Some of you more recent alumni
may remember me from a few years ago. Following my retirement from
UNC-Greensboro in the summer of 2003, I served as interim head of ECU’s
Office of International Affairs from October 2003 to June 2005. The
experience was so enjoyable that when Provost Marilyn Sheerer asked if
I might be available for another short-term assignment at ECU, I jumped
at the chance. I began work on January 2, 2008 and will be here until
June 30, 2008.
Marilyn has given me three
assignments. The first of these is to oversee, with the help of OIA’s
talented professionals, the daily office operations. My second
assignment, with the assistance of ECU’s faculty and staff, is to
update and then begin to implement the Five Year Plan for the
Internationalization of ECU that was approved in 2005. Finally, in
conjunction with a soon-to-be-appointed Search Committee, I will help
in the recruitment efforts for a permanent head of the Office of
International Affairs. The goal is to have someone recruited and on
board by June 1, 2008.
I have a hidden agenda
as well—and that is to keep up the fine OIA tradition of having as many
social events for students as we can cram in. We’ve already had a
welcome party for our new international students, held a
Chinese New Year’s Celebration, an African Students Association Party,
and planning a Holi Festival with our Indian students, and of course our annual
International Festival held in conjunction with the City of Greenville.
(See our web site for a full listing of social
events.) If by any chance you’re in the area for any of our social
activities, come on by. The pizza’s hot, the drinks cold, and the
company always scintillating!
I look forward
to seeing or hearing from you all before I once again slip back into
retirement. Drop me an e-mail, or call, or even better come on by and
Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for International Affairs
ECU's global initiatives honored
Carolina University’s efforts to globalize student education have been
recognized by the Institute of International Education.
Global Academic Initiatives project received honorable mention in the
2008 IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International
Education. ECU will be among eight American universities honored March
13 at the United Nations in New York City.
in 2003, the global classroom in the Science and Technology building
has enabled more than 600 ECU students to become exposed to their
academic counterparts in countries that include Angola, Turkey,
Venezuela and China. In the past five years, the Internet-based course
has expanded to 21 partners in 18 countries, using web technology to
provide a relatively inexpensive way for students–and faculty
members–to go global. ECU’s Rosina Chia, assistant vice chancellor for
global academic initiatives, and Elmer Poe, associate vice chancellor
for academic outreach, created the program in response to a need for
ECU students to have more opportunities for international exposure.
technology, we came up with a low-cost but effective strategy to do
it,” Poe said. “We can bring researchers, students and faculty
Partnering institutions need only
an Internet connection and a web camera in order to make a connection,
although setting up programs that match both their technological
capabilities and their academic aims does take some assistance and
Because it is not feasible for
many ECU students to travel abroad–the percentage of those that do each
year is still in the single digits, but climbing–Chia said the global
classroom setting can serve as a ‘bridge’ to bring together students of
different backgrounds and perspectives; it enables them to convene as
classmates and friends.
“If we can get
students exposed to their peers from different cultures–American,
Pakistani, Chinese–they may realize we dress differently, we eat
differently, our religions might be different. But they learn that they
also want stability, they want to be more educated; they want better
lives for themselves and their children,” she said. “They can talk to
each other about that. The connection helps to overcome that initial
The number of sections taught
each semester has grown from one to six, with ECU Anthropology
professor Jami Leibowitz coordinating three other faculty members. Poe
and Chia have traveled to India and Malaysia, Moldova and Angola,
gaining partners for ECU’s Global Understanding courses and for
research and lecture alliances among faculty members. They have also
worked with more than a dozen American universities to develop their
own global outreach programs.
Academic Initiative also enables faculty members to “guest” lecture for
partnering institutions, as well as collaborate on research endeavors.
Poe and Chia hope the recognition from the IIE will provide even more
opportunities for people to learn about the project, and that it will
bolster interest in the Global Partners in Education meeting ECU will
host May 19-22.
The Heiskell awards were
established in 2001 with the aim of promoting the most outstanding
initiatives being conducted in international higher education.
Source: ECU News Bureau
| ||Meet an International Faculty Member|
Zhang, Ph.D., joined the Department of Biology as an Assistant
Professor in fall 2007. He came to the US from China in 2003 and joins
us from Texas Tech where he earned his PhD. He has been involved in the
field of agricultural biotechnology and genetics and has received
awards including the Excellence in Science (Science magazine and AAAS)
and the Syngenta Outstanding Doctoral Student in Environmental
Toxicology. His current research focuses on microRNA-mediated gene
regulation, molecular mechanism of environmental pollutant-induced
disease. He is using this knowledge to develop new biomarkers and
technology to improve our health and the environment. Dr. Zhang has
summarized his experience at ECU by stating, “In the past several
months, I have been exploring the wonderful environment, the friendly
people, the advanced facilities, and the diversity of life at ECU.”
Meet an International Student
graduating from high school in my homeland, Bangladesh, I came to East
Carolina University in the fall of 2004 to pursue a Bachelor’s degree
in the sciences. Soon I became involved in research, starting with organic chemistry and then moving on to biology, which I presented in
symposiums at the local and state level.
One of the
strengths of ECU is certainly research and dedicated faculty who show a
personal stake in students’ achievements. I was amazed by the wealth of
opportunity available here ECU to pursue my dreams. I also enjoyed
getting involved and holding leadership positions in different student
organizations and campus activities, which helped me grow.
graduated with a BS in biology and a minor in chemistry in the fall of
2006; but I could not stay out of school too long, so I came back for
my Master’s in molecular biology in the fall of 2007. I hope to
graduate this spring and pursue a career in medicine.
know that ECU has armed me with the power to explore the endless
possibilities that lie before me. Along the way, the International
House has always been a great place for any support that I needed. I
love the atmosphere here at ECU. The campus radiates with energy and
diversity. I know that wherever I go from here, I am sure to miss
ECU—the students, faculty, and staff. My name is Somaira Nowsheen, and
this is my story.