In Depth: U makes international push

By By Rochelle McConkie

By Rochelle McConkie

Commencing what U President Michael Young called the year of internationalization, the U is working to make its academia transcend geography.

A number of new degrees, institutes and centers, study abroad and internship programs, as well as academic programs, will be implemented during current school year to increase international awareness and opportunities for students and faculty.

“We must prepare all of our students to succeed in a world with fewer and fewer borders,” Young said in his April 2005 inaugural address, when he first announced the initiative.

Five new degree programs have already been added in 2007, including a British studies minor, applied ethics and human values minor, comparative literature major and minor, master’s of international and global enterprise and an Asian studies Bachelor of Arts.

More than 20 new international internships are offered, ranging from India to Scotland to Mozambique.

The Hinckley Institute of Politics added 16 international internships this year, and some countries, such as China, have internships in multiple lo-

cations. This expansion was largely made possible by a $200,000 donation from the Li Ka Shing Foundation,

named after the wealthiest philanthropist in Asia.

Students can now participate in short-term summer study abroad programs in Gijon, Spain, where the U offers a Spanish literature and culture program, or travel to the Czech Republic to complete a cross-culture communication program called “Project New Eyes.”

The U added 10 new exchange programs with international universities this year, including universities in Japan, South Korea and Kyrgyzstan.

In the Spring Semester, the International Leadership Academy will be implemented and offer weekly seminars on global politics and economics, link students to mentors from the community and encourage them to participate in study abroad or work outside the United States.

“The objective is for the students to feel engaged globally while living in Utah,” said Howard Lehman, a political science professor teaching the program, which will take about 24 students.

Tori Ballif, project coordinator for internationalization at the U, said administrators are also teaming up with departments to help students look for internships and study-abroad programs that would enhance their degrees.

“We want to promote graduation instead of detract from it, by looking for study-abroad opportunities to fulfill requirements,” Ballif said.

The College of Social and Behavioral Science is currently implementing this program, but Ballif said the administrators hope to expand it to all colleges.

The Confucius Institute and an Asia Center will also be created this year. The Confucius Institute, which will be implemented in the College of Humanities in mid-October, is a joint establishment between the U and Sichuan University in Chengdu, China. The Institute will promote Chinese language learning throughout the state of Utah, encourage cultural exchanges between the United States and China, teach Chinese culture and offer business services. Funding for the Institute will come from China’s National Office of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language and the Chinese government. The Asia Center, also in the College of Humanities, will centralize Asian studies at the U, expand research and create partnerships with Asian countries.

The College of Engineering will now offer an international engineering certificate. Students must take 15 to 21 credit hours focusing on a certain geographic region and the language that is spoken there. They will be required to spend time studying or interning in that country.

“This will increase the marketability of engineering students,” Ballif said. “They’ll come out with an advantage.”

The David Eccles School of Business is re-establishing ties with partners in Guadalajara, Mexico, to create student exchange programs and develop connections with the business community.

In the last five years, the U has expanded its language programs to offer Hindi-Urdu, Navajo and an Italian minor, as well as add more courses to Portuguese and Korean programs.

Internationalization efforts will not be limited to the classroom. The Babcock Theatre, run by the theater department, will show seven internationally themed plays, including Euripides’ “Helen” this month, “The Diary of Anne Frank” for Holland and “Blood Wedding” from Spain. The Broadway Center Cinemas will show international Western films every Tuesday night in October. A number of international conferences will also be held at the U, including the Asia Conference held last week.

Associate Vice President John Francis, who is heading the endeavor, said the “year of internationalization” will not stop at the end of the school year.

“We want to stress that the U is part of a community here but has an influence globally,” Francis said. “We want every year to be an international year.”

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