Core Foundation: Connecting to the World Around Us

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, 8:58 a.m.
KU Lawrence staff, faculty and affiliates,

Dear Colleagues:

Comprehensive internationalization is one of the five core foundations that inform Jayhawks Rising. It represents our institutional commitment to broad international engagement and the critical role KU plays around the world. We aspire to transform the world by learning together. We each learn through our research, discovery and creative activity; we learn through our service; and we learn through educational programs and engaging experiences that prepare students to be effective leaders in a global society.

To research, to educate, to serve — to learn — we need to connect with the world around us.

Comprehensive internationalization at KU is the focus of a recent discussion I had with Senior Internationalization Officer Charles Bankart. In this video, he emphasizes making the most of the vast possibilities we have for international engagement, working together with purpose to achieve equity and excellence, and embracing our intercultural identities.

Recent Advances

Three important decisions were made in recent months to accelerate our internationalization efforts. First was establishing the Institute for International and Global Engagement, directed by Associate Professor Melissa Birch. The institute creates an umbrella for our five area studies centers and creates an opportunity to expand their connections with broader international activities going on at KU, such as utilizing our expertise to address needs of our external constituents — from the local to the global.

The second key decision was appointing Professor Megan Greene to the newly created Provost Fellow for Internationalization position. Professor Greene’s work addresses the barriers our faculty face to international work and engagement, identifies opportunities to facilitate greater connections with the world, builds those connections into our curricula and co-curricular activities, and recognizes and rewards faculty for their international work.

Finally, we changed Charlie Bankart’s title to Senior Internationalization Officer to better reflect his responsibilities and to align the role at KU with ACE best practices. He is working to align academic and administrative leadership efforts aimed at strengthening KU. The new profile helps us better gauge and grow KU’s efforts in collaboration with those of peer institutions across the country.

These three leaders have formed a steering committee that includes members from Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies, Research, the Center for Teaching Excellence, Faculty Affairs, Academic Success, as well as deans. The committee will provide key support for university planning related to KU’s internationalization efforts

Continuous Improvement

While we already distinguish ourselves in some areas of international activity — KU has students, faculty and staff from more than 120 countries and our alumni network spans the globe — we lack an organized framework for collecting data on our activity, communicating our accomplishments and assessing outcomes toward iterative improvement. To address this need, we are developing an International Engagement Index to focus on three pillars of activity:

  • strategic partnership development,

  • student mobility, and

  • faculty internationalization.

Data about our efforts in these areas will enable us to think deliberately about our outcomes, measure our success and develop plans for continuous improvement.

Internationalization helps us bring talented faculty and staff from all over the world to our university and support them in their growth and development. It affords our students a wealth of opportunities to learn from international scholars and fellow students, and it also offers a vast array of experiences globally for our students’ engagement. It allows KU to play a larger role in successfully preparing the state’s workforce and industry for global engagement. It is an integral part of our diversity and inclusion initiatives. It is how we become both equitable and excellent.

For more information, please visit Thank you for all you do for KU.

Together, we are Jayhawks Rising.



Barbara A. Bichelmeyer

Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor