September 21, 1998
Volume 51, No. 5
University Fund for Internationalization already making an impact
A year ago, several dozen Emory faculty members submitted proposals to the newly created University Fund for Internationalization (UFI) for a variety of projects: field research for faculty and students; curriculum development; language study; cross-disciplinary and cross-national collaborations; and much more. The UFI awarded a total of $250,000 in grants to more than 60 faculty members and students.
The projects selected for the 1997-98 UFI grant cycle were highly varied, representing the broad reach of the fund. In some instances faculty and students were able to travel or study abroad for specific, time-defined projects. In others, UFI funding was the "seed money" for starting or exploring more complex, long-term projects. UFI monies also were used to complement and expand programs already underway.
Two separate UFI grants brought together several academic departments and the University's Information Technology Division for an innovative collaboration using modern technology to explore environmental issues in southern Africa. Working with environmentalists and academics in several African universities, as well as the Kruger National Park in South Africa, the Etosha Ecological Institute in Namibia and the Okavango Research Center in Botswana, Emory faculty members hope to establish international dialogue and multimedia materials--via the Internet--for use in classrooms next spring. Rosanna Cappellato, lecturer in human and natural ecology, visited the Etosha and Okavango centers, while Emory information technology specialist Alan Cattier, also an adjunct professor in the ecology program, traveled safari-style doing filming, technical troubleshooting and interviews at Kruger, South Africa's largest wilderness preserve. The Emory team hopes to develop an environmentally focused study abroad program in at least one nation in southern Africa during 1999.
Another cross-disciplinary team received UFI funding to establish a multi-use field site in Antigua, Guatemala. Faculty and graduate students from anthropology and the School of Public Health lived with Guatemalan families this summer and undertook intensive study of Spanish at several well-established Antiguan language schools. Under the direction of Rollins professor Dirk Schroeder and other faculty, students worked on field projects, such as water sanitation, child survival and birth control, typically through one or more nonprofit organizations in the region. In most cases the students' field research will serve as the foundation for theses or other degree requirements and will be a continuing part of their educational experience at Emory.
Another cross-disciplinary, far-reaching use of UFI funds was the Department of Spanish-sponsored, four-week intensive Spanish language and culture program for Emory faculty at Spain's University of Salamanca (Emory Report, Aug. 31). Participants came from seven academic areas: English, art history, political science, geology, history, anthropology and music. Each sought additional language training to enhance current research and teaching in areas such as Caribbean and Latin American literature, Mexican American history and Hispanic vocal music.
"The program was a huge success in all the ways we had anticipated it might be, as well as in some ways we had not," said Spanish Professor Karen Stolley, the program's director. "We were focused primarily on language skills. But what surprised us was how productive and useful it was to bring together a diverse group of faculty . . . united in their interest in Hispanic culture. We really feel that the experience inspired and expanded the reach of the community of scholars studying and teaching in the field at Emory."
This is the first in a series of columns from the Office of International
Affairs that speak to the global perspective at Emory.