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International Reach From Kansas Roots

March 26, 2018

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 18 seconds

Dear students, staff and faculty:

KU administrators stand in front of the University of Kansas office in Costa Rica.Shortly before spring break, a team of University of Kansas faculty, staff, and students celebrated something special. KU and the University of Costa Rica marked the 60th anniversary of their institutional partnership — the oldest academic and scholarly exchange program in the Western Hemisphere.

It’s quite the distinction, and one of many for KU. Jayhawks have a long, rich history of international pursuits and international success. Recently I touted our ongoing achievement as a leading institution for Fulbright Scholars, with six faculty earning the honor this year. In addition, our seven graduate students who received Fulbright awards this year also are expanding KU’s reach in countries across Central America, Europe, and Central Asia.

Whether our studies and scholarship take us to the cold of Greenland and Antarctica, to the academic halls and research facilities of Europe, or encourage us to explore the culture and contributions of Latin America, Africa and Asia, we have the opportunity to be global ambassadors who both contribute and absorb. This is how we grow as people and as an institution – through exchanging ideas and perspectives and through sharing and increasing our knowledge.

Study Abroad

The most recent Open Doors report shows that KU ranks 18th in the nation among public doctoral universities in the percentage of undergraduate students who participate in study abroad. More than one in four KU undergrads take part in study abroad opportunities before they graduate. And KU has a stated goal to make those figures even better. More than 50 academic programs are working with the Office of Study Abroad to map majors to enriching study abroad experiences, including opportunities such as internships, research, and service learning. The goal is that all degree programs are able to make these experiences an accessible component of a student’s college experience and academic preparation.

While finances can often be a barrier to a study abroad experience, help is available at KU. This year the Office of Study Abroad received a record number of applications for the Gilman Scholarship, which specifically assists undergraduates who receive Pell Grants. Motivated and results-oriented sophomores can also seek out the KU Global Scholars Program, which supports those who want to pursue internationally focused research. And in fall 2019, OSA will begin a program through a competitively awarded grant from the Council on International Education Exchange to help a number first-generation and Pell-eligible students planning study abroad with the costs of their first passport.

Advanced Work

Similarly there are support programs in place for faculty, staff and graduate students hoping to further or complete international research or study. Faculty have received travel grants to support visits to partner institutions to assess curriculum and further develop study abroad programs. KU’s CIK Fund assists departments that want to build institutional exchanges and academic collaborations with institutions in China, India, Korea and other Southeast Asian countries. The fund also provides support for faculty who want to conduct research there.

During the past fiscal year, nearly 100 graduate students were able to take part in credit-bearing study abroad and another 60 were able to attend international conferences, engage in research, or take part in arts and culture exchange opportunities.

Kansas Roots

Those of us whose roots remain in Kansas also have the ability to advance and develop KU’s international reach and global impact. KU students have opportunities and access to countless international experiences.

In 2013, a reorganization within the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences capitalized on some of its strengths and launched the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. The school offers more than 40 language choices for students and with it the chance to be transformed through cultural inquiry and appreciation, while they build in-demand job skills.

The Global Awareness Program certificate helps ensure all students have more control of their educational experience regardless of their major. It also shows prospective employers that what one does outside the classroom contributes to how one performs inside the classroom.

KU also offers opportunities to learn from each other. More than 8.5 percent of KU’s student body is of international origin. Many of these students proudly organize and take part in popular events for the benefit of the entire campus community like the monthly International Coffee Hour hosted by International Student Services and the annual International Jayhawk Festival.

Tip of the IcebergStudents in the KU School of Music perform at the University of Costa Rica during a visit that celebrated the two institutions' 60-year-long scholarly partnership.

These are only a handful of the many avenues KU presents across our schools and offices to advance cultural understanding and expand scholarly exchange. Truly, we must both guard and feed the momentum we possess in this arena.

During our recent visit to Costa Rica, several KU students from the School of Music were on hand to help commemorate the occasion. It was fitting in that no fewer than three KU Music graduates have served on the faculty at the University of Costa Rica. In April, students from the school will also perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. – an opportunity to reach the large, diplomatic population there and stand as yet another KU distinction with international influence.

I think it’s time we all acknowledge there’s a new KU tradition to celebrate. Just as much as we wave the wheat and proudly declare the Rock Chalk Chant, KU embraces our international bonds.



News & Notes

Congratulations to KU Men’s Basketball on advancing to the Final Four in San Antonio! For those of us watching the next round from home please keep celebrating safely. We can all be proud.

BBreathe Easy at KU wants to help the students, staff, and faculty of the Lawrence and Edwards campuses finish the transition to a tobacco and vape free KU on July 1. Learn more and connect to resources at the Tobacco Free KU website.

The KU Powwow and Indigenous Culture Festival will be from noon to 10 p.m., Saturday, March 31, at the Lied Center of Kansas. The free annual event, coordinated by the First Nations Student Association in partnership with Haskell Indian Nations University and several KU offices, also features presentations, workshops, and kids’ activities. 

Hey, KU graduate students, April is all about you! KU will celebrate Graduate Student Appreciation Week with a variety of activities throughout next week and well into the month of April. As part of those events, the Office of Graduate Studies will co-sponsor with the Office of Diversity & Equity the regular Community Table from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, in the Anschutz Library. While supplies last, enjoy free lunch from Ramen Bowls.

Mark your calendars! Three candidates for the Chief Information Officer position will be on campus in early April to meet with faculty, staff and students.

Join the ADA Resource Center for Equity and Access at the rededication ceremony for Hawk Route at noon, Tuesday, April 10, at the east side of Budig Hall. Hawk Route is the accessible route through campus that minimizes the effects of elevation gain for individuals with mobility concerns. The rededication will highlight the new wayfinding system designed by KU design student Piper Holt.

Foundation Distinguished Professor Dennis O’Rourke uses molecular genetic analysis of ancient DNA to reveal secrets about the first inhabitants of the Americas. Learn more at his Inaugural Distinguished Professor Lecture, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, in the Big 12 Room of the Kansas Union.

The Office of Graduate Studies is seeking nominations by April 9 for the 2018 Argersinger Dissertation Award. Graduate faculty are encouraged to nominate doctoral students whose dissertations signify high quality, originality, and impact. The dissertations must have been defended on or after April 9, 2017 and before April 9, 2018.

The annual KU Faculty and Staff Wellness Fair will be from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday April 4 in the Kansas Union Ballroom. More than 50 local organizations and campus partners will be on hand.

The thought-provoking “What Were You Wearing?” installation, coordinated by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center, will soon be back on campus. Visit the Kansas Union Gallery from April 9 to April 27 to see what survivors of sexual violence endure and gain fresh perspective on victim blaming.

The Office of Diversity & Equity and the School of Journalism & Mass Communications present “Moving Through the Margins and Transforming the Classroom” presented by Visiting Enhancing Excellence Scholar and Emmy award winner Dr. Janice Collins, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, April 2, in the Jayhawk Room of Kansas Union. A reception will follow.

The next Legislative Brown Bag lunch led by KU State Relations Director Kelly Reynolds will be noon to 1 p.m., Friday, March 30, in the Malott Room of the Kansas Union. Learn more about activities in the Statehouse and their potential impact.

The Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis will hold its annual Summer Statistical Institute from May 21 through June 8. Faculty and staff may be able to apply grant funding and an early bird rate is available for students through April 15. Sessions include Statistical Software: R; Python Data Science; and Structural Equation Models. Full details and registrations is available on the Stats Camp web page.

Several campus offices at KU and Haskell University will host a screening and conversation with the filmmakers of “More Than a Word” at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 29, at Haskell Auditorium.

The next Lunchtime Conversation on Equity and Inclusion will focus on the world of service animals the Americans with Disabilities Act. Lisa Beck and her KSDS service dog-in-training, Twilight, will be on hand to help with the discussion. The brown-bag talk begins at noon, Thursday, April 5, in the KU Visitor Center Conference Room.

Voting for Staff Senate representation comes to a close at 4 p.m., Friday, March 30. All KU staff are encouraged to review the candidates and then vote for their representatives.


Provost's Message Signature: 

Rock Chalk,

Neeli Bendapudi

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Follow me on Twitter at @KUProvostNeeli and the Provost Office at @KUProvost. Join the office on Facebook at /KUprovostoffice/. Join the office on Instagram at /KUprovost/.

This issue of Strong Ties as well as past ones can be found on the Provost Strong Ties web page25.

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