Fall 2022: Exciting developments pave way for an extraordinary year

Published: October 2022

As we begin a new academic year, I am delighted to share our highlights and accomplishments from the past year. Reflecting, it is amazing to see how much was accomplished over such a short period of time. Most notably, KU completed its two-year participation in the American Council on Education’s Internationalization Lab. It was out of that work and through the involvement of hundreds of faculty and staff members, as well as students, that we:

  • Established the new Institute for International and Global Engagement, headed by Melissa Birch, associate professor in the School of Business.
  • Created a new Provost Fellow for Internationalization, which has been filled by Megan Greene, professor of history.
  • Integrated comprehensive internationalization as a foundational element to KU’s strategic planning efforts under Jayhawks Rising.
  • Bolstered the foundation for internationalization at KU by providing a strong base budget for International Affairs and establishing the role of senior internationalization officer, which I took on this summer.

Overall, these exciting developments set us up for an extraordinary year ahead, and they remind us of the remarkable breadth and depth of KU’s international work, the passion and expertise of our community, and our many accomplishments on the world stage. In the pages that follow, you will learn about faculty members transforming their disciplines and society through their work. You will read about our exceptional students and the impact they have here and across the world. You will see a staff succeeding in its efforts to bring the world to KU and KU to the world. And you will gain a sense of a university community that is not only committed to the world around it, but actively transforming itself to enhance our capacities and reach.

I am immeasurably proud of the work we have done over the past year as an internationally engaged public research university. As we look ahead, I know that we are supported by a leadership team at this university that understands how integral internationalization is to everything we do. International isn’t simply the content of our work at KU, but the way in which we conduct our work and the nature of the society that we hope benefits from our efforts. We have a healthy vision for how to move forward as a university, and I am delighted to report that others find that vision compelling as well.

Entering into the 2022-2023 academic year, we are seeing growth in new international enrollments at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Just as exciting, we are returning to pre-pandemic levels of education abroad participation. Faculty members have returned from across the globe, having spent the summer rekindling international partnerships and establishing new ones. Finally, the U.S. Department of Education has reauthorized all four KU national resource centers for another four years, awarding over $8 million in federal funds to support curriculum development and delivery, faculty research, and student scholarships in languages and area studies. It has been ten years since KU has seen such extraordinary success in the national Title VI competition. The designation speaks to the strength of our area studies directors, what the centers have accomplished through their work, and the compelling nature of their plans going forward.

As we continue our efforts in the coming year, I know that it has only been made possible through the hard work and successes of the past year and the tireless efforts of so many people. Enjoy our annual report and, as always, I encourage you to connect with us as partners in your efforts and as advocates of your important work.

Charles A.S. Bankart

KU Senior Internationalization Officer