Mid-April 2020 Update
Our Committment to International Affairs
April 16, 2020
I hope you are all doing well and that you and your families are staying healthy as we navigate this extraordinary moment in history.
For the Office of International Affairs, our commitment to international engagement, transnational mobility, and global learning has never been greater. While it has been trying to watch the cancellation of our study abroad programs, the departure of international students, the deferrals of visiting scholars, and the general isolationism and xenophobia that the pandemic has stirred, the importance of the global ethos of our campus and community--and the need for us to collectively solve issues that transcend boundaries--has never been more apparent.
With this said, OIA is doubling down on our commitment to ensure that IUPUI is home to diverse and top-notch international students and scholars; that the campus unapologetically embraces its international identity as core to its mission, and that our students, faculty, and staff have opportunities to engage with the world, whether they study abroad, conduct global research, or transcend boundaries in classrooms. What we do matters more than ever, and I would like to provide you with some updates as we look to the future of international education at IUPUI.
International Students: The rollercoaster of the COVID-19 pandemic has not been easy for IUPUI’s international students. Though some have departed the U.S., many have remained here to finish the Spring 2020 semester remotely. OIA has been regularly communicating with international students to keep them informed and provide guidance during the COVID-19 emergency. OIA is providing its visa services, advising, and programming virtually, and we are grateful for the essential staff who continue to come to campus as needed to process critical immigration documents for our international students, scholars, and departments.
We are obviously concerned about the ability of current and new international students to come to campus, and are working with Jay Gladden, Janice Blum, and others to develop online enrollment options for Fall 2020. For undergraduates, we are exploring ways to offer the 10-15 most common courses for international students in fully online formats for Fall 2020. OIA has worked with Boyd Bradshaw and the Division of Enrollment Management to increase scholarship offers to new undergraduates, and is actively engaging admitted students through personalized virtual meetings. Planning for the Fall 2021 recruitment cycle is underway, and we continue to support IUPUI schools in developing cooperative enrollment agreements with institutions abroad.
Study Abroad: The Study Abroad office has been supporting school fiscal officers through the process of refunding student expenses associated with cancelled programs, in coordination with the Registrar, Bursar, and Student Financial Services offices. The cancellation of our study abroad programs this year was particularly disappointing, as IUPUI was again on its way to achieving a record year of students studying abroad. Nonetheless, we anxiously await and are planning for when we can again support program leaders and increase the number of IUPUI students studying abroad.
Curriculum Internationalization: It has never been more obvious how much we need global learning at home, and we are intentionally expanding our resources to support this work. We are delighted that the IUPUI Faculty Council and the Division of Student Affairs recently endorsed the IUPUI Dimensions of Global Learning , which define global preparedness for all students. OIA will offer professional development sessions this summer (virtually) and throughout the year to support global learning and international virtual exchange, and the office is partnering with the Division of Undergraduate Education to integrate global learning across the First Year Experience. Please note too that faculty bids are still being accepted for the Fall 2020 Diplomacy Lab, a U.S. State Department initiative where faculty and students can explore world problems and contribute to foreign policy.
International Scholars: Worldwide visa issuance has been suspended, and start dates for new international personnel have been deferred to June 1, though this date will likely be extended. OIA continues to work closely with leadership at the university and school levels to coordinate plans for their scholars’ future arrival. Our international scholar services team also continues to process visa applications to secure work authorization for IUPUI’s international personnel who are already located in the U.S.<
Sustainable partnerships: Now more than ever, OIA is committed to making the world a better place, and we are engaging with primary international university partners to consider research collaborations, curriculum exchange, study abroad, community engagement, and funding opportunities that are framed around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goal is not only to use the SDGs to anchor international partnerships and consortia but to use the SDGs to introduce interdisciplinary global problem-solving and community engagement in coursework and research agendas. If you are interested in joining a group to further this important work, please contact Ian McIntosh
While this is clearly unsteady terrain, and our international mobility will likely be curtailed for some time, our commitment to internationalization at IUPUI has never been firmer. I send you all my deepest gratitude for your partnership, support, and confidence in the potential of a global education.
Hilary E. Kahn, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor for International Affairs, IUPUI
Associate Vice President for International Affairs, Indiana University
Associate Professor of Anthropology, IUPUI
IU Bicentennial Professor 2019-2020