From my new office on the third floor of Conant Hall, I am looking out onto the changes that the fall season is bringing to our beautiful campus. Change has been the theme of this past year. With the long-awaited integration of all our departments into the newly renovated Conant Hall, the Global Education Center has now become a physical entity. We have a suite of offices and a conference room on the third floor for the Education Abroad Department and the Office of International Students and Scholars. On the first floor, a multipurpose room is abuzz with programming and events. In this comfortable space, a global café brings international and domestic students together on Tuesday nights; information sessions gather UNH students to learn about study abroad opportunities; and educational sessions and socio-cultural events facilitate international undergraduate and graduate student success at UNH. I would like to thank all the people on campus who made the Center’s new home in Conant Hall possible.
There have been smaller changes as well, but nevertheless important ones. There was the renaming of the Center for International Education and Global Engagement and its unfortunate acronym, CIEGE, to the Global Education Center (UNH Global). We have expanded and developed services to include a shared immigration and academic advisor for the Law School and UNH Manchester and added a transition and academic advisor to work with 1st and 2nd year students, faculty, colleges and other academic units to create programming to support international students’ successful transition to UNH. An increase in the number of students studying abroad was accompanied by parallel growth in opportunities and programming. Lastly, with excitement, tempered by a deep sense of responsibility, I accepted the position of Associate Vice Provost for International Programs.
Change has not only been occurring in the Global Education Center. UNH celebrated the installation of UNH’s 20th, President, Jim W. Dean Jr. In his speech, President Dean spoke on the relationship between freedom and education. He stated:
True freedom is created by and depends on education, and on the knowledge and understanding that it produces. In fact, education and freedom are so tightly intertwined that it is impossible to imagine true freedom without education. And not surprisingly, their opposites – ignorance and oppression - are also tightly linked.
Internationalization is a critical dimension of higher education in the 21st century. At UNH Global, we are acutely aware of this powerful relationship between education and freedom. Access to an education at UNH may bring freedom from oppression for some international students. Similarly, experiences studying abroad can lessen ignorance as students deepen their understanding of and respect for other people and cultures.
The best practices of postsecondary education demand we integrate international, intercultural, and global concepts into the content and delivery of all aspect of the education. It is a process achieved through engagement in global research, international research and educational partnerships, and opportunities for faculty and students to create international communities for learning and research on global issues. It is high levels of student participation in international educational experiences, such as study abroad. It is growing and supporting our vibrant international community of students, scholars, and staff, and it is ensuring international perspectives are embedded within the UNH curricula. The latter is important, because the majority of students will not go abroad as an undergraduate, but will seek to gain global competencies without leaving the UNH campus.
These endeavors are underpinned by an investment in intercultural and international programming and achieving cultural diversity. We are committed to fostering socially-responsible practices and policies that strengthen an inclusive campus climate of equal access, non-discrimination and academic freedom. Quality education is our charge and in keeping with the Global Reach pillar of the UNH Brand, I am and believe my colleagues in the Global Education Center and across the University are committed to an internationalized UNH from which students will graduate as educated global citizens well prepared for the complexities of a competitive, and increasingly global work environment.