Report charts course for internationalization efforts

Zach Ruchman in Vietnam

A study abroad program cited in the report for its early success is a seminar launched this past summer in Hanoi, Vietnam, by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies. The program was led by Desaix Anderson, a member of the class of 1958 and a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service. Here, Zach Ruchman, a member of the class of 2010, used a children's song, "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," to help a class of 20 young children learn English. (Photo: W. Raymond Ollwerther)  

At left: The most successful study abroad programs, according to the report, have emerged out of the creative efforts of dedicated faculty and supportive departments. The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology offers a tropical biology program in Kenya in collaboration with the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Program in African Studies and Kenyan institutions. (Photo: Courtesy of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)

Hiking in Panama

Above and below: The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology also takes students to Panama to study the rich ecosystem of a tropical rain forest. (Photo: Courtesy of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) 

Observing birds in Panama

Above left: The Adelman-Slaughter Committee proposed creating a Global Scholars program, a new set of faculty positions that would bring international professors to campus on a recurring basis. There is already a precedent for such a program on campus. The School of Architecture, for example, has hosted the distinguished Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (shown here at left) for multiple semesters. (Photo: Courtesy of the School of Architecture)  

Princeton in Munich

Another popular study abroad offering is the Department of German's Princeton-in-Munich program, which takes a group of students to the Goethe Institut every June for a month of intensive language instruction. Students participating in the program last summer took a hike in the Alps. (Photo: Jamie Rankin)     Above left: The report recommends providing support for Princeton graduate students to spend time conducting research abroad. In fall 2006, John Thomas III and Starynee Adams (standing), both master in public affairs candidates at the Woodrow Wilson School, were among six graduate students who led a workshop in La Ceiba, Honduras, to provide minority politicians and activists with effective techniques for governing. (Photo: Courtesy of Starynee Adams) Below left: One goal of the Global Initiatives Funds is to permit faculty and students to travel together to work at foreign institutions and field sites. Here, Princeton religion professor Stephen F. Teiser (right) and Li Sichun, a scholar working on the preservation of Tibetan cultural artifacts, visited Potala Palace in Lhasa during a summer 2005 trip to identify teaching sites for an on-site seminar for doctoral candidates in Tibet that was offered for the first time this past summer. (Photo: Courtesy of Stephen F. Teiser)

President Shirley M. Tilghman and Provost Christopher L. Eisgruber have proposed a set of initiatives that maps out an international vision for Princeton University.

In the words of the faculty committee's recommendations upon which they based the plans, the goal is to transform Princeton into "a center for a multitude of scholarly networks humming with activity and effectively responding to changes in scholarship and the vagaries of world affairs, while creatively defining the cutting edges of global research."

"That is the right international vision for Princeton, and we should pursue it," Tilghman and Eisgruber wrote in an Oct. 17 report titled "Princeton in the World."

Students in Kenya

The document calls for the creation of Global Initiatives Funds to support international collaboration and work abroad for Princeton faculty and graduate students as well as a Global Scholars program that will bring a cadre of international professors to campus for recurring visits. More than $1 million a year from annual giving contributions has been set aside to immediately launch these initiatives. Donor support will be sought to establish the funds on a permanent basis.

University leaders also intend to seek resources to support the expansion of study abroad programs for undergraduates so that all students will have the opportunity to incorporate an international experience into their education.

Other plans include establishing a central "hub" for international initiatives in Frick Hall after the chemistry department moves from there to its new building. Further leadership and advocacy for international endeavors will be provided by a new faculty governance board -- the Council on International Teaching and Research -- and by a new associate or vice provost for international initiatives. 

Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa

Unique strengths

The report draws on the work of the President's Advisory Committee on Internationalization. Tilghman convened the faculty committee last year to investigate how Princeton should respond to the phenomenon of globalization, which is rapidly changing what students must learn and how researchers can best achieve their goals. She asked the committee to prepare a confidential report on how to "develop a set of strategic and specific measures that will enable the University to fully realize [its] aspiration to be an American university with a broad international vision."

The committee was chaired by Jeremy Adelman, chair of the Department of History and the Walter Samuel Carpenter III Professor in Spanish Civilization and Culture, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs.

The report also includes recommendations requested from Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel and Associate Dean of the College Nancy Kanach on how Princeton can enhance its study abroad programs.

Both sets of recommendations recognize that Princeton has unique characteristics and strengths that must be considered in crafting any plans for globalization. 

"We cannot simply borrow strategies that have been deployed by other American institutions, because we are different in several important ways from our peers," Tilghman and Eisgruber wrote. "Princeton focuses more on fundamental research and on its undergraduate and doctoral programs, without large professional schools in law, business and medicine that have played a leading role in international ventures at other American universities. Likewise, Princeton is smaller than many of its peers. Our size facilitates cross-disciplinary collaboration, but it also requires us to choose carefully when we decide what kinds of overseas programs we most want.

John Thomas III and Starynee Adams

"Another constraint at the undergraduate level is Princeton's required independent work -- junior papers and a senior thesis -- that limit students' choices for study abroad," they continued. "Perhaps most importantly, Princeton's ethos nurtures and depends upon a rich and demanding form of community. We insist that our faculty be present on the campus and in the classroom, and our students often develop such strong loyalties to the institution that they are reluctant to spend time away from it."

With these distinctions in mind, the Adelman-Slaughter Committee made recommendations organized around three principles:

• Internationalization should be nimble and flexible, avoiding heavy sunk costs in institutions. The committee specifically counseled against investments in satellite campuses.

• The framework for internationalization should enable and support faculty-driven activity. The University should permit research and teaching priorities to shape the ventures it launches.

• Internationalization requires an infusion of leadership, resources and commitment. The committee called upon University leaders to raise substantial new funds to support international initiatives, and it highlighted the need for effective governance mechanisms and administrative leadership to ensure that these resources are well deployed.

Stephen F. Teiser and Li Sichun

'Networks and flows'

According to the report, the three principles share a common theme: the importance of investing in Princeton's general capacity for international exchanges and research, rather than concentrating on any particular region, country or field of research.

"The committee called upon the University to encourage 'networks and flows' of faculty and students worldwide, lowering the barriers that inhibit our students and faculty from going abroad, and for scholars from other countries coming to Princeton," Tilghman and Eisgruber wrote. "By increasing the 'porosity' of the campus through increases in both export and import of people and ideas, we will ensure that Princeton's scholarly energy will be felt throughout the world."

Specific committee recommendations included:

• Creating a Global Scholars program, a new set of faculty positions that would bring international professors to campus on a recurring basis. The scholars would be expected to teach or co-teach courses; participate in ongoing workshops; and give at least one public presentation, in a workshop or lecture, during each visit, which might be for one semester in three consecutive years or half a semester in multiple years.

• Facilitating international flows of graduate students by providing travel grants and fellowships to Princeton students who need to extend their term of study to do research abroad; funds to defray the costs of having visiting foreign graduate students; and short-term housing.

• Establishing a Global Initiatives Fund to nurture new international ventures. Funding might be provided in the form of: seed grants to catalyze important research initiatives based on international collaboration between Princeton faculty and colleagues overseas; support for global networks that enable Princeton graduate students to spend significant periods in partner institutions abroad conducting research under the guidance of senior foreign faculty; and support that permits Princeton students and faculty to travel together to work for periods of time in foreign institutions and at field sites.

Tilghman and Eisgruber announced that the Global Initiatives Funds will be established immediately with annual giving contributions and will support the Global Scholars program as well as graduate student exchanges, seed grants for new ventures, global networks and other activities. Support to establish the funds on a permanent basis will be sought from donors.

Administration and support

To oversee the international initiatives, the University will create a Council on International Teaching and Research that is of comparable status to other major faculty councils, such as the Council on Science and Technology and the Council of the Humanities.

The new council will be charged with continuing the strategic planning process begun by the Adelman-Slaughter Committee; overseeing the distribution of new resources to support international visitors and projects; reviewing University policies for establishing international collaborations and partnerships; identifying changes to policies when such amendments are needed to encourage more international activity; and monitoring the University's progress in meeting its international objectives. The report spells out the membership of the council, which will represent all four divisions of the faculty.

Responsibility for the University's study abroad programs and international internships will remain under the auspices of the dean of the college, but the council might assist the dean's office by, for example, helping to fund new educational projects overseas and assisting with the development of new study abroad programs.

Implementing the new ventures will be the responsibility of a new associate or vice provost for international initiatives, who will serve as secretary to the council. The committee recommended, and Tilghman and Eisgruber concurred, that a high-level administrator would be needed to collaborate with other Princeton administrators to make the University more hospitable to international ventures; ensure that the needs of international projects and visitors are considered when new policies are crafted; and help to negotiate agreements with foreign institutions.

Members of the committee also stressed the importance of establishing a visible and central place for international initiatives at Princeton that would bring together various centers, programs, institutes and offices engaged in international initiatives. That "hub" is likely to be located in Frick Hall after the Department of Chemistry moves into its new building.

Frick is expected to be the home of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, which was launched in 2003 to conduct collaborative, interdisciplinary research and teaching on issues of global importance, and the expanded Office of International Programs, part of the Office of the Dean of the College. It also would include other facilities to support the University's internationalization efforts, such as classrooms with videoconferencing capabilities. 

The committee also recommended that the University create not only a physical center, but also a virtual equivalent on the University's website where information on international initiatives can be found in one place. The committee suggested that a public document summarizing the initiatives be produced as well.

Study abroad

Because the dean of the college had made recommendations on how to expand the undergraduate study abroad program, the Adelman-Slaughter Committee was not asked to report on that topic.

"The committee nevertheless underscored the importance of increasing the proportion of undergraduates who have a substantial experience abroad during their course of study at Princeton, and considered an expanded and proactive study abroad office to be an integral and essential part of their agenda for 'internationalizing' Princeton," Tilghman and Eisgruber wrote.

The president and the provost quoted from a report that Dean Nancy Malkiel made to the Academic Planning Group last year: "Like other leading international universities, Princeton has a responsibility to produce globally competent citizens. Global competence -- defined as a combination of substantive knowledge about international matters, an empathy with and appreciation of other cultures, foreign language proficiency, and a practical ability to function in other cultures -- should be a part of every Princeton undergraduate's education." She concluded by stating that Princeton should begin expecting all students to incorporate an international experience into their education.

The University has been expanding its study abroad program in recent years, and the question now is how best to continue to do that, Tilghman and Eisgruber wrote. "At Princeton, our most successful study abroad programs have emerged out of the creative efforts of dedicated faculty and supportive departments," they noted, citing a program in Panama offered by the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a summer seminar in Vietnam organized by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.

Malkiel has recommended that Princeton create a wide variety of options for study abroad, during the semester or during the summer, in courses that yield academic credit or in summer internships that provide experiences of a different kind. The University also could consider ways in which students could go abroad during a "gap year" between their high school and college careers.

"The main message from the dean of the college is that, if we are to maximize the number of Princeton students who go abroad as part of their education, we must be flexible about how they go abroad," Tilghman and Eisgruber wrote.

New resources will be sought to encourage faculty members and departments to design new study abroad programs; to support these new programs and expand existing study abroad and international internship programs; and to provide financial aid for students who could not otherwise afford to study or work abroad. In addition, administrative support will be needed for significant additions to the office staff to advise students, assess external programs and collaborate with departments to create new opportunities for students to study abroad.

The next step, the president and provost said, is to seek funds to support this ambitious and forward-looking plan.

"These recommendations chart a course that Princeton must pursue if it aspires to sustain or enhance its standing in the world and provide excellence in teaching and research that will make a real difference in the decades ahead," Tilghman and Eisgruber wrote. "We are pleased to endorse these proposals, and we are delighted to announce that Princeton will immediately begin fundraising to implement them."