A new effort at the University of Arizona will develop programs designed to produce globally competitive graduates.
"Intercultural competence is critical for the UA, as it is for any cutting-edge world university," said Suzanne Panferov Reese, interim vice president for global initiatives. "In order to succeed in the global workforce, graduates need to have the ability to navigate and understand cultural differences and communicate effectively while valuing and respecting those differences."
As the University makes moves to both internationalize the campus and expand its reach around the world, the wide-ranging language and cultural expertise of College of Humanities faculty and students is an existing natural strength to align with the programs and goals of the Office of Global Initiatives, said Alain-Philippe Durand, dean of the College of Humanities.
"The understanding of global issues is a critical component of any legitimate education," Durand said. "Enhancing the intercultural competence of our students and their ability to work across and transcend boundaries is a critical concern."
At the heart of the partnership are two new faculty positions, initially funded by the Office of Global Initiatives and housed within a department of the College of Humanities. The two professors are expected to begin in the fall, with a portion of their responsibilities dedicated to developing and strengthening globally oriented programs.
"We hope to achieve sustainable, stronger and more relevant study-abroad programs, more courses that are flexible and responsive to student needs and interests, and more opportunities for students to engage in global experiences — both here and abroad — that will enhance their University experiences, making them even better prepared for careers in the global market," Panferov Reese said.
Under the collaboration, both partners will work to develop teaching, research and service programs related to languages and culture. A vital component includes working with UA Study Abroad, housed within the Office of Global Initiatives, to expand international learning opportunities.
"We hope this partnership ultimately inspires the entire UA community to engage in these kinds of programs," said Harmony DeFazio, director of UA Study Abroad and executive director of the UA Global Mobility Lab. "It's great to see a college embrace study abroad in such an intentional way, giving global opportunities a more substantive role in the academic experience."
Other opportunities as a result of the partnership include global academic exchanges, service learning programs (both domestic and abroad), inbound programs, dual degrees and other integrated pathways, language immersion programs, and cultural awareness programs.
"The University of Arizona is uniquely positioned to develop and benefit from its identity as one of the world's most accessible great universities," Durand said. "The culture and geography of the campus reflect its global character and our work addresses some of the most globally relevant issues of the day."