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Last modified: Friday, August 17, 2012

IU trustees approve new School of Global and International Studies

Aug. 17, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University today took a major step toward becoming a world leader in global and international studies when the university's board of trustees approved a new interdisciplinary school that will bring together the core of IU's extensive and formidable activities in these areas.

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A new School of Global and International Studies at IU will marshal the university's vast resources in these areas and position the university at the forefront of institutions educating students to confront the world's most critical issues.

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The new School of Global and International Studies will be based in the College of Arts and Sciences and will comprise more than 350 core and affiliated faculty members from across the university. IU's 11 federally funded Title VI area studies centers, which represent the largest number of such centers anywhere in the U.S., also will be associated with the school.

A national search for the school's first leader will begin immediately, and a significant number of new faculty positions will be added to the school over the next few years.

"This is one of the most important developments in the nearly 200 years of IU's history," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "By bringing together into one school the core of IU's extraordinary resources in global and international studies, the university stands poised to join the most outstanding programs in the world in these truly vital areas. This will enable IU to expand still further its highly regarded educational, scholarly and research activities focused on nearly every part of the world.

"There is hardly a part of American society -- business, government, education, research -- that is not affected by global forces and developments," McRobbie added. "The new school positions IU at the forefront of those institutions investigating, analyzing and exploring these forces and developments, and educating students to be leaders concerning them."

A primary aim for the new school will be to expand the opportunities for international education for all students, including greater foreign language proficiencies, better understanding of how societies are developing worldwide and deeper knowledge of globalization. Within five years, the university expects that the School of Global and International Studies will exceed the size and scope of nearly every international studies program in the country.

While many departments and programs at IU already focus on international and area studies, the university does not yet offer a graduate degree in the field. The School of Global and International Studies will develop new bachelor and master of science degrees in global studies and a new master's degree in international studies. Also being planned is a new Ph.D. program in global studies for training the next generation of interdisciplinary experts.

In addition to offerings for traditional in-residence students, the School of Global and International Studies will offer an executive program that includes a new online master's degree in international studies, as well as certificates for mid-career professionals. They will be developed collaboratively with the Kelley School of Business, based on its successful Kelley Direct program.

"The School of Global and International Studies will prepare our students for the competencies of the 21st century, give them the knowledge and tools to understand globalization and its consequences, and enable them to think more deeply about issues that cross national boundaries," McRobbie said.

Lauren Robel, IU executive vice president and provost of the IU Bloomington campus, said the new school will allow the university to fully incorporate the latest scholarship on the changes in the socio-political and economic realities of today's world into the curriculum.

"It is vital that our students have all of the necessary tools to successfully negotiate the corresponding changes in the job markets they will enter," Robel said. "To accomplish the goal of increasing our students' global competencies, the school will draw from a wealth of intellectual assets that include faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences as well as in all of the professional schools on campus. The school will also seek to further invest in and expand upon the faculty research portfolio within the College and schools, which, in turn, will significantly enhance the university's reputation as an academic leader in the area of global studies."

The new School of Global and International Studies will leverage the College of Arts and Sciences' unique combination of social science and humanities faculty with extensive area studies and international expertise, many of whom have remarkable strengths in languages. This strength will be augmented by partnerships with professional schools across campus, noted Larry Singell Jr., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

"The school is poised to offer the first international studies degree specifically designed to operate in a post 9/11 world by offering students opportunities to develop a global perspective based on language and cultural competency," Singell said. "They will acquire the deep knowledge and historical perspective needed to advance well-informed policies that focus on the human experience."

For decades, IU has taught more foreign languages than almost any other American institution of higher education. About 70 languages are taught at IU Bloomington, which is home to federally funded Language Flagship programs in Chinese, Turkish and Swahili, and National Language Resource Centers in African and Central Asian languages.

Nearly 35 departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and research centers that are key to the School of Global and International Studies eventually will be housed together in a new, state-of-the-art building and provide for greater collaboration between them.

"In a real sense, the School of Global and International Studies has been in the making for over half a century. The university, inheriting this longstanding international vision, has made investments over many decades in faculty talent," McRobbie said. "These strategic investments will make IU a natural home for a world-class program that will bring the world to IU and IU to the world, as President Herman B Wells once envisioned."