UCR International Affairs Creates a Team

A new location and a name change reflect the overall mission of advancing the international objectives of the university

Kelechi Kalu, UCR’s vice provost for International Affairs, answers questions during the International Faculty Orientation Sept. 29.

By Shanon Langlie

Once scattered across the campus, the offices that work with international students, staff and faculty are moving together to the third floor of the Surge building. By the end of the month, they will be in new office space, and known collectively as the International Affairs Office. They will report to Vice Provost for International Affairs Kelechi Kalu.

“The creation of the International Affairs Office represents a significant step forward in our efforts to have a greater impact in California and around the world,” said Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox. “Vice Provost Kalu and his team play a key role in preparing our students for an increasingly globalized world and in broadening the impact of our groundbreaking research.”

Chancellor Kim Wilcox in China

Dean Yunzeng Wang from the School of Business Administration (right) chats with Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox in Shanghai

International Affairs serves the entire campus, providing a place to connect research programs, study abroad, and facilitate UCR’s considerable international activity.

“Internationalization is about working with students, faculty and staff to fully develop their abilities to compete intellectually and economically so that they are able to operate effectively in other cultures and settings in ways that improve lives in their communities and around the world,” said Kalu.

As new collaborative efforts and ideas emerge, International Affairs will be recruiting key positions, said Shanon Langlie, communications manager. “The office will support existing international projects, create new programs, and build an expanded web presence to showcase UCR’s vibrant international dimensions.”

Drawing on the rich history of international programs and partnerships, more than 30 administrators, faculty and staff served on an advisory council to create a guiding document for UCR’s international goals. Their recommendations focus on five key areas:

  • Expand international learning experiences both on campus and abroad.
  • Grow the number of international students and visiting faculty scholars at UCR.
  • Advance interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship on major global issues.
  • Magnify UC Riverside’s global presence by expanding faculty research collaborations, institutional/regional partnerships engagement with international alumni.
  • Advance our mission as a land-grant university by promoting collaboration with Inland Empire international business ventures.

One Stop Shopping

The International Student Resource Center and the International Scholar Center will merge to become the new International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). Kimberly Gentile serves as the interim director. Kelly Eldridge Hinosawa is the associate director. “I am very excited to move back to campus because the central location will allow international students easier access to our programs and services,” Hinosawa said. “Having our international students and faculty in the same spot creates opportunities for connection, cultural exchange and learning for students, faculty and staff across campus. It will spark curiosity and build empathy for different ways of being.” She said international students, faculty and staff bring unique global perspectives to the campus.

Kimberly Gentile answers questions at the International Faculty Orientation

Kimberly Gentile answers questions at the International Faculty Orientation

The Study Abroad Programs will be called Education Abroad, and it will respond to increasing student interest in international research, internships, and volunteer or service-learning programs. Assistant Director LaSharon McLean Perez said she is looking forward to working in closer proximity to faculty and student advising staff. “These two groups serve as a key touch points to students who are thinking about going abroad. We need their help to let students know that studying abroad is important and accessible.”

Allisa Miller, assistant director of international and out of state admissions in Undergraduate Admissions, said the merger will increase the visibility of international students and scholars on the main campus and will centralize services to help UCR students and faculty thrive.

The increased outreach to faculty has already started to pay off. Both the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Religious Studies were awarded Academic Integration Grants from the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP). UCEAP is the system-wide education abroad office. The Academic Integration Grants are designed to support projects that integrate study abroad coursework into the department’s curricula. Professor Jinsong Zhang led the Chemistry department’s integration project. After conducting a thorough course review, Zhang and his colleagues created new web resources focused on education abroad programs approved for chemistry credit.

“Study abroad provides students with excellent academic experiences and international cultural enrichments, enhancing their UC studies and preparing them for successfully entering a global job market”, said Zhang.

UCR holds a celebration and bon voyage for students studying abroad.

UCR holds a celebration and bon voyage for students studying abroad.

Vice Provost Kalu points out that this is not new, it is just reimagined. “The world is already here — it is reflected in the diversity of our faculty, students and staff; it is in our scholarship, research, alumni and community partnerships,” said Kalu. “Our goal is to help amplify the message that UCR is in the world and the world is at UCR.”

Bella Merlin, UCR professor, signing her latest book at the National Theatre, central London, Great Britain, before a panel discussion about stage fright in June, 2016. Anthony Upton/AP Images

Bella Merlin, UCR professor, signing her latest book at the National Theatre, central London, Great Britain, before a panel discussion about stage fright in June, 2016.
Anthony Upton/AP Images

 

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-4756
E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

Additional Contacts

Shanon Langlie
E-mail: shanon.langlie@ucr.edu

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