Report on the April 24 Agenda
Recommendations of the
Committee on International Programs
April 18, 2002
1. Charge to the Committee
Charge from the Council Bylaws: The Committee on International
Programs shall review and monitor issues related to the international
programs and other international activities of the University.
The International Programs Committee shall advise and make policy
recommendations in such areas as services for international students
and scholars, foreign fellowships and studies abroad, faculty,
staff and student exchange programs, and cooperative undertakings
with foreign universities. The Committee shall consist of eight
faculty members, one A-1 staff member, one A-3 staff member, three
undergraduates, and three graduate/professional students. The
director of International Programs shall be a non-voting ex officio
member of the Committee.
Charges for 2001-2002:
Explore ways to make the Penn environment more inviting for international
visitors, in particular visiting scholars, post doctoral fellows,
Evaluate University services and academic offerings to international
students. Examples include assistance with visa issues, and English
courses for those who are not native speakers of the language.
The committee will also examine and advise the University Council
on ways the University can coordinate and expand its international
endeavors at Penn and its global presence beyond the campus.
2. Number of Times the
times (November 30, 2001, February 1, 2002, and March 21, 2002)
3. Major Points Addressed
by the Committee
Effect of September 11 on Penn's International Community:
each meeting, Dr. Joyce Randolph, Executive Director of the Office
of International Programs, briefed the Committee on the impact
of September 11 on the University community and its international
endeavors. Study Abroad programs are little influenced; in fact
enrollments are at an all-time high this year. Penn's huge international
population (3500 students and 1400 scholars) is more influenced
in that some potential scholars and students experience delays
in receiving visas; some who work with bio-hazardous materials
are undergoing background checks; and almost all are included
in a new INS data tracking system that IPO is helping to implement.
Penn's main INS tracking responsibility is to make sure students
are "in status" and to report those who are not. The
one program that has experienced a negative response is Penn's
English Language Program for foreign students which suffered a
27% drop in enrollment this year, compared to spring 2001.
Committee reviewed the two main recommendations of predecessor
from 1999-2000 and 2000-2001.
first was to provide expanded office space for OIP in a central
part of the campus. We were pleased to learn at the March meeting
that adequate office space will be provided in International House,
although it is not a central location as had been strongly recommended.
second was that "The University needs to develop a plan to
provide moderately priced short-term housing for international
visitors." No action has been taken on this recommendation.
This Committee for the third consecutive year renews the recommendation
that the University take action in this regard.
for action by the University:
for Short-Term International Guests:
Committee has been concerned about the lack of adequate housing
for short-term international guests. Visitors to the campus who
stay for a few days can find adequate hotel accommodations and
long-term visitors can rent furnished or unfurnished apartments.
However, visitors to Penn who need to stay near the campus for
a period of one week to several months find very little suitable
housing. As a major research university, Penn should have facilities
to encourage visits of research collaborators who need to be housed
near campus. Laboratory research particularly requires proximity
to campus since experimental work often requires late night and
weekend activity in University laboratory buildings. Unfortunately,
Penn short-term housing is now mostly limited to guest suites
in Grad Towers at $1200 per month, a cost we think too high to
be affordable for many visiting scholars and research students.
The one other source of short-term housing near campus is the
Divine Tracy Hotel, which although inexpensive, has dress codes
which discriminate against women and a particular religious orientation,
a situation not appropriate for many of our international visitors.
Committee has reviewed a number of housing options over the past
two years and is concerned that the University not only has no
plans to fill the need for moderately priced short-term housing
but has actually eliminated the low end units which were once
available. The Committee understands that the University cannot
put its resources into developing such housing unless there is
a demonstrated need. In last year's Committee report, we suggested
that surveys be carried out within Departments with significant
research personnel to determine the current need for moderate
cost short-term housing. In the absence of any such effort by
the University administration, the Committee itself initiated
a survey of three Departments (Biology, Economics, Electrical
Engineering) and one School (Nursing) to gauge the need for short-term
visitor housing. The surveys indicated a need for housing of short-term
international faculty, postdoctoral, and graduate student research
collaborators. Based on these surveys we estimate that in the
coming academic year over 50 such scholars from these four academic
units will need housing for periods of 1 week to several months.
University-wide, we would project a need to house several hundred
to more than one thousand international scholars per year for
short-term periods. Moreover, the availability of such housing
may itself lead to increased visits from international collaborators,
thus generating additional demand.
Committee recommended last year that the University develop a
plan to provide modest but inviting units at the price range of
$600-$800 per month, the number of which would be determined by
appropriate surveys and market research. In our discussions with
Mr. Larry Moneta, we learned that there are currently no plans
at present to develop moderate cost short-term housing options.
We did learn, however, that the University is considering renovating
the Sheraton Hotel to create a floor of two-room suites. The monthly
cost of such suites is projected to be several times what the
Committee estimates visiting research scholars will be able to
afford. The Committee advises the University administration to
rethink plans for renovation of properties such as the Sheraton
Hotel, incorporating at least some single rooms that would need
to be only slightly renovated to meet the needs of short-term
University needs to develop a plan to provide moderately priced
short-term housing for international visitors. Housing at a cost
affordable to student, postdoctoral, and junior research level
visitors needs to be created. The number of units to be developed
should be determined by appropriate surveys and market research.
One appropriate site for such housing would be in the renovated
Sheraton Hotel, in which single rooms could be modified to contain
The University's Visibility and Coordination of International
members noted that Penn is richly endowed with international faculty
expertise and programs, but that the University community and
the media are unaware of this richness. It suggested a public
relations effort be undertaken to make Penn's international resources
known both within and outside the University. It recommended a
special website be created listing all international endeavors
and faculty, and that a printed "index to faculty expertise"
be disseminated to national and international media organizations.The
Committee suggested the Communications Office would be the appropriate
office to house and manage an on-line and hard-copy index. As
a beginning, OIP has an international inventory of individuals
at Penn, and a list of linkage agreements with international institutions
that can be updated and expanded. The Committee also noted the
desirability of including information on Penn's Area Studies Centers
in a comprehensive website and index of faculty expertise.
for action by the University:
the International Programs Committee of
Academic Year 2001-2002
To make Penn faculty
expertise on various parts of the world readily available to the
mass media. An enhanced presence of Penn faculty as experts on
newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio would contribute to theUniversity's
stature and visibility.
a. To create a separate
section on the Penn website with faculty expertise. This section
would include an index and a search engine. Faculty names, countries
or areas of expertise (e.g. Pakistan, Middle East), and topics
of expertise (e.g. politics, economy, culture) would be searchable
with Boolean operators ("or," "and" etc.).
Basic contact information on each relevant faculty member (and
personal webpages, if available) would be linked to the search
engine. A team of Work-Study students supervised by a faculty
member would be in charge of gathering and organizing the information.
Appropriate compensation should be arranged for the faculty member
supervising this project.
b. To inform Penn
faculty that a teleconferencing facility exists on campus where
media interviews can take place. One such facility, the Innovative
Learning Space, is located in the Towne Building, Room 319. It
is a Central Pool Classroom, and scheduling requests are processed
by Classroom Technology Services. The room does not have a background
displaying the Penn name and logo, but these images can be projected
on the wall.
c. To create an
initial printed version of the index of international faculty
expertise to be mailed to the most important news organizations
nationally and internationally so as to make them aware of the
existence of the website section [points (a) and (b) above] and
of the teleconferencing room [point (c) above].
of Information and Interaction
Committee endorsed a suggestion that every effort should be made
to increase interaction among Offices of International Programs
of the various Schools in the University, their directors, and
coordinators of other international endeavors in the Schools through
a common link. As a beginning, it was suggested that International
Programs Directors of the various schools might be included in
the International Programs Committee.
for action by the University: The Committee recommends
the Provost and University Council look into the issue of centralization
of international endeavors and make recommendations regarding
the feasibility of greater integration.
for International Graduate Training
Committee discussed the suggestion that internationally-focused
dual-site training be expanded for graduate students, particularly
those who work in disciplines that do not include international
studies in their curriculum. The model for this, provided by Prof.
Edwin Abel, is the Biomedical Graduate Group's arrangement with
three medical colleges in Korea. Dr. Randolph noted that other
graduate exchange programs exist in SAS, Medicine, Wharton, Law,
Dental Medicine, and Fine Arts, many of which endorse dual-site
training for graduate students and that also serve as models.
for action by next year's Committee: The
Committee recommended that consideration of dual-site graduate
training, and other arrangements for expanded international graduate
training in non-internationally-oriented fields, be tabled until
next year when a more thorough discussion can be undertaken. Meantime,
the Committee suggested that Schools be encouraged to explore
the feasibility of dual-site graduate training.
Language Courses for Non-Native Speakers
issue of competence in English language training for non-native
speakers of English, particularly those who serve as Teaching
Assistants, was briefly discussed by the Committee. It was suggested
a discussion be included in next year's committee charge.
for action by next year's Committee: The Committee
recommended a thorough discussion of competence in English language
training for non-native speakers be undertaken by next year's
G. Global Perspectives
Committee expressed interest in reviewing and commenting on the
report of the Global Perspectives Subcommittee for the University's
Strategic Plan. Due to the lateness in publishing the Subcommittee's
report in Almanac, this year's Committee was unable to
consider it, but recommends that it be examined next year.
for action by next year's Committee:
The Committee recommends the Global Perspectives Subcommittee
Report, which is part of the University's Strategic Plan for 2002-2007,
be seen and commented on by the 2002-2003 International Programs
Sandra T. Barnes, Chair