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From the Director

Dr. Sylvie Debevec Henning
Office: Ragsdale Hall 116B
Phone: (252) 328-5520
email: hennings@ecu.edu

In 2002, the UNC Board of Governors adopted internationalization as one of the strategic directions for the University of North Carolina as a whole. Strategic Direction 5 aims to "promote an international perspective throughout the University community to prepare citizens to become leaders in a multi-ethnic and global society." East Carolina University's Division of Academic Affairs, as part of its response to ECU's 2004-2009 planning objectives, has elaborated several goals that relate directly to the Study Abroad Endowment Fund proposed here, specifically: AA#2, "Expand opportunities for ECU students to study abroad," and AA#4, "Investigate and support development of international education and global initiatives."

As director of International Programs for the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, I was asked by former Dean Keats Sparrow to assist the College's departments in internationalizing their curricula, developing international interdisciplinary projects through external funding, and in general, promoting the international reputation of Harriot College.

I see such internationalization as a means not only of fostering interdisciplinary work, but more importantly, of promoting the study of the liberal arts and sciences throughout the university. International interdisciplinary projects strengthen cooperation among the liberal arts and sciences programs, thereby reinforcing the links among the humanities, social sciences and sciences. Internationalization is also a way of maintaining, or establishing, the arts and sciences foundation of professional programs and of introducing arts and sciences components into the new programs, such as security studies and engineering.

Moreover, interdisciplinary international projects provide new venues for research, both in the United States and overseas. This is certainly true on the faculty and graduate student levels. It can also be the case for undergraduates as well. With the assistance of the University Honors Program, we can develop projects that make it possible for ECU's best students to work with its top scholars on topics of international significance and in international settings.

International projects are also a way of extending service learning beyond the borders of the United States by expanding the number of study abroad opportunities, international field experiences, and internships, particularly at the undergraduate level.

In addition, we cannot forget the economic development aspect of international projects. Eastern North Carolina in particular needs to expand its horizons beyond its borders to seek business opportunities and partnerships throughout the world.