Wednesday, April 29, 2009

UMKC's Worldwide Classroom

The world is our classroom, and the International Academic Programs (IAP) Office serves UMKC’s students and faculty by coordinating a variety of international initiatives. These include Study Abroad, Exchange Student partnerships, nationally competitive fellowships, and community outreach.

IAP oversees Study Abroad programs, the extraordinary opportunity enjoyed by an increasing number of UMKC students who elect to live and study in another country for periods of time ranging from a few weeks to a semester or even full academic year. Many of our returning Study Abroad students now participate in a Speakers Bureau, sharing their experiences with groups across campus. Each September we hold a Study Abroad Fair, inviting the entire campus to learn about the many programs that will be offered that year.

IAP administers exchange student agreements with other countries, and oversees those students who come to study for one or two semesters at UMKC. These students soon become valued members of our campus community, contributing to international discussion and understanding.

International partnerships to further student and faculty exchange and promote research collaboration are created through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The IAP office is charged with the responsibility of drafting MOUs which are approved and signed in the Provost’s office. These international partnerships are vital components of UMKC’s outreach and internationalization efforts. The office assists faculty who want to do research and teach abroad, and works with visiting faculty, such as Fulbright Scholars, from other countries.

IAP extends outreach efforts to the campus and the greater Kansas City community as well. Several years ago we initiated a series called Global Conversations as part of the FaCET programming. This is an informal brown bag gathering held several times each semester in which faculty and students come together to discuss topics such as international research, classroom programming, and experiences teaching abroad. The office actively participates in community groups such as the International Relations Council, the Edgar Snow Memorial Fund, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Truman Library Foundation.

Another major function of the IAP is oversight and coordination of UMKC student applications for nationally competitive fellowships including the Fulbright, DAAD, Rhodes, Truman, NSEP-Boren, the Jack Kent Cooke and many other prestigious awards. The office also manages a number of Study Abroad scholarships that assist our students who participate in Study Abroad programs.

The International Academic Programs office is one component of a rich partnership across all disciplines and units on our campus. We work closely with the International Student Affairs Office, the Applied Language Institute, SEARCH, and the Honors Program in our ongoing efforts to strengthen international initiatives at UMKC.

-Written by Linna Place, Ph.D., Interim Director, International Academic Programs

No comments: