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George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Friday, July 7, 2006

Record number of IU international centers awarded $16 million in Title VI funding

July 7, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana University today (July 7) announced that a record number of its international research centers have been awarded about $16 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education through its competitive Title VI program.

Directors at nine IU Bloomington research centers have learned that they will receive Title VI funds over the next four years. Those centers join one at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, which was awarded funding last year, to bring the total number of Title VI centers at IU to 10.

Only the University of Wisconsin equals IU in Title VI centers. Both institutions are trailed by the University of Washington, the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University and several Ivy League schools in the number of such centers being awarded. IU officials believe that no other universities have ever had more than 10 Title VI centers.

"It indicates the great strength that we have in the broad international studies area -- clearly the strengths that we've had for decades," said Michael A. McRobbie, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. "The centers really build on the university's investments in the departments. You can't get these centers without actually having top quality language and cultural studies programs. It's a great testament to the directors of these centers, the distinguished faculty members and researchers at the university, and the schools involved."

For more than 40 years, several international centers at IU have received support and national distinction through the initiative established through the Higher Education Act. Patrick O'Meara, dean for international programs, said that IU has adapted strategically as Title VI programs have shifted in scope and purpose over the years, particularly in its use and applications of technology.

For example, IU faculty are effectively using technology to teach courses from Bloomington to students in places as divergent as Thailand, South Africa, Spain and Scandinavia. They have created and placed online teaching materials and dictionaries for less-frequently taught languages of Inner Asia and Africa. "We've got the infrastructure to do this because of what we've established here," O'Meara said.

Seven centers at IU Bloomington were designated as National Resource Centers (NRCs) and will receive funding for programs, faculty research, curriculum development, national conferences and outreach. They also will be able to award more generous graduate fellowships to study any of the more than 50 foreign languages offered at IU.

Those centers are: the African Studies Program, East Asian Studies, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Center for the Study of Global Change, Inner Asia and Uralic Studies, the Russian and East European Institute, and West European Studies.

The Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region has been designated a Language Resource Center. It will receive $328,000 annually to develop language teaching materials, conduct evaluation and testing of materials, implement teacher training and workshops, and establish innovative dissemination programs and publications for the less commonly taught languages in an increasingly strategic area of the world.

The Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) in the Kelley School of Business also received Title VI funding. It will continue to develop innovative directions for international research, teaching and business practices.

O'Meara noted that the funding includes a "crucial" $1,725,000 each year for foreign language and area studies fellowships for graduate students. "This is the life blood of the centers, but it also is providing scholarships to a large number of graduate students," he said, "and it will help them in recruiting the highest quality graduate students."

The IUPUI program "Cross-National Studies For Professional Students: A Collaborative Model" received Title VI funding last year.

"That IU is among the top three universities in the nation receiving Title VI support is further evidence of the outstanding quality of our faculty," said David Zaret, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "The College of Arts and Sciences is the academic home for most of the faculty and programs that support Title VI activities."

Dan Smith, dean of the Kelley School, added, "The Center for International Business Education and Research plays a central role the school's international research and outreach efforts. In the past year alone, CIBER provided research and course development support for more than 20 faculty and doctoral students including several from the university's foreign languages programs.

"CIBER resources also allow us to affect state and regional economies by underwriting conferences that share best practices on international strategy with business and community leaders," Smith said. "Last year CIBER co-sponsored over 15 conferences around the country including two major ones in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis events dealt with how to compete effectively in China, India, Brazil and Russia and were attended by over 500 people."

McRobbie said the university is in the process of establishing an international strategic plan, similar to those created for information technology and the life sciences, which he expects to conclude by year's end.

"The university really is competing in a global marketplace for the very best students and faculty," McRobbie added. "To really be competitive there, we need to be fully engaged internationally, and this gives us about as substantial an engagement as any university has in the country and provides us with a depth of understanding of those other countries that is integral to building a more cohesive, comprehensive strategy as well."

Following are highlights about how the centers will use the Title VI funding:

  • The African Studies Program will continue to offer three levels of instruction in five languages -- Akan/Twi, Arabic, Bamana, Swahili and Zulu -- and will enhance pedagogy through the development of online multimedia instructional materials in them. It will draw upon its growing cluster of faculty with interests in Muslim Africa to add content in current courses and to organize a major conference on this important topic. It plans to develop a Web site offering ideas to instructors, and content to students and the general public about contemporary developments in Muslim Africa.
  • The Center for the Study of Global Change will establish a certificate program in human rights studies and will organize two major international conferences, including one on global port security and another on cybersecurity. It also will hold annual summer teacher institutes for secondary school teachers on global poverty, conflict resolution in deeply divided societies, international trade and economics, and global environmental sustainability. It will draw upon on partnerships with universities in Spain, South Africa and Thailand through the use of new technology.
  • The Center for Latin American and Carribean Studies will continue to support the study and teaching of indigenous languages in Haitian Creole. Title VI funds will be used to establish a Brazilian studies program, which will promote the teaching of Portuguese as well as research on contemporary Brazilian issues. Funds also will be used to support the Latin American Cultural Competency Project.
  • East Asian Studies will use the grant to establish itself and the University of Illinois's Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies as consortial partners in an East Asian NRC. The consortium's signature program is its Science and Technology in the Pacific Century initiative, which will draw on Illinois' strength in agriculture and engineering, and IU's leadership in IT, biotechnology, advanced networking and cybersecurity. The program will explore the S&T frontier in East Asia and its impact on U.S. S&T and business, and on East Asian societies.
  • Inner Asia and Uralic Studies will offer "Advanced Directed Language Study" programs beyond third-year level for strategically important languages, including Kazakh and Tajik. It will produce Web-based materials for teaching archeology of Central Asia.
  • The Russian & East European Institute administers the nation's largest language training program for the region, offering fellowships in 15 area languages: Albanian, Czech, Estonian, Georgian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Polish, Romanian, Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, Slovene, Ukrainian and Yiddish. It trains large numbers of experts with advanced skills in less commonly taught languages and area studies who contribute to the needs of the U.S. government, academic and business institutions.
  • West European Studies will host a large summer workshop for minority languages, such as Basque, Catalan, Roma and Yiddish, and expand course offerings in Dutch, Modern Greek and Norwegian. With the EU Center and REEI, it will sponsor a travel course, "Europe in the 21st Century," which will bring approximately 20 graduate students each summer to five locations in Europe.
  • The Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region, which is one of only 14 National Language Resource Centers, will continue to develop materials for the strategic languages of the region including multimedia, CDs, DVDs and Web-based materials for intermediate and advanced levels for Pashto, Uyghur, Uzbek, Tajiki and Kazakh languages. In addition, it will continue to pioneer the synchronous and asynchronous delivery of language instruction using new and emerging technologies.
  • The Center for International Business Education and Research will organize a study tour course of China and offer new courses on such themes as regional integration examining NAFTA and the European Union.