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Volume 10 Edition 6: March 2011: Print edition

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Update on Internationalization Task Force's Work

Working with the support of the American Council on Education and at the request of UNCG Provost Dave Perrin, in September 2010 UNCG launched a sixteen-month faculty-led Internationalization Task Force (ITF) to assess current internationalization efforts and, guided by the Strategic Plan, develop strategies for further internationalization of UNCG. ITF faculty members come from the College and all professional schools on campus.

To introduce this effort and elicit faculty feedback, ITF two-person faculty teams have been visiting departmental meetings across the University over the Spring Semester. To date, over 30 academic departments representing all Schools and the College of Arts and Sciences have been visited. Hundreds of faculty members have taken part in these discussions and have completed surveys inventorying faculty expertise. Two focus groups will take place in late-March where key faculty stakeholders engaged in curriculum and student outcomes efforts will be engaged in determining how the University can better articulate and ultimately integrate internationalization into the teaching, research, service and creative endeavors of UNCG.

Toward the end of Spring Semester and over the summer months, ITF members will undertake data analysis of information collected to-date (visits, focus groups, surveys) with a goal of establishing an institutional ‘baseline’ on internationalization. In the Fall Semester, ITF members will be looking at how we can build on this work. A particular goal is to establish some type of transparent and accessible ‘annual data collection and communication system’ which could better harness and leverage the wide and deep expertise of our faculty, staff and students. In this work it is anticipated that ITF will ‘join forces’ with parallel efforts taking place on campus that also connect with UNCG’s Strategic Plan (eg. economic, cultural and community engagement; education and leadership development; sustainability, etc.).

For further information about the Internationalization Task Force, please contact: Dr. Penelope Pynes, Associate Provost for International Programs at: pjpynes@uncg.edu.

 faculty & staff

IPC Community Garden Update    On Saturday, February 12, a group of students and IPC staff planted the firstIPC gardeners seeds in the International Programs garden. The garden is one small part of a university-wide sustainability initiative.

The goal is that by 2050, the university will be carbon-neutral, which means it will not produce more carbon emissions than it takes in. The Sustainability Committee is currently developing a climate action plan for the Chancellor to sign so that UNCG can start officially moving towards these goals. Over the next two years, the committee will be re-evaluating transportation, water, and energy use in teams in order to suggest improvements to move towards better climate control. Some changes are already in motion. For example, dining services is setting up to compost, and the committee is also looking into collecting rain water on top of the parking decks.

The gardening was organized by Lindsay Armistead, Transfer Credit Advisor, who planned everything from ordering the seeds to designing the layout to providing paint to design signs for the garden. She is also on the Sustainability Committee.

Along with Lindsay, the gardeners included staff members Denise Bellamy, Director of Study Abroad & Exchange (SAE), Tom Martinek, Assistant Director of SAE, Kaitlin Ritchie, Incoming Exchange Coordinator, and Katie Ostrowka, Graduate Assistant. Seth Fisher, a UNCG student, and Audrey Paquet, an international student from France, also helped to prepare the soil and plant the seeds.

The seeds planted were dill, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, lettuce mix, and spinach. They will take a couple of months to fully grow and be ready for picking, but with the warmer weather already making an appearance, we hope it helps to nourish the seeds quickly.

WISE Report

We spend a lot of time getting students ready for their study abroad experience, but how do we get faculty ready to lead them? On February 11-12, International Programs staff brought a group of faculty members to the third annual Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement (WISE) at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. WISE is a great place to address issues that many faculty members are concerned about. It is intended to help educators integrate intercultural components into their study abroad programs and to help faculty prepare themselves and their students for their future intercultural experience.

IPC sponsored seven UNCG faculty and staff to attend the workshop with the intention of building a team of on-campus help for other faculty members. Led by Dr. Penelope Pynes and Logan Stanfield, the faculty who attended WISE are: Drs. Cathy Hamilton (Leadership & Service Learning), Maura Heyn (Classical Studies), Kathleen Macfie (Russian Studies), Keith Mobley (Counseling & Educational Development), Cathryne Schmitz (Social Work), Chiaki Takagi (Japanese Studies), and Jonathan Zarecki (Classical Studies). Dr. C.K. Kwai and Sara Poole of UNCEP also attended.

Also present at WISE was undergraduate student Sesaney Green, who participated in a student panel which gave attendees a chance to hear the students’ reflections on their own experiences studying abroad and crossing cultures. Sesaney studied abroad as part of the FIPSE/Atlantis Sponsored Global Work with Immigrant Kids (GWIK) project in Barcelona, Spain. Now a senior, the impact of her study abroad experience on community engagement is evidenced by her work at the Doris Henderson Newcomer’s School in Greensboro.

Of the group, several led sessions at the workshop. Kathleen Macfie presented her viewpoint on “How I Implemented What I Learned” from WISE, which she attended in 2009; and with Cathryne Schmitz presented a session on “Bringing it All Together.” Nell Pynes led a session titled “Building a Foundation with DMIS and IDI.”

 international students

Student designs website for future exchange studentswww.UNCGstudent.com

Giorgio Tomassetti, an international exchange student from the Universita Carlo Cattaneo, Italy, began studying at UNCG in the fall semester of 2010. Based on his experiences as an exchange student, Giorgio created a website for otherinternational exchange students providing useful tips about life on and off campus. This site is designed to help make yourinternational exchange experience easier and more enjoyable.

You can check out his website at www.uncgstudent.com.*

(*Disclaimer: This website is not affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro).

Academic Achievement Awards

On February 10, 2010, the following degree-seeking students were awarded for academic achievement for attaining a 3.5 or better GPA for fall 2010. A reception was held to present the students with their certificates and to honor their good work. The students are listed here alphabetically by last name, along with their home country and degree they are seeking. A total of 151 students received an award. IPC congratulates everyone on a successful semester!

 special programs

Virtual classroom at Lloyd International Honors College residence hall

As part of UNCG’s initiative of internationalizing the curriculum, a virtual classroom was built in the Lloyd International Honors College North Spenser residence hall, equipped with microphones, cameras, and two flat screen televisions to watch the live video feed. The first virtual class to be held in the new facility is Childhood Development in Cultural Context (HDF 610), a graduate level course taught by Dr. Jonathan Tudge of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) and Eeva-Liisa Kronqvist at the University of Oulu, Finland.

Since the class has a cultural focus, in Oulu it attracted several international students (from Mexico, China, and Lithuania) as well as Finnish students and at UNCG a variety of students. The small class has graduate students from the departments of HDFS; Teacher Education; Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies; Genetic Counseling; and Psychology. The students find the interaction with the live feed really interesting and have enjoyed getting to know the students in Finland. While they sometimes have cross-cultural issues such as language complications, they all agreed that it is important to have someone else’s opinion about the topics they discuss. It’s also interesting when the discussions point out cultural differences, which help the students to learn more about problems in their own culture, especially when it comes to childhood development issues.

At the beginning of the class, Dr. Tudge calls up the class in Finland and they connect. The live feed from Oulu is clear and the students can be heard as if they were in the same room. The class is structured so that once they connect, each group has its own separate discussions about questions available to each group. Then the two groups come together to discuss as a whole. Dr. Tudge has paired each of his UNCG students with one of the students from Oulu to talk outside of class and develop the questions that are the main focus of attention during their discussions.

Dr. Tudge was instrumental in setting up the original partnership with the University of Oulu and helped chart out the HDFS exchange program with Oulu’s Early Childhood Development faculty. He started internationalizing efforts about 15 years ago by joint-teaching a class with a colleague in Finland. The students communicated through Blackboard, but the technology was unable to meet the demands of the class.

Today’s technology allows for students to connect across the world, and contribute to the goal of internationalization, enriching the lives of the students involved. Since the students in the class at UNCG have not had the opportunity to study abroad, this course gives them a chance to learn about other cultures and share their ideas.

For more information about virtual classroom opportunities, please contact Dr. Jerry Pubantz (j_pubant@uncg.edu) or Dr. Penelope Pynes (pjpynes@uncg.edu).

 student highlights

Q&A with Michael Tuso, former study abroad student  by Katie Ostrowka

Recently I sat down with Michael Tuso, an undergraduate Political Science student who studied abroad in fall 2010 at the University of San Ignacio in Loyola (USIL) in Lima, Peru. During his time at UNCG, Michael has been involved with the Global Leadership Program, student government and various other committees (For more details, see UNCG’s story on Michael). Currently, Michael works for the Dean of Student’s Office as a case coordinator and is an intern with the Sustainability Office on campus. Michael also assists his professor, Dr. Fabrice Lehoucq, on researching coups in Latin America in the 20th century.

Since returning from Peru, Michael has been doing presentations in Spanish for the Romance Languages department, proof of his hard work and dedication to learning the language. His experience abroad shows firsthand how immersion programs help students succeed in language acquisition.

Katie Ostrowka: You just recently returned from studying abroad in Peru. Can you tell me, in general, about your experience there?

Michael Tuso: It was definitely an interesting insight into developing countries in general, something that I was seeking in a study abroad experience for professional and academic reasons mainly, so Peru was the perfect fit for that and for learningMichael at Machu Picchu about some of the issues that I research here as a student. My experience there was definitely eye-opening. I was able to travel and get to see the whole country, to go to Machu Picchu and the jungle and really improve my Spanish a lot which was something I was always apprehensive about. But being in Peru really, really improved my Spanish so that’s something that I took away.

Culturally it was interesting not just to compare the U.S. to Peruvian culture and a lot of the differences but also regional cultural differences—like Peru and Ecuador and Peru and Colombia are really close together but there are quite substantial differences among those countries. Also between the other international students there from other countries—that was particularly interesting to me as well, comparing how we view things here and have little fun debates with some of the Europeans, for example.

So overall it was a really great, eye opening experience. Obviously there were some things that were difficult to get used to initially, but I think we adapted well. Things don’t function the same way as they do here so sometimes that would be a little bit difficult to get adjusted to. Universities are totally different so that was also initially a difficult thing to get used to.

Michael with a sloth!KO: What was your favorite aspect of life in Peru?

MT: We took a trip to the jungle and that was my favorite part. I went with two friends and I think that was their favorite part too. It’s something we definitely don’t have here, the Europeans definitely don’t have that in Europe, so it was rare and cool to see animals like dolphins in their natural habitat, things like that. And then we were on a boat for three days with a lot of indigenous people. That was really cool. You felt like you were so distant from everything else but with technology, I still had my blackberry that would function. (laughs) So I felt that was interesting, it was so remote and really cool.

KO: How has your reentry been? Did you have any issues readjusting to life back in the U.S. and in Greensboro?

MT: I guess the biggest thing in retrospect is that I didn’t acknowledge that reverse culture shock was a real thing and so coming back I guess I was really shocked about how weird I felt at first. It’s kind of gone now but in the first 2-3 weeks, I was like “Whoa, what is this place?” I didn’t realize the difference in how I would feel when I came back. I just kind of assumed that everything would be normal. Adjustment has been really good so far. It’s really helpful to have friends that have been abroad. It helps to keep in contact with other students abroad, people that you talked to while you were abroad. Just in general, my friends have been really supportive.

KO: And here’s the big question… How has studying abroad impacted your life?

MT: First of all, now I really crave to travel more and I think I value other cultures a lot more. So I’m looking into programs and things that I can focus more on international education. Also I never thought that I would be able to learn Spanish well and I think I’ve come a long, long, long way with Spanish. It was one of those things that I always wanted to do but I didn’t think I would ever be even kind of good at, so now it kind of inspired me. I feel like I have a good enough grip on Spanish to take courses in other languages and just infuse more international travel into my educational and professional experiences because it’s so important. And it’s just cool, it’s fun, and I think it will definitely make a big impact for a long time to come. I’m always talking to my friends and family about how important international education is.

KO: Any advice you can offer to other students going to studying abroad or who are thinking of studying abroad?

MT: I know from friend’s experiences there’s a lot of apprehension about going for some people. I know some people want to back out of but it definitely wasn’t anything to be intimated about for me and for the people that I was with. I know being gone for extended periods of time isn’t for everyone but if you can’t do a whole program, do a summer program.

But it’s definitely one of the cool experiences that I think you can do in college, especially at UNCG. It’s so affordable and there’s so much support. To people that have committed and are on the track to going, I would recommend doing something extracurricular abroad. It just helps with even more immersion. Definitely travel a lot and talk to as many people as you can because by doing that, you’re going to learn so much and bring so much more back with you and it’ll help with enriching your experience.

KO: Is there anything else you want to add?

MT: Again, I think everybody should study abroad. I think that’s definitely one of the strengths of UNCG that I think everybody should take advantage of in one capacity or another even if it’s a summer program. There’s such a strong learning process that comes along with it and that’s something that you’ll always carry with you, so I definitely highly recommend it to everybody.

 visitors & scholars

Visitors from Sogang University, Korea 

On February 16-17, IPC welcomed Dr. Jae H. Roe, Vice President of the Office of International Affairs and Professor of American Culture, and Ms. Jin ok Ahn, International Program Officer for the Office of International Affairs from Sogang University in Seoul, Korea, one of our newer exchange partners.

The visitors began with a campus tour led by Tom Martinek, Jr, Assistant Director of Study Abroad & Exchange; Kaitlin Ritchie, Incoming Exchange Student Coordinator; and Wendy Jones-Worden, Spanish professor and Study Abroad Advisor. Afterwards, they met with faculty in the Department of Media Studies, including Dr. Emily Edwards, Professor; Dr. David Cook, Professor and Department Head; and Ken Terres, Instructor and Engineer who gave them a tour of the broadcasting studio.

The two visitors then gave a classroom presentation where they shared information on Sogang University with a class on “The Internet & Global Society and Culture,” instructed by Dr. Seung-Hyun Lee, Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Studies and alumna of Sogang. After the class, they had lunch with Dr. Penelope Pynes, Associate Provost for International Programs, along with Drs. David Cook, Seung-Hyun Lee, and Michael Frierson, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, all from Media Studies.

Focus on Fulbright Scholar  by Katie Ostrowka

Every semester, UNCG welcomes a handful of international scholars who conduct research in a variety of fields. Each brings with them a unique background that enriches the scholar community on campus. This past June, we welcomed a Fulbright scholar, Mr. Sami Yli-Piipari, from the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland. Sami is working on research in the Department of Kinesiology, with a specialty in physical activity. Specifically, he is researching how physical education enhances and supports physical activity. He has just completed his dissertation which he will defend for his Ph.D. when he returns to Finland this summer.

For Sami, being a Fulbright scholar is not just about the research. It’s about being involved in the social relationships and community engagement that the opportunity provides and being a cultural representative for your home country. He encourages students of all levels of education to learn about exchange programs and to consider going abroad to enrich their academic lives.

As a Fulbright scholar, Sami has had the opportunity to meet a lot of people of different nationalities and areas of interest. At a recent Fulbright enrichment event in Tennessee, Sami and the other Fulbrighters volunteered at a kitchen/shelter. Sami believes that volunteer work and community engagement is one of the great features of American culture. He enjoys volunteering and thinks that individuals caring through that kind of work is lost in Finland because Finns assume that the government will take care of everything, so they’re not as involved in giving back to the community.

In regards to education, Sami sees many differences between Finland and the U.S. from which he has learned a lot. In the U.S., he says, the educational system is “a fraction more serious,” which he attributes in part to the fact that students in the U.S. pay for their education—in Finland, it’s free—which also changes the dynamic between students and teachers. Sami enjoys working at UNCG because the U.S. leads the research in many fields, especially in terms of the push to publish one’s research.

While excited to be working hard and enjoying it, Sami is also fortunate enough to have his wife and two children (aged 5 and 7 years) with him in Greensboro. In preparation for coming to the U.S., Sami’s children attended an English-speaking kindergarten so they would be ready for the American schools. His family has adjusted quickly and has been appreciating their time away from home.


 faculty corner

Dr. Susan Buck attends IASC Conference in India

On January 10-14, Dr. Susan Buck, Associate Professor of Political Science, attended the 13th International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) Biennial Conference in Hyderabad, India with assistance from IPC’s Kohler fund. In Hyderabad, she was sworn in as President of the Association, which she will hold for a two-year term. The IASC is an international, non-profit organization of about 1,000 members, originally called the International Association for the Study of Common Property. The focus of January’s conference was the protection and use of common pool resources for poor and minority groups, resources such as farming, subsistence agriculture, and weaving cooperatives.

Dr. Buck (third from left) with other IASC members at Golconda Fort

This was Dr. Buck’s first time in India, which she greatly enjoyed. To her, the most striking thing she found was how closely the economic classes are mixed together. The extreme poverty situated next to noticeable wealth in the city was something she had never seen before.

Dr. Buck also had a chance to visit the University of Hyderabad where she met with faculty members who were very enthusiastic about their exchange programs. She was very impressed with the 2,000-acre campus and recommends students to go there. There is even a brand new international house for international students, with new dormitories, recreational facilities, modern plumbing, and new classrooms.

At UNCG, where Dr. Buck has been teaching for 23 years, her research focus is wildlife and natural resource management in the U.S. She is the Director of the Environmental Studies Program and she teaches three environmentally-related law courses to undergraduates, as well as environmental law, ethics, and public policy at the graduate level. In 1997, she was a Fulbright scholar at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, where she researched land ownership patterns in Scotland.


During the last week of the Spring 1, 2011 term, the INTERLINK Reading and Writing B and 1 classes got together to plant a garden. Having spent the session reading Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, the students were eager to enjoy their own community garden experience. By reading the novel, which discusses the themes of community building and cross-cultural awareness, the students learned that another great way to communicate with each other is through shared experience.

group of gardenersTogether, the students and their teachers decided to plant their own garden; they chose the seeds they would plant (carrots, lettuce, beets, peas, and cabbage), designed the garden, and sowed the seeds. It was interesting to see which students became leaders in the project. Students were put into one of the following groups: artists (designed the banner and the trellis), plot organizers, or planters. Together, they were able to imagine how their garden would grow while speculating on how they might "compete" with neighboring plots.

Now that the garden plot has been sown, students have admitted to visiting the plot on the weekend and sneaking over during breaks to check on its progress. Although nothing has yet started to flourish, it is inspiring to see the eagerness and optimism of the students. By sharing this experience of working together to create life, the students were able to bond in a unique way. When asked on the last day of class to write about their best experience in NC so far, many opted to talk about the garden.

 upcoming events

29th International Festival Announcement

Saturday, April 16, 2011


UNCG campus: Fountain area in front of the Dining Center

*Our rain site will be in the Atrium of the School of Health and Human Performance (HHP). Please use the West Drive entrance (over the bridge).

Admission and parking are free (at the Walker Parking Deck).

The International Festival is an annual celebration of the diverse world in which we live and of the beauty that human cultures have to offer. I-Fest promotes cultural awareness, appreciation and understanding through the mediums of music, food, crafts, demonstrations and entertainment from all corners of the globe. I-Fest is an event open to the UNCG family and the general public during which you, your families and friends may come to experience and learn about the diverse world in which we live as I-Fest brings the world to you!

As an I-Festival visitor you will be able to see, hear, smell and taste various cultures from around the planet! Whether you are curious about life beyond our shores, or curious about the curious people down the street, I-Fest is a kaleidoscope that brings all peoples together. At I-Fest you will discover a “Global Village” of nearly 40 booths along the lawn of the Fountain Area and live entertainment throughout the festival's duration.


Previous editions:
- Vol 10, ed 5: February 2011
- Vol 10, ed 4: December 2010
- Vol 10, ed 3: November 2010
- Vol 10, ed 2: October 2010
- Vol 10, ed 1: September 2010
archived editions