Volume 12, Number 10 January 21, 2005

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International approach sharpening

International Week - Jan. 31 to Feb. 4

International Week - Jan. 31 to Feb. 4

Quietly over the past few months, officials and staff in the U of S’s international relations area have been re-tooling how they do their work.

And one of those involved says the emerging structure is focused on the University’s new push for internationalization and its strategic directions.

Global Relations Co-ordinator Rob Norris says there has been an effort to design a “results-oriented” approach to supporting international study, research, student recruitment, and protocol – an approach that will build on the successes of the former U of S International office, which existed from 1993-2003.

Norris says the result is a structure that has three “pillars”:

  • A research pillar – a new Centre for Global Research & Co-operation, led by former USI Acting Director David O’Brien, located in the Vice-President Research’s Office. The aim is to support increased international research and training contracts.
  • A student pillar – the so-called Global Commons, headed up by U of S Director of Enrolment Laurie Pushor. Its aim is to meet the needs of international students, promote global learning opportunities for U of S students, and implement an integrated student recruitment strategy.
  • A protocol pillar – an Office of Global Relations, headed up by Norris, who reports to the University Secretary. It handles official visits and special events relating to international visitors.

Norris is convinced this three-pronged approach is already making a difference for the U of S.

“This is a really exciting time on our campus, and that’s present in conversations I’m having with faculty, students and others across campus. The U of S is going global,” Norris says.

With a foundational document and Integrated Plan giving authority and direction to the push for internationalization, Norris says he’s now seeing several colleges coming up with their own international plans and new international initiatives.

That, plus the initial work on protocol, student issues and research that Norris, Pushor and O’Brien are doing, are all hopeful signs – but Norris says there are big challenges, too.

“One is to co-ordinate our efforts across a dynamic campus.”

Norris says he, Pushor and O’Brien keep the unique U of S points of excellence at the forefront when pursuing international contacts – things like Aboriginal programs, VIDO, the synchrotron, and even the beauty of the campus.

He has hosted or helped organized visits to campus by representatives of more than 25 countries in the past few months, and his goal is to develop relationships that will help U of S faculty, students and staff make beneficial international connections.

The University’s annual International Week will be Jan. 31–Feb. 4, with events including: A College of Medicine global health lunch-hour series; daily (11am-2pm) international food fair in the geology buffeteria; cultural displays in the Arts tunnel; an international movie night Feb. 1; an international research opportunities talk Feb. 2; and a campus folkfest Feb. 4.

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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