Spring 2019: Message on KUIA Realignment

Dear colleagues and partners,

The mission of the KU International Affairs division is to promote, integrate and support KU’s international and global initiatives throughout KU’s teaching, research and service efforts by developing and maintaining international partnerships; bringing, supporting, and retaining the world’s talent; and connecting our community meaningfully and responsibly with the world through the infusion of informed international content, knowledge, awareness, and experience. With over 150 years of pioneering commitment and contributions to international education to our credit, we pride ourselves in providing all students, faculty and staff with the finest international learning and work environment possible through our programs, services, and strategic collaborations across campus and represents the world. We are committed to bringing the world to KU and KU to the world.

To that end, we have spent the past year engaged in an assessment of our strengths, capacities, and goals and have strategically realigned the division of International Affairs to strengthen KU’s efforts and enhance our impact in the international education sector. Our new name, KU International Affairs (KUIA), signifies that we are here to embolden, empower and enable KU students, faculty and staff across the institution as they engage in work that increasingly transcends geopolitical boundaries. Beyond the name change, however, we have made significant structural changes to enhance our service and educational program delivery in preparation for future opportunities. These shifts reflect an effort to move from a collection of discrete programs to a collaborative division committed to a shared mission, vision and set of values.

Among the key changes, we created International Short Programs as a newly independent function within International Affairs that partners with academic and administrative units across the university in the design, facilitation and delivery of programs for visiting international students, groups and professionals. Previously a function of the Applied English Center, International Short Programs builds on 20 years of experience in successful grant development and collaboration with KU partner universities for customized and discipline-specific short programs for international groups on the KU campus.

International Student Services has also been transformed into International Support Services. Under this new umbrella, all international student, faculty, visiting scholar, and staff immigration advising and support services have been integrated to form a one-stop unit that provides comprehensive immigration support, orientation and programming for the entire KU community. Similarly, the former Office of Study Abroad has updated its role and name to reflect its commitment to provide every KU student with an opportunity to have a significant intercultural or international experience. To provide easier access and expanded opportunities, Study Abroad & Global Engagement (SAGE) now houses KU’s undergraduate international certificate program called the (GAP), as well as the Global Scholars program. In addition, SAGE now provides advising and support for all graduate-level, university-affiliated international travel, research and academic experiences, including KU’s long-standing Graduate Direct Exchange and China Direct Exchange programs.

As a whole, KUIA remains absolutely committed to innovation and adaptation. The division has recently expanded the role and recruitment targets of International Admissions, launched intercultural skills workshops and supported innovative online English-language learning curricula in the Applied English Center, which welcomed Valerie Pierce as its new director in January of this year.

Collectively, KUIA programs serve Jayhawks from all 50 states and over 105 nations by mobilizing discovery, research and service. Through its engagement of the global community, KUIA cultivates inclusion and collaboration across campus and the region. To quote Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Carl Lejuez, “These are exciting changes that will help KU be more responsive to the needs of our people and programs. Our world-class stature as a top institution for learning, creativity and discovery is predicated on how well we engage with others, regardless of who they are or where or how it happens. KU International Affairs is working to remove barriers that limit that engagement while also promoting opportunities that enhance learning and scholarly work.

I am so proud of the work of our division and of the increasing international footprint of the University of Kansas. We continue to work at the forefront among those universities fully engaged in campus internationalization and our realignment sets us up for success in the ever-changing world of international education. I look forward to another year of collaboration and I invite you to continue to engage us, to challenge us, and to task us with the important work of helping you pursue your international vision for KU. With your partnership, we will continue to transform KU and the world.


Charles A. S. Bankart
Associate Vice Provost for International Programs