8 March, 2000
Thoughts on the International Activities Committee
In general: The International Activities Planning Commission clearly
needs a successor next year, and its major task will be to begin implementation. Therefore
the arrangements for 2000-2001 should provide a framework that can be continued as
international activities are increased and transformed. We suggest an International
Activities Committee that meets regularly and advises its ex officio chair, the University
officer responsible for international activities.
From planning to execution: The relatively informal origins and
structure of the International Activities Planning Commission have served well the general
task of planning a new dimension, or at least a new framing, of University activity.
Recruitment was done on the basis of the quality of the candidates, their
representativeness across the University, and their representativeness across geographical
areas, but there was not a formal process of nomination or of ex officio membership.
Members and tasks were parced out to task groups, which had distinct areas of
responsibility although there was much overlapping in content. The chair was extremely
busy, but more from behind rather than from the top. What needed to be made were plans
rather than decisions, so the chair had the job of encouraging the task groups,
integrating the recommendations, and representing the Commission to the outside.
The tasks of the International Activities Committee will be similar in content in that
international activities will be the focus of attention, but emphasis will shift from
planning to implementation. A strong chair with a representative committee will still be
needed, but structure and recruitment must shift from ad hoc committee to standing
committee, and its business will be encouraging and coordinating specific projects and
areas for development. The chair must have considerable discretion (as at all of our
aspiration institutions) because, in such a diverse area, there would be many decisions
regarding priorities and opportunities that would be fatally encumbered by a weak
chair/strong committee structure. Moreover, the chair must be credible both inside and
outside the University as the leader. However, the responsibility of working with and
reporting to such a committee would, in the background, strengthen the reach and prestige
of international activities.
Committee structure: The two principles of breadth involved in
the selection of the International Activities Planning Commission still hold, but they
should be institutionalized. Here is a concrete suggestion for structure:
Chair: Vice Provost for International Activities 1 1
Arts & Sciences, one language and one science person 2 3
Nominated by dean
Member nominated from each school 8 11
Director, Arts & Sciences Center for Instructional Technology 1 12
Chairs of area centers 4 16
(currently Slavic, S. Asia, E. Asia, Middle East, but others to be
added, with the intent of global area coverage)
More members to complete area representation 3 19
(Europe, Africa, Latin America, more?)
Director, International Studies Office 1 20
Member from development 1 21
Member from ITC 1 22
Chair, International Student Committee 1 23
Undergrad student reps (how chosen?) 2 25
Grad student rep 1 26
Member nominated by Continuing Educ. 1 27
Member nominated by Admissions 1 28
Members nominated by Housing? Student Affairs? 2 30
Head of Intl Residential College 1 31
3 at large appointed by chair 3 34
I do not think that this is too large a group, and I would not want to sacrifice the
institutional reach and international expertise of such a group to the efficiency of a
smaller one. The chair/Vice Provost will provide efficiency.
I think the term of membership for non-ex officio members should be 2 years, with a
fair number of 1 or 3-year terms at the beginning to stagger seniority.
Committee substructure: It should not simply be assumed that the task
group structure and divisions of the International Activities Planning Commission would be
the most appropriate substructure of for the International Activities Committee. Perhaps
there should be a subcommittee covering all the functions of the ISO, one for program
development, one on internationalizing the curriculum, and a grants committee for managing
incentive competitions. Of course the Chair and the Committee will have to decide about
these things; I merely want to raise them as questions so that the Committee does not
automatically adopt a familiar structure that might prove to be inconvenient.
It will probably be a good idea for the Committee to have an executive council that
could meet more frequently. At this point, however, constituting such a council is best
left to the Chair.