If a newly formed international programs committee has its way, the path to the world touted in the International Programs brochure will open into a four-lane superhighway. The Provost's Council on International Programs, established by Provost Michael Aiken last spring, has been charged with finding ways to strengthen and expand academic ties to foreign countries. According to Aiken, the council, made up of representatives of each of the 12 schools, will be looking to increase the number of programs abroad for both students and faculty members. Members will oversee programs run by individual schools as well as those conducted by the Office of International Programs. Aiken said this week that the need to coordinate foreign programming was pointed out by a working group studying international links for the soon-to-be-released five-year planning report. International Programs Director Joyce Randolph said the new council is working to establish more programs for undergraduates to study abroad during their junior and senior years. Randolph added that the council will also look to find peer universities in other countries with which the University can conduct a wide range of faculty, student and information exchanges. She also said that the provost would like to establish ties with institutions in areas outside the traditional European countries, including Latin America, Eastern Europe and East Asia. Randolph said that the council will also help the faculty, espcially younger members, to develop contacts abroad. She said that many older professors have developed intricate networks with foreign researchers over the years, but said that these exchanges often occur only on an individual basis. Current international programming suffers from a lack of overall coordination, Aiken said, adding that many schools have international programs that other schools could take advantage of but they are not aware of them. The provost said the council will coordinate programs conducted in different schools. The umbrella group will allow officials from one school to approach another school's officials and ask "can we work through your people," he said. Randolph said that the committee also will recommend ways to "enhance innternational content in the curriculum," but noted that the provost has emphasized that the council will not usurp the faculty's role in formulating policy.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.