The International Programs Office (IPO) supports the efforts of the University of Idaho (UI) to become a more global university. The UI's Strategic Plan explicitly asserts that scholarly and creative activities promote human and economic development, global understanding, and progress in professional practice by expanding knowledge and its applications in the natural and applied sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and professional disciplines. Global education is an essential dimension of every school, college, department, and center at the university.
Across the IPO’s several units (Study Abroad; International Student, Scholar, and Faculty Services; the American Language and Culture Program; International Marketing and Recruitment, and International Grants, Contracts, and Initiatives), we have a dedicated staff committed to global engagement as a fundamental component of the student experience, campus diversification, research, faculty support, and the standing of the UI in the nation and the world. The IPO staff is passionate about transforming lives and making the UI a more global community.
First and foremost, we seek to encourage UI students to become more internationally engaged. Our goal is to insure that all UI students have opportunities to expand their intellectual and professional potential by learning new languages and cultures and through exposure to cuisines, environments, religions, and worldviews beyond what they currently know. “Global citizenship” is not a frill—it is essential to students’ success in the job market and to realizing their personal potential.
The UI seeks to attract the best and the brightest students from around the globe, and Idaho’s 667 international students represent 68 nationalities. The IPO provides a variety of support services for international students, researchers, and faculty. Our international guests contribute in many ways to the UI community, vitalizing the entire campus (and the town of Moscow) with their diversity of languages, cultural perspectives, and academic experiences. Not only do we hope to enrich our international visitors through experiences here, but we believe the UI benefits profoundly though the presence of these students and colleagues from around the world.
The IPO contributes directly to the UI research mission by supporting the presence of international researchers at the university and by helping to establish institutional linkages with universities abroad. Research and innovation cannot occur on an academic island. Cross-fertilization of ideas—between colleagues, between laboratories, between institutions—is essential. In order for our faculty to remain on the cutting edge and to bring this knowledge into their classrooms and into their own publications, our university must maximize connections with the global scholarly community. It is toward this end that the IPO seeks constantly to retool and improve the UI’s international strategies.