23, No. 18, April 22, 2004
initiatives expand, enrich UI's international dimension
By Melissa Mitchell,
News Bureau Staff Writer
by Bill Wiegand
the financial challenges of recent years have forced
some universities to pare their international programs,
the UI has bolstered its reputation for excellence
in international teaching, research and public outreach,
according to Earl Kellogg, associate provost for international
affairs. The UI ranked fourth among 43 universities
in the amount of U.S. Department of Education grant
funding it received this academic year.
budgets have forced university administrators to make tough choices
regarding academic priorities in recent years. And at some of those
institutions, international programs are among those that have landed
on the chopping block.
"Cutting out what's not central -- that's how it has been viewed,"
said Earl Kellogg, associate provost for international affairs. Despite
similar financial challenges, "internationalization," as Kellogg
calls it, has remained a priority at the UI. In fact, he said, "international
studies is becoming a signature dimension for our university, and we
want to continue to build on this pre-eminence.
"You can't have true excellence in universities these days without
a strong international dimension," said Kellogg, who suggested
that the nation's higher education hierarchy may be evolving into a
two-tiered system. That is, "those who take the international component
seriously, and invest in it -- and those who don't. Those who don't
will become marginalized," he predicted.
As the world's economic, political and social systems become increasingly
interconnected and interdependent, students and faculty members in every
corner of the campus should be realizing how globalization affects their
"If we're serving our students and the public, even if they don't
leave Champaign County, the international dimension will be an important
part of their future," Kellogg said.
This past academic year has been a good one for UI students, faculty
and staff members engaged in international education and activities.
"There have been a number of significant developments in international
studies," he noted, "that will allow us to substantially expand
and enrich the international dimension of our teaching, research and
public engagement missions."
Chief among them, the U.S. Department of Education awarded the UI six
Title VI Comprehensive National Resource Center grants and two Undergraduate
National Resource Center grants, totaling about $8.2 million. The highly
competitive, three-year grants were awarded to 43 U.S. universities,
based on excellence in several categories, including international curriculum
and foreign language programs, faculty members and other personnel,
international outreach programs, library collections, and institutional
The comprehensive awards went to the Center for African Studies, European
Union Center, Center for Global Studies, Center for International Business
Education and Research, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies,
and Russian and East European Center. The Center for East Asian and
Pacific Studies and the Program in South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
received the undergraduate awards.
The grants are a primary funding source for the units, which use them
for a variety of purposes, from supporting faculty and programs to initiating
new courses. The grants also include funding for 141 Foreign Language
and Area Studies fellowships, which provide opportunities to graduate
and professional students to study a language relevant to their area
"Illinois was ranked fourth in terms of the number of centers receiving
funding," Kellogg said. "We received awards for each proposal
we submitted and were successful in adding three new centers at Illinois
to the list funded by Title VI."
Among the new recipients was the Center for Global Studies, which became
operational this past December.
"Through a $1.1 million grant from the Title VI program, the center
marshals the human and material resources of the UI to develop a greater
understanding and explanation of globalization through research, teaching
and outreach programs," said Edward Kolodziej, the center's director
and research professor emeritus of political science. "The center
assumes responsibility for organizing, sustaining and enlarging the
dialogue of units, faculty and students about what globalization means,
how it impacts our lives, and how we -- as Americans and world citizens
-- address its many challenges."
More than 100 faculty associates in 29 units have agreed to help support
the mission of the center through various means -- from teaching new
courses to participating in conferences, workshops, lectures and outreach
activities. The center plans to play a role in the initiation of new
degree programs in the future, and works closely with five campus groups
it identifies as "Clusters of Excellence." Those efforts include
supporting the initiation of a new master's of education in global studies
online degree program, the first of its kind in the country. Kolodziej
said the program, under the leadership of education professor Fazal
Rizvi, "will be offered by the College of Education as a key mechanism
to internationalize the nation's K-12 curriculum."
Other "cluster" work includes developing new undergraduate
and graduate courses in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; developing
a multi-track interdisciplinary master's degree in global studies for
students interested in careers in government, business, education and
public affairs; and a new International Business Immersion Program in
the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The
center also is working to strengthen the UI's role as a leader in information
systems, communications and librarianship through new courses in global
information systems, and by supporting a new global studies librarian.
And it is cooperating with the College of Engineering and the Program
in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security to develop advanced
interdisciplinary seminars on homeland, regional and global security.
Other good news on the UI's international front this year included the
university's designation as lead institution on a four-year, $5.4 million
award by USAID Egypt to the Midwest Universities Consortium for International
Activities. Kellogg said the project, which is focused on agriculture,
funds work that will assist Egyptian universities in educating students
to become "better prepared to contribute in this new world of interconnected
economics, trade and private-sector development." In addition to
the main project, the UI also is providing significant assistance to
a $1.2 million training grant awarded to another contractor.
Yet another indicator of the UI's reputation as a leader in international
education was its selection as one of two participants in the large-university
category in a research project of the American Council on Education.
The goal of the project, "Forging New Connections: A Study in Linking
Internationalization Strategies and Student Learning," is to determine
how attitudes and experiences of students at universities that value
the international dimension compare with those of students nationwide.
The UI was selected for the study from among 752 institutions that completed
a 2001 ACE survey on the status of internationalization in undergraduate
According to ACE, the UI is "among the most active research universities
in the country in advancing internationalization in a wide variety of
areas, including offering on-campus student and faculty opportunities,
articulating a commitment to internationalization, and providing academic
Study abroad opportunities are definitely a strong suit for Illinois,
which ranks among the top 10 or 15 programs nationally, in terms of
number of participants. Jeremy Geller, director of the UI's Study Abroad
Office, said about 1,400 students participate in some form of international
study during the typical academic year. Destinations attracting the
greatest number of study-abroad students include France, Italy, Latin
America, Spain and the United Kingdom. The university also offers programs
in less frequently traveled venues, such as Egypt and South Africa,
and even has a summer program in Cuba.
Kellogg said the study-abroad program was just one of the areas examined
when the ACE study's principal investigator, Laura Siaya, visited the
campus this spring. While on campus, she met with students and various
academic unit heads, and later sought input from the student body at
large, through a Web-based survey.
"She said this was the largest, broadest and deepest international
program of any university she had visited," Kellogg said. "She
was impressed by the substance, breadth and depth of it, and noted the
thoughtfulness that had gone into development of new initiatives. She
said many programs in other universities she had visited indicated evidence
of 'the spaghetti approach' -- which she described as 'throwing spaghetti
on a wall to see what sticks.' It was clear to Siaya that the program
at Illinois was the result of a more purposeful development. She was
quite struck by its innovativeness."
receives funding and new name
campus's oldest area studies center -- the Russian and East European
Center -- has become the Russian, East European and Eurasian Center.