Globalization prompts new international initiatives

With a goal of preparing students to become “worldly cosmopolitans,” Princeton is launching a series of initiatives that will bring a stronger international dimension to research and teaching.

“In order to be a great American university, Princeton must integrate the national and international domains into a cohesive education enterprise,” President Tilghman and Provost Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 said in “Princeton in the World,” a 12-page report announcing the new proposals.

Among the highlights are:

• The “expectation” — though not a mandate — that every Princeton undergraduate experience another country, whether this is a semester abroad, a seminar in a foreign city, or a summer internship or job overseas.

• Recruitment of outstanding scholars from around the globe who would visit and teach on a recurring basis. Eventually the University hopes to have 15 or more Global Scholars on campus each year.

• Encouraging faculty to travel abroad and to steer their research and teaching in international directions.

• Support for research travel by graduate students and visits for collaborative work by graduate students from other countries.

 The report advised against investing in satellite campuses in other countries, as other universities have done.

Tilghman said in an interview that based on initial cost estimates, $50 million to $75 million would be needed to endow the program to ensure stable funding. These funds will be part of the $1.75 billion fundraising campaign that kicks off Nov. 9.

 More than $1 million has been allocated from the record-breaking 2006–07 Annual Giving campaign to begin several of the initiatives, including the Global Scholars, graduate student travel, expansion of the Study Abroad Program, and creation of a Global Initiatives Fund to provide seed grants for new ventures.

Serving as a foundation for the report was the work of two separate groups: a faculty advisory committee headed by history department chairman Jeremy Adelman and Woodrow Wilson School dean Anne-Marie Slaughter ’80, and a report on study-abroad opportunities by the dean of the college’s office.

Undergraduates faced “very significant” obstacles in the past to spending semesters abroad, such as required independent work, “but we are trying to eliminate the institutional barriers,” Tilghman said. Though many students still may not be able to travel abroad during the academic year, she said there are “tremendous opportunities for growth” in summer programs.

A survey of the Class of 2006 found that 38 percent had participated in at least one international activity, and of these, 59 percent took part in more than one such activity.

Tilghman said she expects to move quickly to create a new Council on International Teaching and Research, recommended by the Adelman-Slaughter committee, that will develop detailed strategies.

A new faculty committee probably will be named to explore an issue tabled by the Adelman-Slaughter group, Tilghman said — a review of the University’s foreign-language training. Adelman said the advisory committee also decided not to pursue the issue of whether Princeton’s efforts should have a particular geographic or thematic focus.

Professor Katherine Newman, director of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, said the report offers “a powerful set of priorities to move out beyond our confines.” Princeton is “more than ready to run with a new vision,” she said.