Elevating Vanderbilt’s Global Profile
Have you seen the new GlobalVU website? I might call it “one stop shopping” for all things international at Vanderbilt. From resources for international students and connections to overseas alumni chapters, to international research and educational programs, the site is designed to connect people to resources while at the same time demonstrating the depth and breadth of Vanderbilt’s global engagement.
We launched GlobalVU as part of a multi-pronged action plan that was inspired by the International Strategy Working Group Report from 2017. This faculty-driven report made the case that enhancing our global profile was of utmost importance.
Why is our global engagement important?
Over the past two decades, Vanderbilt’s national stature has continued to rise. We are definitely known as a premier research university offering excellence in education. Our global profile and engagement are critical for even further advancing our mission of excellence in discovery and learning.
For example, global recognition helps our faculty connect with new collaborators around the world, which in turn has a profound impact on funding opportunities. Our profile helps us attract the most competitive international students who add to our community in important ways. International engagement in various forms increases opportunities for enriched cultural competency toward creating “global” citizens. And as word of Vanderbilt’s work around the world spreads further, our research, scholarship and creative works have increased potential to more broadly benefit all of society. In essence, profile and engagement are mutually reinforcing.
Through the GlobalVU website, we want all prospective students to see what programs Vanderbilt has to offer that might take them literally and figuratively around the world. We want international students to see the vibrant and supported community offered here on campus. We want our students to be well positioned for competitive fellowships and scholarships. We want scholars from around the globe to see the groundbreaking work we are doing and connect with our faculty. And we want alumni, foundations and industry partners to see how Vanderbilt is making a difference in the world and how they can be a part of it.
The site is also designed to be an internal resource. It will help faculty, staff and students find opportunities or locate administrative support for international engagement. Check out the resource finder page for links to everything from the English Language Center to faculty funding programs.
GlobalVU is just one of many initiatives designed to advance our global profile and engagement. Last fall, we launched the Global Research and Engagement Micro-Grant Program to help faculty take advantage of international opportunities as they arise and to make sure Vanderbilt faculty are part of the global dialogue on important events shaping our world. Read here about awards that took faculty to Lima, Tijuana and Edinburgh. If you are just now hearing about this program, it’s not too late! We are accepting applications on a rolling basis.
Our students are also venturing far and wide after graduation. The Career Center’s new integrated approach to student scholarships and fellowships has led to an increase in prestigious national awards from organizations such as Fullbright, Marshall, Luce and Schwarzman. These students not only gain invaluable experiences but they also become ambassadors for Vanderbilt.
In January, we announced the first cohort of Chancellor’s Public Voices Fellows. Through this fellowship, faculty will develop communication plans aimed to help amplify the impact of specific research projects to targeted audiences around the world. Did you know that more than 1.3 million students from around the globe have participated in Vanderbilt’s online MOOCs since they launched several years ago? We continue to look for new opportunities through which each school and college’s different approach to online education can be expanded to international audiences. By maintaining our commitment to excellence, and sharing our world-class scholarship and discoveries, we advance the cause of accessibility and the dissemination of new knowledge around the globe.
Exciting work continues on other parts of our international strategy. For example, the new residential college under construction on West End Avenue will include an iconic 20-story tower with several floors of apartments dedicated to a visiting fellows program with on-campus housing. Through this, we will bring more distinguished visitors to campus to work with our own faculty, staff and students. I am also exploring new institutional and administrative arrangements to coordinate all of these efforts, ranging from an over-arching center to executive leadership. These efforts are in development, and I will share more as they progress.
Please take some time and checkout GlobalVU. I would love to have your feedback. And if you have your own story to share about how your work is having a global impact please let me know!
Susan R. Wente
P.S. In the October 2015 Open Dore, I wrote about our taking One VU to the World. In it I outlined guiding principles for the development of Vanderbilt’s international strategy. Click here to read more.
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