A campus-wide committee, made up of faculty and administrators with experience and interest in international education, has made a recommendation to the provost for an initial structure in the Office of International Affairs (OIA). The OIA was created last spring as an outcome of the university’s strategic plan, Forward Thinking.
The International Planning Committee (IPC), which is chaired by James Kazura, professor of international health and medicine and director of the Center for Global Health & Diseases in the School of Medicine; Janet McGrath, associate professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences; and David Fleshler, associate provost for international affairs, met last week and overwhelmingly recommended a structure in which the undergraduate study abroad office and the office of international student services would become part of the OIA. In addition, the Planning Committee recommended increased personnel in the OIA, in order to assure that the university’s internationalization process would move forward quickly. The recommendations were the result of the work of an infrastructure working group chaired by Bo Carlsson of the Weatherhead School of Management.
Provost William A. "Bud" Baeslack III is expected to accept the recommendations.
The recommendations for the structure and personnel of the OIA are the first results of a planning process, which is expected to last approximately 16 months. The process kicked off in late January with a university-wide workshop, led by President Barbara R. Snyder and Baeslack. At the workshop, more than 90 members of the campus community—faculty, students and administrators—came together to begin a conversation about how best to build on the international work already occurring at Case Western Reserve. At the same time as the workshop, the IPC conducted its first meeting.
The planning process grew out of many meetings that Fleshler, who was appointed last spring, conducted over his first months at the university.
"When I first came on board, I felt it was important to get into the campus community to meet students, faculty and administrators and begin to understand the kinds of international programs, exchanges, research and activities at the university," Fleshler said. "I was amazed at how much international activity was going on. I think many of us fail to recognize what a central function international activities play at Case Western Reserve."
The IPC has appointed a number of working groups. These groups are focusing on areas important in the internationalization of the university, including infrastructure; undergraduate education abroad and international experiences; undergraduate recruitment, retention and campus life; information gathering and communications; outreach and partnerships; and funding/resources. While the initial emphasis is on the undergraduate experience, the committee expects to also concentrate on international activities and experiences in the graduate and professional schools.
The committee has appointed the American Council on Education's (ACE) Center for International Initiatives to assist with its planning efforts and to provide examples of national and international best practices. ACE, a higher education association composed of more than 1,800 member institutions and associations, has worked with dozens of universities on internationalization planning.
Fleshler said the planning process will be transparent and interactive. To that end, faculty, students and staff are encouraged to provide input by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and to attend a series of forums over the course of the fall semester (dates to be announced shortly). A website is being built so the community can witness the work of the IPC and working groups, as well as participate in the process.
"The committee is looking for input from all who value international education, research and service at the university," Fleshler said. "We would like to take the pulse of what people are doing around campus and the community in order to develop future ideas. Plus we want faculty, staff, students, alumni and the greater Cleveland community to see how the process is unfolding. "
Each segment of the university is invited to participate in the planning process and provide input.
In addition to Fleshler, Kazura and McGrath, the committee members are:
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.