The World in Our Midst
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 36 seconds
Students, staff and faculty:
The University of Kansas has a rich history of connecting with the world — either through study abroad, faculty research and networking, the Fulbright Program, or international students pursuing degrees here.
Last week was International Education Week. The Office of International Programs spent the week showcasing and celebrating the opportunities and influences to be found here and abroad.
College-level study is hard for most students and I’m continually amazed by the distinction of the international populations on our campuses. These students, more than 2,100 strong, are tackling challenging subjects, and many are doing so while also working hard to develop their English proficiency and to navigate an unfamiliar culture. Even under the best circumstances, it can be intense.
During one of the opening events last week, International Student Services honored dozens of international students who hold leadership roles on our campuses. Not only are these students working on their professional goals, they are also contributing to a greater sense of community at KU. Here are just a few students who are building Jayhawk connections.
Fulbright Scholar Jessy Carolina Ayestas, a doctoral student from Honduras studying educational leadership and policy studies, is active in the KU Fulbright Scholars Association, the Latin American Graduate Organization and KU Student Senate. She also works in Graduate Studies as an assistant in the areas of recruitment, admissions, policy and programming.
Nicole Montoya is a chemical engineering senior from Honduras and Costa Rica. She’s a recipient of the International Excellence Scholarship and works in the Berkland Drug Development Laboratory of Distinguished Professor Cory Berkland. She’s become an international student orientation leader and also assists in organizing events for international student orientation.
Zsófia Oszlánczi, originally from Hungary and now a permanent resident, is an undergraduate in Communication Studies with minors in French and Business. She has served as president of KU’s International Student Association, which helps other international students make connections and get the most out of their time at KU.
Doctoral student Han Wang of China has led through her ability to perform under deep scrutiny. Wang, a student of Professor Steven Spooner in the School of Music, has been bringing notoriety to KU through her sublime competition performances. Earlier this year she earned top honors at the United States Virtuoso Artists International Piano Competition, a grand prize at the Metropolitan International Piano Competition and third prize at the Chopin International Piano Competition.
Doctoral student in electrical engineering Mustafa Al Qadi, from Iraq, is president of Global Partners and the Iraqi Student Association. He’s also a member of multiple student organizations, societies, and student boards. His research focus is the field of optical communication, fiber-optic, and laser systems. He is currently a GTA and GRA in the department and plans to work as a university professor to utilize both the industrial and academic experiences he has gained.
Undergraduate Student Senators Humberto Gomez Salinas, Mexico, and Dayo Igun, Nigeria, are members of the Student Legislative Action Committee and this fall spent time helping American students register to vote. A short video they participated in explains why they felt compelled to get classmates excited about an election they themselves can’t participate in. They live here. They care about the people here. They care about what happens at KU.
At KU, leaders emerge from all corners of our campuses, even as they arrive from all corners of the globe. Some of our international students may plan to return home and put their new degrees to work in the community they grew up in while others may decide Lawrence and KU will be their new home for at least the foreseeable future. Regardless of their final destination, all are forever changed by their experiences here at KU. They become leaders who also serve as informal ambassadors for KU and for greater understanding among people and nations.
We owe our international students, faculty and staff a community that welcomes them and also one that thrives because of them. This isn’t just the job of International Programs or the Provost Office. We all, as a community, must stand together as one and do our part to ensure that KU becomes the very world we aspire to connect with. Another simpler way is to reach out to one of our international Jayhawks and take some time provide a warm Kansas welcome, learn their story, and share your own.
News & Notes
The Office of First-year Experience is accepting nominations for the next KU Common Book. Anyone with a KU email address can submit a title, author, or topic for consideration. The selection should provide an opportunity for shared intellectual experiences that invite analysis, foster critical thinking and reflect the type of reasoned discourse expected at a university. Nominations due by Nov. 25.
The next Campus Budget Conversation will be from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 5, in Budig Hall, Room 120. Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Carl Lejuez will review the latest information about Lawrence campus budget reductions and also share current progress in development of a new budget model that better aligns spending with university priorities. The event will be livestreamed and recorded.
Coordinators of the Social Justice Fellows program are accepting applications for the spring 2019 semester course until Dec. 16. Social Justice Fellows is an intensive professional development opportunity for faculty and staff that covers numerous scholarly topics related to marginalized identities, oppression, equity, inclusion and privilege. Participants must be able to attend at least seven of the eight sessions.
Assistant Professor of Social Welfare Megan Paceley was selected to receive the Emerging Scholar Award from the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA). The award honors a recent (pre-tenure) doctoral graduate who is doing meritorious scholarship in the field. The honor was bestowed earlier this month at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting in Orlando.
KU’s annual United Way fund drive will end on Stop Day, Friday, Dec. 7, and across campus units have held book sales, bingo games, raffles and more to raise funds toward the overall campus goal of $222,222. While every penny matters, the real key to success will be contributions through employee payroll deduction or larger gifts. As Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27, approaches, faculty and staff are encouraged to consider if a contribution to United Way of Douglas County fits with their personal charitable plans. KU employees can make a pledge online.
Community Table makes a comeback for the end of the semester. Members of the KU community are invited to a free lunch from Ramen Bowls, while supplies last, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 5, in Anschutz Library. Thank you to staff in the Office of Diversity & Equity for their support to make this happen.
The 94th Annual Holiday Vespers, present by the KU School of Music, will be Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Lied Center. Performances are 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets and information are available at lied.ku.edu. Free Pre Vespers performances will be at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Bales Organ Recital Hall.
The KU Brand Center was recently expanded with additional resources to help faculty and staff, as well as students representing the university at conferences and meetings, present the institution in a consistent manner and with a professional finish. The site includes a variety of downloadable templates for items such as research posters, agendas, nametags, event programs, as well as Powerpoint and Keynote templates for speaking engagements.
Foundation Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Yong Zhao will deliver his Inaugural Distinguished Professor Lecture “What Works May Hurt: Side Effects in Education” at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 27, in the Big 12 Room of the Kansas Union. Zhao, who holds a joint appointment in the School of Business will look at changes in educational practices that sometimes deliver unintended consequences. The lecture is open to the public; a reception will follow.
A recent installment of Bloom’s Sixth, the blog by Associate Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Associate Professor of Journalism Doug Ward, offers tips on how faculty can better manage tumultuous discussions in the classroom. The techniques were shared through a workshop led by Jennifer Ng, director of academic inclusion at CTE and associate professor of educational leadership.
The Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship recently announce the launch of the SGF Society Mentor Program. The program takes advantage of the growing SGF alumni network of successful professionals in the private sector, government, and higher education across the nation and pairs an alumnus with a current fellow at KU. The fellowship is a distinctive KU program that provides support, development opportunities, and now individualized mentoring for exceptional doctoral students in key disciplines who demonstrate the promise to make significant contributions to their fields and society.
Safe travels for Thanksgiving holiday. KU offices will be closed both Thursday, Nov. 22, and Friday, Nov. 23, for the holiday.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
This issue of Provost's Message as well as past messages from this office can be found on the Provost's Message web page25.