Barr-Melej, Jang appointed to interim leadership roles for international studies, global affairs

Published: August 12, 2020 Author: From Staff Reports

Ohio University has appointed Patrick Barr-Melej and Ji-Yeung Jang to two-year interim leadership roles to oversee international studies and global affairs programs in the Office of Global Affairs and International Studies (OGAIS).

The Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies, Lorna Jean Edmonds, who led OGAIS for the last seven years, will step down on August 15, 2020. The interim appointments will provide continuity in global strategy and programing while creating distinctive opportunities for the academic programs in the Center for International Studies and the pan-university global services and programs offered by the Office of Global Affairs, the Office of Global Opportunities, and International Student and Faculty Services.

Both Barr-Melej and Jang will report to the Executive Vice President and Provost.

“We are fortunate to have among our many colleagues who support globalized curriculum and support for international students, faculty, and staff, two individuals who have consistently demonstrated excellence in their current leadership roles,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs. “I am confident that both Patrick and Ji-Yeung will provide stability for these offices, but more importantly, they also recognize the challenges facing our international students and colleagues in this time of global upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The need for global studies will only increase even as our ability to travel freely has been temporarily disrupted. I’m counting on these two leaders and our colleagues across all OHIO campuses to strengthen and increase international education and opportunities for global connectedness for our students, faculty, and staff.”

Barr-Melej, professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences, will serve as the interim executive director of the Center for International Studies (CIS), overseeing the center’s undergraduate- and graduate-degree programs, as well as its certificate programs. He will lead the center in its academic work in interdisciplinary and area studies, world languages, and global leadership. Barr-Melej also will provide leadership as the center engages in strategic planning, the elaboration of new initiatives, the recruitment of students and affiliated faculty, alumni relations, fundraising, and the further development of its Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program.

With a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, Barr-Melej previously served as chair of the Department of History from 2009 to 2013, as well as the interim chair for the Department of African American Studies from 2011 to 2012. Since 2014, he has served as a faculty fellow for program review for the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.

Specializing in the modern history of Chile, his research and publications explore social and cultural movements, nationalism and identity, class conflict, revolutionary ideology, dictatorship, and youth and counterculture. He is the author of the books Psychedelic Chile: Youth, Counterculture, and Politics on the Road to Socialism and Dictatorship (2017), and Reforming Chile: Cultural Politics, Nationalism, and the Rise of the Middle Class (2001), both published by the University of North Carolina Press, as well as many other publications. Recognized internationally as a leading figure in his research field, Barr-Melej has served as a visiting professor at two Chilean universities, has been a grant evaluator for the Government of Chile, and has served on the editorial committees of numerous academic journals.

Born in South America, Barr-Melej moved with his parents to the United States when he was a boy. He learned English and was raised in California’s San Joaquin Valley, where his father, a former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Chile, built low-income housing for Mexican migrant farmworkers and Southeast Asian refugees, while his mother, a Chilean, taught them English as an ESL teacher.

“I was raised in an ‘international’ family and in a diverse community, and I’ve dedicated my professional life to international research, teaching, and bridge building, so CIS feels like home to me, and I know a great many others who feel the same way,” Barr-Melej said. “It’s a privilege to be working with the CIS team of faculty and staff, and our studentswho come from all over the world and the U.S.are exceptionally motivated and talented.”

Jang will serve as the interim executive director for global affairs. She will provide executive oversight to the Office of Global Affairs, the Office of Global Opportunities, and International Student and Faculty Services. Serving as senior international officer, Jang will promote globalization at OHIO through creating and fostering activities and initiatives that support global teaching, experiential learning, research, and engagement throughout the university. She will also provide leadership to develop and manage international strategic partnerships, cultivate relationships with domestic and international alumni pertinent to the global mission, and advise and support taskforces and committees advancing OHIO’s global strategy.

Jang has served as director of the Office of Global Affairs since 2018, and previously worked as the associate director for both the Office of Global Affairs and International Studies and Center for International Studies. She was instrumental in creating and implementing OHIO’s global strategy and strategic communications, transforming the governing systems for global policies and procedures, including creating a data analytics system on global activities.

Jang also has developed and managed innovative global programming and initiatives such as the Presidential Global Engagement Fund and overseen high-level incoming and outgoing delegations and related events. She is deeply engaged in advancing the university strategic partnerships and fostering alumni connections around the world. With a Ph.D. in Comparative and International Development Education from the University of Minnesota, Jang is an active member of NAFSA: Association of International Educators and a frequent speaker and writer on the topic of internationalization of higher education.

“I am humbled and deeply honored to take on this new leadership role,” Jang said. “Ohio University has a strong global foundation and great capacity pan-university to further leverage its strengths into opportunities at the University, in our communities, in the country, and around world. With the synergy provided by Diane Cahill, director of International Student and Faculty Services, Catherine Marshall, director of the Office of Global Opportunities, and their teams, I am committed to collaborating with the university community to ensure that Ohio University will continue to set examples, nurture positive relationships, and produce lasting impact.”

Outgoing Vice Provost Edmonds expressed enthusiasm and support for the appointments of Barr-Melej and Jang.

“As I step down, I am excited to see Ohio University’s continued commitment to and investment in globalization and am genuinely pleased to know that Patrick Barr-Melej and Ji-Yeung Jang will be working with our colleagues in the Office of Global Affairs and International Studies and the broader university community to lead this next phase. The future is bright!” Edmonds said.