Promoting a globally engaged university
We envision a globally engaged university in which UGA students gain a rich understanding of the world and are prepared to work in international and intercultural settings and the research and instruction of UGA faculty and graduate students are enhanced through international collaborations. We envision a state that is a powerful magnet for international talent and capital, whose products experience a growing international demand, and whose citizens reap direct benefits from this global engagement.
The Office of International Education supports the University of Georgia’s academic, research, and outreach missions and strategic themes by advancing comprehensive internationalization: the promotion of global learning experiences for our students; the sponsorship and exchange of international students, scholars, faculty and staff; and the development of international research and instructional partnerships and collaborations.
Goals and strategic priorities
1. To advance the international learning and global competency of UGA students
The need for graduates today to have international learning experiences – whether they are gained abroad or at home -- is clear and compelling. These experiences encourage critical and creative thinking; improve cross-cultural communication skills; and make students adept at living and working in diverse settings. Meaningful international experiences are also valued by prospective employers and increase the competitiveness of students entering the job market. One of UGA’s strategic themes in its current plan is therefore “preparing and equipping students to succeed in a global economy.
International learning experiences can be gained through (i) study abroad and (ii) international learning opportunities on the UGA campus. Strategic priorities in each area include the following.
- Expanding programming and participation at UGA’s residential centers. OIE will leverage technology and travel funding to draw on existing relationships, allowing students who remain at the Athens campus to benefit from the research and teaching cooperation built up over the years at the three residential centers.
- Establishing faculty-led study abroad programs in currently underserved regions. Over the next 5 years, OIE will work with faculty to create short-term and/or semester-long study abroad programs in currently underserved world regions where we see high student demand.
- Increasing non-traditional study abroad opportunities particularly for students in STEM areas. Traditional study abroad programs often do not fit the curricular needs of students in the sciences. OIE will also work to increase hands-on, non-traditional study abroad options (e.g. internships, independent research, clinical rotations, etc.) in these disciplines to boost historically low participation rates.
- Expanding financial support for study abroad: Over the next five years, OIE will increase the number of undergraduate scholarships provided to UGA students interested in studying abroad. We will work with the graduate school to expand the support to graduate students interested in study or research abroad.
- Curricular Integration of Study Abroad. OIE will work with departments and colleges to integrate study abroad options into the curriculum and timeline for majors in various disciplines.
- Promoting the scholarly examination of study abroad Learning outcomes. Becoming a leader in the study of Education Abroad Learning Outcomes.
Internationalization at home
- Increased recruitment and enrollment of international students. A key step in “internationalization at home” is increasing the international diversity on campus. OIE will work with undergraduate and graduate admissions to coordinate and increase UGA’s international student recruitment efforts. We will focus on not simply increasing numbers but also on expanding the countries represented at UGA.
- Facilitating the interchange between international and U.S.-born students and scholars. OIE will work with the Office of International Student Life, the UGA Postdoctoral Association, and other campus departments and offices to create increased opportunities for international and domestic students and scholars to interact, collaborate, and learn from one another. We will streamline and simplify as much as possible the sponsorship process so exchanges are facilitated quickly and efficiently. These points are critical if the success of international student recruitment efforts and improved facilitation of scholar sponsorships are to translate into campus internationalization.
- Internationalization of the curriculum. OIE’s is committed to enhancing the international content in the curriculum across disciplines as a complement to study abroad efforts. This includes the innovative use of technology to create international learning experiences for UGA students.
2. To promote international research and teaching opportunities for UGA faculty
An important goal of UGA’s strategic plan is “fostering a culture of discovery.” International collaborations expand research opportunities and provide a pathway to national and international distinction. Internationalization also enlivens faculty teaching and instruction both abroad and at home. Strategic initiatives to advance this goal include:
- Supporting greater research collaborations between UGA and international faculty. The exchange of faculty and scholars internationally supports a broadening of pedagogical innovations and growth along and between globally relevant fields of study.
- Facilitating the ease of engaging in international travel/work in collaboration with other UGA offices. Making this exchange of international faculty and scholars easy and integral to all aspects of university administration is key to ensuring the continuation of existing relationships and the creation of new ones.
- Establishing international faculty exchanges that include short and long term teaching opportunities abroad. In addition, OIE will help increase the number of UGA faculty and staff participating in the Fulbright program.
- Attracting more international scholars to UGA by coordinating the necessary support during their stay. Many internationals come with questions and concerns about the Athens area, healthcare, legal issues, housing, schooling for children, etc. Enabling support for international researchers and teachers outside the labs and the classrooms will aid in maximizing their contributions to UGA and their field of research or teaching.
3. To enhance UGA’s global networks and reputation
International academic networks strengthen the university by giving rise to new pedagogies, new academic programming (e.g. international joint degree programs), and research collaborations. These networks raise the bar for academic excellence by holding the institution to world standards for excellence. Collaborations with universities and institutions with a global reach also advance the university’s reputation at home and abroad which in turn attracts even stronger students, scholars, and faculty to the campus. Strategic initiatives in this area include:
- Developing strategic international partnerships structured around faculty collaborations and student exchanges. Strategic international partnerships help build and expand the institution's capacity for teaching, research, and service. Moreover, rich bi- and multilateral partnerships create strong networks that encourage innovation and discovery. Successful and productive international partnerships help the University thrive and remain competitive in a global economy.
- Attracting the very best international talent – students, scholars, and faculty -- to UGA. As the university builds and strengthens its global network of partnering institutions, it will be well-positioned to recruit the best students and faculty from around the world. Increasing the quality of services for international students, faculty, and scholars on UGA’s campus will also encourage the best to stay at UGA.
- Building alliances with the Georgia’s diplomatic corps, especially the Atlanta Consular Corps. The University of Georgia is focused on building global partners and connecting research opportunities with those across the globe, and using Georgia’s international connections helps to establish these relationships. The state is home to many members of the Consular Corps and establishing strong, productive relationships with these individuals can help our recruitment and retention efforts, as well as help the University build and develop strong partnerships with entities in their home countries.
- Expanding offerings and services to increase visiting students and scholars. Establishing “international summer institutes” covering a variety of fields and disciplines will bring international students for a focused “study abroad” experience at UGA. We believe that this will be a powerful means of publicizing UGA to the world and also for recruiting international students. Additionally, working to host more international students at UGA for a short-term study experience (academic year or less) who have outside sponsorship/funding can further internationalize the campus as well as elevate UGA’s reputation internationally. Such programs and initiatives can also be successful recruitment mechanisms to bring exceptional students into our degree-seeking programs.
4. To support the advancement of the community and state through internationalization
Internationalization is vital for addressing the challenges – educational, economic, social – faced by communities and states. Global economic and social interdependence means that civic, business, and educational leaders need the international knowledge, networks, and leadership training that the university can provide to effectively address these challenges and advance the state. As a land grant flagship university, UGA has a responsibility to internationalize for our community and state. Strategic priorities in this area include:
- Serving the university and the state through outstanding immigration services. OIE will provide the highest level of professional support to the outstanding international students and scholars coming to Georgia and assisting them in maintaining lawful status and compliance with all relevant government regulations.
- Establishment of a year-round intensive English program. OIE will help support the establishment of a year-round intensive English program at UGA to assist international students and scholars in becoming fully participating members of the community.
- Building strong relationships with state's international economic development officers to promote UGA's research offerings and elevate UGA's stature and increase connections between UGA's R&D and the state's economic development as it pertains to the global economy.