Nomination submitted by: Lesa Griffiths and Lisa Chieffo, Director and Associate Director, Center for International Studies
In 1923, the first group of American students to study abroad sailed from New York to Paris. Hailing from the University of Delaware, these eight students comprised the first UD Foreign Study Group.
In 2000, with 83 years of experience in international education, the University of Delaware’s Faculty Senate passed a resolution “To develop an international perspective in order to live and work effectively in an increasingly global society,” making internationalization an official part of the UD’s mission.
In 2001, the University of Delaware established the Center for International Studies (CFIS) to coordinate and facilitate internationalization of its academic programs. The Center is charged with providing leadership, strategic vision, and administrative support to enhance international teaching, research, and service at the university. Since its inception, the number of international initiatives has increased significantly, as a broad range of disciplines strive to achieve the Faculty Senate goal. CFIS staff members work with administrators, faculty, students, and residence life coordinators to create initiatives within the curriculum, outside of class and through study abroad experiences. As Provost Dan Rich describes, "Our goal has been to add an international aspect to all facets of a student's life.”
Classroom-Based Curricular Initiatives
One clear indicator of UD’s commitment to internationalization in the classroom is that half of the majors have a language requirement. Equally significant are the special programs initiated by CFIS. The Global Agenda Speaker Series, for example, brings high-profile individuals to campus from government agencies, media outlets and non-governmental organizations to speak about current international events and global issues. In addition, CFIS sponsors an annual Global citizenship Faculty Fellows grant competition and workshop for faculty members who have a plan for infusing one or more of their courses with global content. So far nearly 60 faculty members have received funds and attended the workshop designed to introduce them to new pedagogical strategies for the inclusion of international themes in their courses.
CFIS also works on departmental initiatives. One of the successful collaborations resulted in helping the East Asian Studies Program to secure a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Thus far, the grant has been used to revamp existing courses. expand existing course offerings (particularly in the area of Chinese language), and hire new faculty. Enrollment in Chinese language courses has increased by 250% since 2002.
There are over 30 registered student organizations on campus that are international in scope, with interests ranging from religion, culture and language to the global environment. Additionally, the Office of Resident Life instituted a curricular approach to its residence hall programming, which now includes a mandatory global component. One popular campus tradition is the CFIS-sponsored International Film Series which takes place in the fall. This fall’s serious featured 10 films including the award-winning South African film Tsotsi.
Study Abroad Initiatives
In 2003, the Faculty Senate voted to require a Discovery Learning Experience for all undergraduates at UD. These three credits may be earned by completing an internship, or through service learning, independent study or research, experiential learning or study abroad. For the first time, study abroad became linked to a curricular requirement, not because of courses offered on a particular program, but because of the value of the international experience itself. In order to facilitate participation of students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, CFIS awarded over $350,000 in need-based funding.
Additionally, the Learning Integrated Freshman Experience (LIFE) programs have made significant progress in attracting first year students to study abroad. “Students not only benefit from their own personal experiences, but they and the faculty members who direct these study abroad programs also bring that new global perspective back to the campus,” says Provost Dan Rich. These efforts have resulted in a 70% increase in study abroad participation over the last five years.
"In recent years, many at the University have worked hard to increase study abroad opportunities, to add scholarship support for study abroad students, to negotiate agreements with foreign institutions and to administer programs in agriculture, business and other disciplines to aid foreign nations. Our academic units also have increased the number of foreign students at the University and the number of countries they represent. This recognition of the good work of our University colleagues the Institute for International Education is thus especially gratifying."
—University of Delaware President David P. Roselle