rapid globalization if it so chooses. There is no genetic defect that separates us from our aspiration group, only leadership, resource commitment and hard work. On the negative side, each of us has worked hard on the Commission because our own international activities are chronically and sometimes acutely frustrated by the University’s inattention. We work on the fringe of the University’s consciousness, leadership, structures, and resources, and that fringe is known as the world. We pray for a Copernican revolution in Charlottesville.

At present, the University is engaged in a heartening amount of international activities. The creation of the Commission, our conference earlier this semester, the International Residential College, the discussion of a Foreign Language Quarter, all have contributed to a sense of dynamism and optimism concerning the University’s future as a center of global excellence.

However, if basic changes are not made this year in the University’s view of itself then a historic opportunity will be lost. The International Commission has been asked to contribute an international dimension to the University’s vision of itself in 2020. Here it is, in embryo. If the response is, "Not now…," then the question is not "Then when?" because a very unusual opportunity for change would have been deflected and lost. Presidents do not often ask for extraordinary planning efforts from the entire academic community, nor does the community often respond in such a whole-hearted and optimistic way. The question should be, "Why not?" We sincerely hope that that question will not have to be asked. Let us together move on to "How?" and "What next?"

International Activities at University of Virginia

In Comparative Perspective



The International Commission has attempted to put the situation of UVA’s international activities in comparative perspective by utilizing the existing national statistics, developing metrics from six universities that are clear leaders in various aspects of international activities, and by site visits, especially to Duke, University of Wisconsin, and Michigan State University. Several facts emerge clearly from these comparisons.

First, UVA is not currently a leader in any aspect of international activities, but it does have a respectable level of international involvement. We rank 37th in percentage of foreign scholars, a category that tracks very closely with overall academic reputation. We rank 66th in percentage of foreign students (including graduate students). Comparable numbers are hard to come by for study abroad, but our 17% of cohort in study abroad appears to be above University of Wisconsin, though well below Michigan State University and Duke. This is the good news. Next comes two vital items of bad news.

Second, it was clear on every site visit—and even from a brief comparison of web pages—that the world is a part of many American universities to an extent not dreamed of at UVA. International activities is part of their core identity and leadership. Not only is there a senior officer of the university in charge, but the encouragement of international activities is a central goal of the institution, the president and provost are directly involved, and coordination reaches throughout the university. UVA appears to be fifty years behind its aspiration group, though as the turnaround at Duke demonstrates the gap may be only ten years if a concentrated and well-led effort is made.

Third, our staffing in essential services for international activities is not only woefully inadequate, as we know from our internal study, but it is also ridiculously small compared to seriously internationalized universities. Large and efficient study abroad programs have a staff:student abroad ratio of roughly between 1:50 and 1:100. Our ratio is 1:600. To achieve the ratio of University of Wisconsin (1:58) we would have to increase our study abroad staff by 934 percent, or 9 1/3 people. In services to international students and scholars, most importantly visa services, both Wisconsin and Michigan State have a staff:client ratio of 1:300. Ours is 1:659. To achieve a ratio of 300 we would have to increase our staff in this area by 120 percent, or 3 persons. Moreover, the larger staffs in our aspiration groups can be more specialized and efficient than a small staff, so a comparison of ratios actually understates the increased load at International Studies Office. These two comparisons get to the heart of our history of neglect in this area and our staff shortage, but they do not touch on the absence of incentive funds for new program development, advertising, etc., etc., that characterize successful programs. If we are not to trip over our institutional shoelaces, we must think beyond percentage increases in ISO’s budget to reinvention at a higher level.

These three factors together can be combined into a challenge. Our current level of international activities demonstrates that we have the underlying capacity to be a global university. If we can achieve our current activity level under our current conditions, we can expect rapid responsiveness and growth if we provide leadership and the necessary resources. In both leadership and resources, however, a quantum leap must be made in order to keep in the race for global excellence.


Comparative Analysis by data category


The best-known national data on international activities is from the annual series Open Doors published by the Institute of International Education. Unfortunately for our purposes, there isn’t much institutional data. Moreover, the data is gathered through self-reporting, and we know from our in-depth studies that there are wide variations in reporting.

Foreign Students by University 97-98

In this category UVA ranks 66 with 4.7%, right behind Old Dominion University at 65 with 4.9%, and well behind Virginia Tech at 51 with 6.5%. There are several factors underlying these rankings. For Division I research universities, the high rates of international enrollments in graduate programs, especially in the sciences, boosts the overall percentage. For some colleges and junior colleges in big cities, for instance NOVA (43rd, 7.2%) and GWU (15th, 12.7%) large local populations of international students provide the numbers.

While UVA is not interested in increasing the percentage of international students simply to expand its student body, its current ranking should cause us to reflect on whether our international recruitment and on-grounds services are adequate and attractive.

Foreign scholar enrollment by institution, 1997/98

It is not surprising that the presence of international scholars tracks closely with overall academic reputation. After all, international scholars are attracted to places at the cutting edges of their disciplines, and that is the core of academic prestige. Of course, reputation isn’t everything. International scholars have to be invited, they have to be housed, and they need visas, to mention only the most basic needs. Institutions that facilitate international contact do better, those that inhibit it through inadequate services do worse. If we control for size of institution by dividing the number of foreign scholars by the total student body, UVA ranks 37th, the rankings of our aspiration group are: Harvard 2nd, Wisconsin 29th, Duke 34th, Michigan State University 51st, NYU 58th. I suspect a data problem with NYU.

Aspiration Group Metrics

There are many universities that are clearly ahead of the University of Virginia in international activities, and yet, as the metrics of even this distinguished set of universities makes clear, progress is uneven. Apparently Harvard has not given serious thought to study abroad, and UVA already has a higher percentage of students abroad than Wisconsin, though not in semester-length programs.

The members of our aspiration group were each chosen for strengths and characteristics that we would like to emulate.

Duke not only has a large percentage of study abroad participants, but it completed a process of self-examination, reorganization and takeoff in 1995. Duke’s impressive successes show that what we are doing can work, and it provides strong hints about what is required for success.

Harvard is a useful model in two respects. First, it has extensive experience with the coexistence of numerous, self-funded international centers and programs, a problem we wish we had and that we might have in the future. Second, it demonstrates that internationalization is not simply a process of going out to the world, but of being attractive to the world. Initiatives like the International Institute of American Studies could put us in a Harvardian position of international prominence and attractiveness.

Michigan State University is a state university that made internationalization part of its identity in 1956 and has especially developed a broad study abroad program over the past five years. It is useful as an example of the supporting infrastructure required by successful internationalization and also of new prospects in study abroad.

University of Wisconsin covers the world perhaps more comprehensively than any other state university. A contributing factor has been strong, effective central leadership for the past ten years. Unlike Harvard, its programs are coordinated and successfully based on federal and state funding.

New York University certainly exists in an urban environment that is not quite Charlottesville, but its exciting innovations in international programming could be adapted to our situation. Two that deserve particular attention are "Speaking Freely," an extensive program of informal, non-credit, free language courses, and the global law program.

The metrics reported for Duke, Harvard, Michigan State University, Wisconsin, and New York University are gathered from web sites and publications, corrected in some cases by site visits. Data compatibility and completeness was a problem, but the information from the aspiration group was much easier to collect remotely than UVA’s data would have been.

1: Students and faculty abroad

UVA’s percentage of students abroad (17%) appears impressive, but a large number of our students are summer students in Valencia, while Michigan restricts its study abroad programs to 3rd year semester-length programs. Michigan State is more comparable, and it currently has 23% and is aiming at 40% by 2005. Incidentally, the standard formula for calculating percentage of study abroad is students abroad divided by current graduating class.

The site visit to Michigan State was particularly instructive. MSU has concentrated on expanding its study abroad programs, and they have expanded by 74% since 1994, compared to UVA’s 44% in the same period. Each of the 13 schools sponsors at least one program, and Arts & Letters sponsors 34, for a total of 146 programs. The success of Michigan State is particularly impressive since their in-state competition for internationally-oriented students includes the redoubtable University of Michigan, which is comparable to Wisconsin in the comprehensiveness of its international programs.

All programs visited had vastly more staff and resources in study abroad than UVA’s one heroic person. Duke has six, Wisconsin eleven, and Michigan State 16.5. The next step cannot be something more for the existing staff to do, but rather more staff and ancillary resources.

UVA’s Valencia program, which accounts for more that half of our students abroad, shows our potential for expansion. And indeed expansion has already occurred. In 1980 there were only 160 students abroad; now there are over 600. If the same percentage increase holds for the next twenty years, that is, until 2020, then study abroad would have 2,250 participants, or 64% of cohort. By expanding the variety of programs as well as our capacity to initiate programs, we think we can do better than that.

Internationalizing the curriculum

The overwhelming impression of metrics regarding internationalizing the curriculum is that the aspiration group is far ahead in area centers, language programs and related faculty and resources. Central resources and support have led to more comprehensive international coverage at the other universities, and this has in turn led to more federal support. Harvard disdains federal support, but has more than sufficient private support.

University of Wisconsin was the most impressive of the site visits in this regard. Their area centers are comprehensive in their coverage of the world and bring in faculty from across the university. Their most striking recent innovation has been "cluster hiring," in which 150 new faculty lines have been allocated to proposals by interdisciplinary clusters of faculty who then handle the recruitment. This not only brings in new faculty with an interdisciplinary and often international interest, but it creates an incentive for faculty to cooperate across disciplines.

Another very impressive innovation from outside our aspiration group is Rice University’s Center for the Study of Languages, described by its director, Regina Kecht, at our conference, Universalizing the University, in October. Her center’s mission is the integration of language study with the rest of the curriculum.

3. International students and scholars

This is an area in which the difference between UVA and the aspiration group is not so much in the numbers but in the institutional capacity to handle the needs of international visitors. As the numbers quoted in the summary indicate, UVA has a staff:client ratio of 1:659; the programs at Wisconsin and Michigan State have ratios of 1:300, and Duke has a ratio of 1:133.

At the risk of some stereotyping, there seemed to be a distinct difference in focus and style between Wisconsin and Michigan State. Wisconsin’s approach to handling international students and scholars is to provide as much information as possible on the web and in group meetings, and to reduce one-on-one contact time in which each client was asking the same questions and hearing the same answers. By contrast, Michigan State had a much more human relations approach, making sure that each student and scholar was met at the airport and serving as a major point of reference for life in Lansing.

4. International liaisons

This proved to be a difficult category to deal with in general or numeric terms, in part because the information is internal, and in part because of the great variety of possible liaisons. In this area the site visits were much more useful. It is clear that Wisconsin and Michigan State are leaders in this area, although other schools (Minnesota and Maryland, for example) also have extensive programs.

Generally speaking, the program leadership we interviewed avoided property ownership and developed program-specific liaisons rather than general institutional relationships. On the question of property ownership, they had very good reservations about the precommitment to overhead that property involves. On the question of comprehensive relations, however, it seemed that they had simply not tried this approach.

Appropriate organization

Quantitative metrics are at their least advantage on institutional matters, and this is demonstrated by the case at hand. Duke has a vice provost for international affairs, while Wisconsin and Michigan State (and Cornell) have deans. However, they are all university-level officials, all three officials report directly and frequently to the provost and president and do not have extensive faculty lines under their exclusive administration. The answer to the question of why a dean and not a vice provost was the same at Wisconsin and Michigan State: they didn’t have vice-provosts when the office was created. Indeed, at Michigan State in the 1950s there was no provost.

Both University of Wisconsin and Michigan State have extensive all-university advisory structures. Wisconsin has three, which is apparently at least one too many. However, since the leadership’s function is to encourage and coordinate rather than to centralize, such faculty councils are vital communication links.

The leadership at Duke, Wisconsin and Michigan State each emphasized the importance of strong and sustained support from the president and provost. Clearly they were expected to be major engines of innovation, and they were given the backing and the incentive budgets to succeed. And they have succeeded. Moreover, it was evident to the interviewers that these deans and vice provost were unusually capable leaders, strong-minded and yet able to induce cooperation across institutional lines.

Incentive budgets were an important feature of all discussions. Since the mission of the office is to encourage programs rather than to run them, a major part of their budget is venture capital for programs that, if successful, will be self-sustaining.

The quality of senior executive staff was another characteristic of successful programs. They are qualified, well paid, and they run their programs with little routine oversight from the top leadership.


The metric/aspiration group approach has added a vital dimension to the International Commission’s understanding of what can be done for international activities. Like visiting a foreign country, the site visits raised horizons and provided living proof that the context of international activities at the University of Virginia could be vastly different from its current situation.


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