UIC History

From a Report to the President by members of the University International Council
Submitted February 23, 1996

International Students and Faculty
Study Abroad
Internationalizing the Curriculum


President Robert Glidden created the University International Council (UIC), as one of eight all-University policy committees to help plan for the University's future. The committees began their work during the Spring Quarter 1995 and will function at least through the 1995-96 academic year. The general charge to all committees was to:

  • Define issues that fall within the scope of the committee's purview;

  • Identify challenges, concerns or problems within those issues;

  • Identify opportunities for improvement;

  • Make recommendations to the President and the University community for consideration or action.

The specific charge to the UIC was to:

  • Coordinate the international activities conducted in the various colleges and schools
  • Consider the extent and nature of affiliations with foreign universities and their relative benefit to Ohio University
  • Study and recommend preparation of students for study abroad
  • Study and recommend ways to attract international students to the University

The UIC held its first meeting on June 22, 1995. At this meeting the members prioritized five areas of concern and divided into five sub-committees to address these areas: International Linkages, International Student and Faculty Issues, Study Abroad, International Faculty Professional Travel, and Internationalizing the Curriculum.

At subsequent UIC meetings held on September 7, October 17, November 14, 1995, and January 25, 1996, the content and shape of the current report began to emerge, based upon the reports of the five subcommittees and the discussions they evoked.

It should be noted that the recommendations contained in this report are addressed primarily to the particular topics identified by President Glidden in his charge to the UIC. The present document should not be construed as a comprehensive review of all aspects of international activities at Ohio University.

International Students and Faculty

452,635 foreign students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities in 1994-95. On the Ohio University campus in the Fall Quarter 1995, 1,086 international students enrolled; 344 undergraduates and 742 graduate students. The presence of significant numbers of international students and faculty within our nation, upon our campus and in our community is correctly celebrated as a great teaching/learning asset, as well as a significant economic benefit to local economies.

This resource is threatened at the national level, not by an overall decline, but by a deceleration of growth and a shifting pattern of international student enrollment. Undergraduate and graduate international students in the United States rose by just .6 percent in the last year, the smallest increase in a decade. At the national level, international student graduate enrollment decreased by 5 percent in the last year.

At variance with these national trends, Ohio University, has been experiencing an absolute decline in international enrollments and a more pronounced decline in undergraduate enrollment than in graduate international enrollment. What can and should Ohio University do about this?

A UIC subcommittee (Chaired by Alan Boyd), was appointed to address this issue and to make recommendations to the full UIC. After considerable discussion, the UIC endorsed the subcommittee's recommendations. The UIC, therefore, recommends fourteen specific proactive steps at the University level and by campus offices such as Admissions, Alumni Relations, and International Students and Faculty Services. The UIC recommends that the University approve and implement these suggestions as soon as possible. These steps and recommendations are detailed in Appendix C.

Study Abroad

The benefits of study abroad are widely accepted and few would deny that the experience of spending a significant period of time interning or studying in another country can be a life-transforming experience with extraordinary educational benefits. Ohio University offers many fine study abroad programs, and new study abroad opportunities are rapidly emerging in various Colleges across the University.

The UIC found that, despite many study abroad success stories, the following problems persist at Ohio University:

  • Fewer than two percent of our undergraduate students study abroad.

  • Minority students are severely under-represented in study abroad programs.

  • University wide policies and procedures for initiating, implementing, evaluating study abroad programs are unclear and/or lacking.

  • Study abroad pre-departure orientation and post-return debriefing opportunities are limited and in some cases lacking altogether.

The UIC applauds the fact that a new full-time University Study Abroad Advisor has been hired, operating in the Center for International Studies. Apparently confusion exists in the minds of students about the role of this office vis-a-vis the study abroad officers in various colleges.

The UIC decided to postpone detailed scrutiny of these issues until the Winter and Spring Quarters of 1996. At this point (February 1996), the UIC merely recommends that study abroad agreements be viewed as a category of international agreements, and, henceforth governed by the policies and procedu res outlined in the study abroad sections of Appendix B. See also Appendix D for a listing of extant study abroad programs, policies and procedures.


Internationalizing the Curriculum

If our curriculum is, as many scholars argue, the most important product at a University, it is clear that substantial revision is necessary if our students are to be exposed to and become knowledgeable about the vastly changed and interdependent global realities of the late 20th and emerging 21st centuries. The UIC accepts the dictum that the curriculum is resistant to change and that incentives are necessary to insure support for initiatives to internationalize the curriculum.

A successful model for curriculum change has been provided by the federally supported (U. S. Department of Education, Title VI) grant administered by the Center for International Studies, currently in its final year of operation with external funds. This project provided summer funding for faculty to develop new international courses or to infuse international components into existing courses. (For a fuller description of the Title VI project see Appendix F.)

One highly successful component of this Title VI project was an incentive program to train faculty in the Modern Languages and Linguistic Departments in proficiency (or competency-based) language instruction and assessment (testing). No longer are students judged to be competent in languages because of "seat-time" in language courses with passing grades. Now their actual capacity to use the target language is measured and assessed. These efforts need to be continued. Opportunities for integration of language components within content courses should also be actively explored.

The UIC recommends that a special fund be created to continue support for this type of faculty effort to internationalize the curriculum, following the Title VI model.



Following President Glidden's instructions, the UIC has divided its recommendations into two categories:
A. Recommendations Proposed for Immediate implementation, and
B. Issues that Require Additional Study.

A. Recommendations Proposed for Immediate Implementation:

To better coordinate and communicate the University's international activities, the University International Council (UIC) should be made a permanent administrative feature of the University. Like the University Planning Advisory Council (UPAC), the University Curriculum Council (UCC) and the Graduate Council, it should meet on a regular basis and distribute its minutes to the University community. It should be chaired by the Vice Provost for International Programs and have a membership similar to the current UIC.

The University should adopt the policy and procedures detailed in the document "Guidelines on International Affiliations'' which is appended to this report.

The University should implement the multi-faceted steps to address international student enrollments which are detailed in Appendix C. The recruitment of international students to Ohio University is a complex issue which should be continuously monitored by a standing committee of the UIC.

Study Abroad should be encouraged actively so that more than 2 percent of our students participate in this life-transforming educational experi ence. Augmented study abroad policy and procedures are needed.

To encourage international professional travel by faculty, the current International Travel Fund should be increased significantly, its application form revised as suggested herein, and administered in the future by a standing committee of the UIC.

A special fund for supporting faculty efforts to internationalize the Curriculum should be created to continue the process (i.e. summer grants to change or create new curricula) begun by the Title VI Project recently completed.

The international academic programs, strengths and resources of Ohio University should be posted on a World Wide Web page as soon as possible and updated on a regular basis.

B. Issues that Require Additional Study and Possible New Policy Recommendations:

The attrition of faculty in area studies and thematic programs in the Center for International Studies is a serious problem that requires monitoring and intervention. When a faculty member considered essential for the operation of these programs retires or resigns, the departmental priorities for replacement may not coincide with area studies' needs. As a large number of early retirements are expected in the University's immediate future, this problem should be studied and addressed.

Ways and means of encouraging minorities to more actively participate in the international activities of the University should be explored and adopted.

International alumni of Ohio University should be cultivated more actively as friends of the University, as advisors on restructuring and review of academic programs, for recruitment of new students, and for support of our international programs.

Faculty who participate in interdisciplinary programs in general, and in international programs in particular, report that their service to these programs is very unevenly evaluated (sometimes even negatively viewed) by individual departments/schools or colleges. The UIC recognizes this problem and recommends that a task force be appointed to study this problem. Perhaps international activities should be uniformly mandated as an important category in the University's processes of faculty and administrative evaluation for annual merit assessment and in tenure and promotion decisions.

Ohio University students appear to be confused about where, when, and how to obtain information concerning planning and participating in a study abroad program. The magnitude of this problem should be measured and steps taken to remedy it as soon as feasible.

In the Fall of 1995, the Center for International Studies proposed to the University's Restructuring Committee that the Center should be turned into a College of International Studies. In its final report the Re-structuring Committee agreed that this idea had merit and proposed that the issue be further examined. The UIC concurs and recommends that a special task force be appointed to carefully assess the costs/benefits of transforming the Center into a College. At present the Center for International Studies is an anomaly as a degree granting entity of a nontraditional kind at Ohio University. "Falling between the cracks," it is too often overlooked and neglected in decisions relating to fund-raising, resource allocation, university publicity, space planning, program assessment, etc. This situation should be not be allowed to continue.

This page was updated for Jennifer Cochran on January 7, 2005.
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