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Last modified: Tuesday, May 24, 2011

David Zaret named IU vice president for international affairs

May 24, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie today (May 24) announced that he has chosen David Zaret to be vice president for international affairs. The appointment, which is to be effective July 1, is subject to approval of the IU Board of Trustees.

Zaret will succeed Patrick O'Meara, who served as dean and then vice president for international affairs for the last two decades.

David Zaret

Photo by Peter Stevenson

David Zaret

Print-Quality Photo

McRobbie said Zaret is exceptionally well qualified to succeed O'Meara because of his extensive experience at IU as well as having lived and studied abroad for several years.

"David Zaret is an extremely experienced IU administrator who has a deep appreciation of the vital importance of Indiana University fully engaging internationally," McRobbie said. "His doctoral training was done at Oxford, and his own field of research has focused on major global themes. He is superbly qualified to succeed Patrick O'Meara."

Zaret said he looks forward to the challenges of the position.

"Indiana University is widely known for the breadth and excellence of its international engagements," Zaret said. "These include world-class teaching, research and creative activities, as well as partnerships with international universities and opportunities for students and faculty to work and study abroad. It is an honor to be asked to work on new initiatives that will expand these opportunities and partnerships."

With nearly 7,000 international students enrolled at the seven campuses administered by IU, Zaret will oversee one of the largest international enrollments in the United States. In the last six years, overall enrollment of international students has grown by about 40 percent.

According to rankings produced by the Institute for International Education, IU Bloomington ranks 15th in terms of the number of its international students and 11th in the number of students who study abroad before graduation.

Among Zaret's initial objectives will be to develop a plan to have IU Bloomington ranked in the top 10 both in terms of international student enrollment and the number of students studying abroad, and also to increase these numbers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

He also will continue to rejuvenate or establish institutional relationships, study abroad programs and alumni chapters in about 30 priority countries for IU, and ensure the university will be visible through regular visits by McRobbie and other senior administrators.

Other goals include finding new ways to increase the engagement of IU academic units in these strategies, increasing private financial support for students studying abroad and developing new outreach efforts that leverage IU's extraordinary capabilities in international studies for the benefit of business, industry and communities across the state.

McRobbie said IU is very grateful for O'Meara's many contributions.

"Patrick O'Meara has given magnificent service to Indiana University and has been extraordinarily effective during his tenure as overseer of all our international activities," McRobbie said. "Because of his efforts, Indiana University enjoys a well-earned reputation around the world as a place that truly welcomes and nurtures international students and scholars."

While O'Meara is stepping down as vice president for international affairs, he will continue to be involved in these activities.

"It's been a very exciting and great privilege to work with President McRobbie. The university has moved in significant ways internationally under his leadership," said O'Meara, who has been at IU since the 1960s, when he earned his doctorate. "I have the utmost respect for David, who brings outstanding administrative skills to the job and a capacity to move in innovative new directions."

Zaret is a professor in the Department of Sociology at IU Bloomington with an adjunct appointment in the Department of History. He served as executive associate dean of the IU College of Arts and Sciences from 1999 to 2005, and as interim dean of the College in 2006 and again in 2010-11.

Both as a student and as a member of the IU faculty, Zaret has lived and studied abroad. He received a doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Oxford and has held visiting appointments at Oxford and Heidelberg University in Germany.

His research interests are in historical sociology and comparative history. His current work looks at petitioning in different civilizations from antiquity to current times. His published research includes the books Origins of Democratic Culture (Princeton University Press, 2000) and The Heavenly Contract: Ideology and Organization in Pre-Revolutionary Puritanism (University of Chicago Press, 1985).