GW to increase presence abroad

A group of GW vice presidents are set to reveal a plan to spend more than $700,000 for the expansion of GW’s international presence through study abroad, international student recruitment, research and partnerships with foreign universities.

Though GW’s international programs have been under consideration for more than a year, University President Steven Knapp is just now determining the financial commitment GW will make to this initiative.

Carol Sigelman, co-chair of the International Programs Advisory Council and associate vice president for graduate support and academic affairs, said the total cost will depends on how ambitious the initiative is.

“There’s always a challenge getting the resources we need to do what we dream of doing,” she said.

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman created IPAC in May 2006. The group is presenting a plan to Lehman this week regarding how to expand GW’s international presence.

In addition to bringing more GW students and professors to other countries, the University is also looking to reach out to international alumni for donations. Venilde Jeronimo was recently appointed to the newly created position of executive director of international advancement.

This year, Knapp will be embarking on an “Asia Tour” to visit locations including Seoul, Taipei, Beijing and Hong Kong as well as London and Paris to meet with alumni and seek potential donors.

Donna Scarboro, co- chair of IPAC and assistant vice president for Special and International Programs, said she hopes on this trip Knapp “will find new friends who want to become more familiar with GW.”

She added, “The outcome will not be immediately visible, but over a period of time, the president’s efforts combined with those of others who are looking at ways to support this important part of our mission will have good results for students and everyone.”

Knapp’s inauguration ceremonies will also emphasize his commitment to GW’s international alumni. GW as a lifelong and worldwide community is the theme of the festivities on Nov. 15.

Recently GW ranked 11th among doctoral research universities in the percentage of its undergraduate students participating in study abroad.

IPAC is looking to expand GW’s partnerships to parts of the world that are underrepresented by GW’s current roster.

“This can be a challenge, especially where the conditions affecting safety and welfare of those on campus are not what we may be accustomed to here in D.C,” Scarboro said.

The Elliott School of International Affairs currently has 18 active partnerships with international affairs schools around the globe. The Elliott School and the partner institution exchange graduate students in a joint degree program, called the Masters of International Studies.

Caroline Donovan, director of international programs for the Elliott School wrote in an e-mail, “Students benefit from the partnerships by the numerous and diverse opportunities to go abroad as an integral part of their masters programs, by the increased numbers of talented international exchange students in our classrooms across GW and through the increased recognition of the Elliott School and GW around the globe.”

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