In December 2005, Provost Phyllis Wise created a new Office of Global Affairs, to be led by Vice Provost Susan Jeffords. Expressing enthusiasm for initiatives already under way “to achieve [a] high level of service to the University,” Provost Wise charged the office with “providing nimble, strategic coordination of the UW’s efforts to globalize research, education, and engagement.”
The office has launched a comprehensive effort to benchmark the University’s global presence and impact and to identify international resources and opportunities. As one part of this effort the office will be conducting a short survey to gain a better understanding of the international activity, linkages and needs of the University.
Faculty will be receiving an electronic invitation to participate in the survey. The data will be used to further develop and shape the international dimensions of the UW in a manner that meets the 21st century needs of faculty, staff, students and the community. Survey results will be assembled in a centralized database that will be available to the public. Information is also being gathered through interviews with faculty and staff from the various centers and programs that have an international element in order to learn more about how these programs are administratively structured and the kinds of services they need to support interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty.
Recognizing the vast array of international activities already occurring at the UW, the Office of Global Affairs will move towards finding ways to enhance and leverage many of these existing programs and initiatives in ways that will broaden and deepen the UW impact in key areas. According to Jeffords, “the amount of international activity already occurring at the University in research and education is quite remarkable. Many of our faculty have a long history of international collaboration with government agencies, universities, multinational institutions and NGO’s [non-governmental organizations] around the world supported by a wide range of funding sources. It’s important that we build on what we have with an eye towards broadening and deepening the UW’s impact both at home and abroad.”
Additionally, Global Affairs seeks to connect more fully and in new ways faculty, staff and students with constituencies around the world in research and education in order to provide “every student with a global experience.”
In May, Global Affairs will host a day-long visioning exercise with invited faculty, staff and students to explore, among other things, issues such as the continued impact of globalization on the UW; increasing competition for students, faculty and resources among universities; and ways to more fully “internationalize” the University in research, education and engagement.