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Council 2004-2005 Year-End Committee Reports

Committee on International Programs

The Committee on International Programs of the University Council was given the following charges by the Steering Committee of the Council:

1. Examine and advise the University Council on ways the University can coordinate and expand its international endeavors at Penn, its global presence beyond the campus, and the quality of the overall international programs. In particular, assess the University’s progress toward organizing its international programs along the lines recommended by the 2003-2004 Committee.

2. Investigate and advise University Council on the University’s efforts and progress toward hiring a new director of international programs.

3. Continue to explore ways in which the Penn environment can be made more inviting for international visitors, in particular visiting scholars, post doctoral fellows, etc., and assess the progress of the University in securing affordable housing for international visitors.

4. Continue to evaluate the impact of Homeland Security policies on prospective versus current international students and exchange visitors, and explore steps the University might take to ameliorate negative effects.

5. Gather more information and conduct further discussion of the issues surrounding the integrity of student applications, especially from certain parts of the world to ensure (a) that we have reliable data and (b) that we avoid stereotyping applicants from certain countries.

The Committee met four times during the 2004-2005 academic year: November 17, December 15, January 19, and March 16; a meeting scheduled for February 16 had to be cancelled to due a family emergency of the Committee Chair.

The following individuals appeared as guests of the Committee at its meetings:

Dr. Peter Conn, Interim Provost
Dr. Shalini Dev Bhutani, Director, International Student and Scholar Services, OIP
Dr. Lee Cassanelli, recent Director of the African Studies Center
Dr. Brendan O’Leary, Director of the Solomon Asch Center
Dr. Robert Vitalis, Director of the Middle East Center
Dr. JoAnn McCarthy, Assistant Provost for International Affairs
Dr. Jack Nagel, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, School of Arts and Sciences

Charge 1:

The Committee spent the majority of its time on this charge. Following up on the work of last year’s Committee, this year’s Committee received a report from Dr. Conn on the activity of the Provost’s International Round Table, which he established in December 2003. The Round Table took an important step forward as it worked to coordinate the University’s international activities. The Round Table’s new website, launched in November 2004, (www.upenn.edu/oip/education/index.html) makes clear the broad range of the University’s international activities and provides quite a comprehensive inventory of information about these activities across all of the University’s Schools, Academic Centers, Institutes, Programs, and other resources. The Round Table and the website are good first steps in the direction of providing more control and coordination of the University’s international activities. The activities of the Round Table need to be strengthened under the leadership of the University’s new Provost-designate, Ronald Daniels, and the website needs to have a clear process for keeping it up-to-date and making it comprehensive. The Committee commends Dr. Conn for all of his committed and steadfast efforts in this area.

As a further coordination effort, the Committee warmly welcomes the appointment of Dr. JoAnn McCarthy as the University’s new Assistant Provost for International Affairs. As President Gutmann and Provost-designate Daniels review the University’s international profile, the Committee hopes that Dr. McCarthy will be provided with the administrative support and resources necessary for her to carry out her important new duties.

The Committee also examined the coordination of international activity at the School level. Some Schools have dean-level positions, others do not. The School of Arts and Sciences, which has the most extensive, varied, and intense international activities, lacks a dean-level position dedicated primarily to coordinating and furthering the School’s internationally-related activities. Currently, the School’s international programs and activities come largely under the jurisdiction of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Dr. Jack Nagel. In the Committee’s discussions with Dean Nagel, one former and two current Center directors, it became clear that the School of Arts and Sciences needs significantly better coordination of its impressive and wide-ranging internationally-related activities. In addition to better coordination, a dean-level position would facilitate grant-writing and fundraising across Departments, Programs, and Centers that would provide more resources for the School’s efforts. It would also help to improve current activities and create new ones along the lines suggested by President Gutmann.

Recommendations for Action:

The Committee recommends that the work of the Provost’s International Round Table be intensified and expanded and that its website be kept up-to-date via a regularized process.

The Committee recommends that President Gutmann and Provost-designate Daniels work to clarify the responsibilities of Dr. McCarthy as the University’s new Assistant Provost for International Affairs and provide her with the administrative support and resources required to carry out her important tasks.

The Committee recommends that the School of Arts and Sciences create a dean-level position to coordinate and further the School’s extensive internationally-related activities.

Recommendations for Action by next year’s Committee:

The Committee should work with President Gutmann, Provost-designate Daniels, Dr. McCarthy, and the deans of the University’s Schools to greatly increase the coordination of the University’s international activities and provide them with additional resources.

Charge 2:

The Committee investigated the University’s efforts to hire a new executive director of international programs. It quickly became clear that the Committee’s task was an easy one. In January 2005, Dr. Conn announced that Dr. JoAnn McCarthy had been named to the new post of Assistant Provost for International Affairs. Her tasks include running the Office of International Programs, but, in addition, she has responsibility for provost-level coordination of the University’s international programs (discussed above).

Recommendation for Action:

As noted above, the Committee recommends that President Gutmann and Provost-designate Daniels work to clarify the responsibilities of Dr. McCarthy as the University’s new Assistant Provost for International Affairs and provide her with the administrative support and resources required to carry out her important tasks.

Recommendations for Action by next year’s Committee:

The Committee should work closely with Dr. McCarthy as she takes up her new provost-level duties, especially in regard to the coordination of the University’s international activities, to include the provision of adequate financial and administrative resources.

Charge 3:

The Committee discovered that the valiant efforts of the previous year’s committee to tackle the important issue of providing adequate short-term housing for international visitors had become stalled. A meeting was held on April 14, 2004 with Dr. Conn, Omar Blaik, Senior Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate, and Dr. Joyce Randolph, then Executive Director of the Office of International Programs, to discuss several possible models for addressing this problem that had been proposed by Mr. Blaik. Subsequently, Dr. Randolph provided Dr. Conn and Mr. Blaik with a report on J-1 scholars who visited Penn for less than 12 months during the period July 2001 to May 2004. As far as the Committee can tell, no further action has been taken on this issue. With regard to the larger welfare of international students and visitors at Penn, student members of the Committee suggested that the University should investigate more and better ways to integrate international students and visitors into the larger Penn community and beyond.

Recommendations for Action:

The University should renew its efforts to deal with the housing issue and investigate ways to better integrate international students and visitors into the Penn community.

Recommendations for Action by next year’s Committee:

The Committee should work to make sure that efforts to deal with the housing issue resume in a productive manner and should initiate a major review of how international students and visitors are integrated into the Penn community.

Charges 4 and 5:

Dr. Shalini Dev Bhutani, director, International Student and Scholar Services of OIP, gave the Committee a report on Penn’s compliance with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and on larger issues that have emerged from post-9/11 Homeland Security policies as they impact international students and visitors. Overall, the situation seems to have improved somewhat.

Applications from international students to Penn have decreased over the past 12 months by 10%. The largest drop (26.7%) has been seen in Chinese student applications (graduate and undergraduate).  This reflects a national trend. However, since the applicant pool remains so large and competitive, the numbers of incoming students for fall 2004 showed only a modest downturn. In fall 2004, 1140 new international students came to Penn, compared to 1176 in fall 2003 (a 3% decline). The largest numbers of students came from India, China, Korea, Canada, Japan and UK. Reported visa problems decreased in 2004. Only 1.08% of admitted students reported visa problems for fall 2004, compared to 4% the previous year.  This may have been the result of strong advocacy efforts led by national associations such as the National Association of Foreign Student Affairs (NAFSA) and the American Association of Universities (AAU), which prompted the State Department to prioritize visa processing for international students.  As in previous years, the largest number of visa problems was reported by citizens of China.

Dr. Bhutani reported that over the past two or three years OIP has received a tremendous amount of support from the University in its efforts to deal with post-9/11 problems. She added that the University is also playing an important advocacy role through several national organizations.

Recommendations for Action:

The University should continue its monitoring of and advocacy concerning these issues. Department, Graduate, and Undergraduate chairs should be routinely canvassed to see if their students are encountering particular problems and measures should be taken to deal with them.

Recommendations for Action by next year’s Committee:

The Committee should continue to monitor these issues.

2004-2005 Committee on International Programs

Chair: Thomas Callaghy (Political Science, SAS);
Faculty:
Peter Berthold (Community Oral Health, Dental School), Joretha Bourjolly (Social Policy and Practice), Paul DeWeer (Physiology, Medicine), Sara Nadal-Melsio (Romance Languages, SAS), Mary Naylor (Nursing), Sohrab Rabii (Electrical Engineering, SEAS), Jerry Wind (Marketing, Wharton);
Graduate/Professional students:
Alan Hsu (Wharton), Yan Pan (Wharton);
Undergraduate students:
Lynda Abend (C ’07), Clara Bracke (C ’98), Caroline Varin (C ’07);
PPSA:
Kristine Billmyer (Associate Dean & Executive Director, CGS); WPSA: Suzanne Oh (Education);
Ex officio:
Shalini Bhutani (OIP), Geoffrey Gee (OIP);
Staff:
Elva E. Power (OIP).



 
  Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 2, September 6, 2005

ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS:

Tuesday,
September 6, 2005
Volume 52 Number 2
www.upenn.edu/almanac

 

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