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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

CLA Task Force on Internationalization

CLA has long played a central role in the international activities of the University of Minnesota. Our faculty and students are engaged around the globe and CLA students represent the largest group studying abroad. CLA faculty collaborate with colleagues in more than 70 countries. We are the home of the University’s language programs and the place where students take courses on diverse cultures and social systems as well as the transnational processes that link them. In addition to the work underway in CLA departments, we are the home to more than a dozen centers and programs that define their missions around international projects.

In August I appointed a new task force on internationalization. Professor MJ Maynes (History) agreed to chair, and over the next few months the task force will consider a number of questions as it assesses our efforts, including:

  • What does it mean for us at this time to internationalize or incorporate global perspectives into our teaching and research? Has this become a "mature industry" where we need to fine tune and refine what we do, or are there compelling new directions and ways to leverage our international strength? Is there an Internationalization 2.0?
  • How do we best align international activities with the goals of the CLA Roadmap? How could we best leverage what we do in internationalization to advance our intent to be a destination college?
  • What are the cutting edge areas of scholarly inquiry where CLA might take the lead and have a major impact not only in our state but nationally and internationally as well? What is CLA’s comparative advantage in this field?
  • How, and how effectively, are we currently “being international”? Do all of these efforts remain vital or might we have opportunities to reallocate resources and energy to different international efforts? Are there potential cross-departmental, cross-college opportunities we have not tapped?
  • How do CLA’s efforts intersect with the focus of the Office of the Vice President for Research on promoting/facilitating international research? With the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance (GPS-Alliance) and its constituent units (e.g., the Learning Abroad Center)?
  • What short-term changes might enhance our internationalization efforts (these changes would include not simply adding more activity or resources, but also what we might stop doing in order to focus on more promising directions)? What are possible longer-term activities for which we might seek external funding (e.g, preparing for the next round of Title VI proposals)?

Members of the task force include:
Joseph Allen, Asian Languages & Literatures
Sid Bedingfield, Journalism & Mass Communication
Evelyn Davidheiser, CLA International Programs/Institute for Global Studies
Sheng He, Psychology
Lisa Hilbink, Political Science
Lynn Lukkas, Art
MJ Maynes (chair), History
Richa Nagar, Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies/CLA interdisciplinary initiatives
Matthias Rothe, German, Scandinavian & Dutch
Alex Rothman, CLA Research & Graduate Programs/Psychology
Shaden Tageldin, Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature
Karen-Sue Taussig, Anthropology
Klaas van der Sanden, Institute for Global Studies
William Viestenz, Spanish & Portuguese
Undergraduate and graduate student members (tbd)

The members of the task force have been encouraged to take a broadly collegiate, and not unit-specific, perspective as they consider these questions and topics.

I look forward to the task force’s thoughts and recommendations. The team’s work should wrap up by the end of the calendar year.

-John Coleman, dean