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Last modified: Monday, April 21, 2003

International programs at Indiana University praised in new report

For the second year in a row, international programs at Indiana University are being praised in a national report for their timely efforts to integrate global approaches to teaching and research.

In its report, "Internationalizing the Campus," NAFSA: Association of International Educators presents IU, Yale University and four other educational institutions that have outstanding initiatives and programs in campus internationalization. IU was selected from among 117 institutions nominated for consideration.

In 2002, IU was similarly recognized in a report by the American Council on Education.

Given recent world events, Patrick O'Meara, IU dean of international programs and professor of political science and public and environmental affairs, said it remains vital for IU to continue the strong legacy in internationalization started by the late IU president and chancellor, Herman B Wells.

"One of the things that always strikes me is that people seem surprised that in the middle of Indiana, you have this wonderful array of international resources," O'Meara said. "It's more essential than it was before. This is a reaffirmation of the importance of internationalization. I don't think that we're going to see a diminishing of that. We're going to see an increase in interest in internationalization of all of our activities."

Christopher J. Viers, IU associate dean for international programs and director of the Office of International Services, said the report reflects that the university is well-positioned to deal with the new complexities of international education and exchange.

"There's no question in my mind that there will be some institutions around the country that will decide this is just too complicated and that the regulations will be overly burdensome and that the staffing and resources needed to effectively comply are too complex," Viers said. "This demonstrates Indiana's commitment to internationalization, broadly defined, and certainly one small piece of that is the presence of international students on this campus. We're well positioned to be effective, despite the new challenges and complexities involved."

The report highlights Wells' legacy and how it lives on through IU Bloomington's "formidable array" of foreign language and area studies programs, its world-class schools of music and business, and its contingent of more than 3,300 international students from 123 countries and another 1,300 students studying abroad. More than 4,400 international students are involved in IU programs at all eight campuses.

"Internationalization efforts on our college campuses are part of the lifeblood of American leadership in the world today," said Marlene Johnson, NAFSA executive director. "The institutions highlighted in this report have developed innovative ways to educate our students for a world in which global challenges know few boundaries and cross-cultural knowledge and understanding are essential."

In the introduction to the report, Johnson and NAFSA President Mary Anne Grant add, "Our report includes well-known leaders in the field of international education, such as Indiana University Bloomington, whose countless initiatives in international education continue to serve as models for other institutions ... If there ever was a time when we need to do all that we can to renew world commitment to international learning, understanding and cooperation, that time is now."

Also highlighted in the report are the 40 languages taught regularly at IU Bloomington, including those taught by the newly established Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region and by the Russian and East European Institute. Seven of IU Bloomington's area and international studies programs are designated by the U.S. Department of Education as national resource centers.

Viers said it is encouraging that IU is considered a role model institution by an organization of more than 8,500 professionals involved in assisting international students and visiting scholars and integrating globalization into university curricula.

"It's a nice pat on the back," Viers said. "It's a testament to not only the rich history and tradition, but also to the fact that in many respects we represent best practices around the country. It's an opportunity for our colleagues to learn from our experiences and the strengths of the programs and activities we have under way, and our rich area studies centers."

EDITORS: A complete copy of the report is available online from NAFSA: Association of International Educators at http://www.nafsa.org/content/professionalandeducationalresources/publications/campusreport2003.pdf.