Global Engagement at Penn main page

A Brief History of Global Engagement at the
University of Pennsylvania

Dealing with Global Engagements:
The History of the Office of International Programs

 

The Office of International Programs (1975-present)

In 1975, the Office of International Services and OFIPSA combined to form the Office of International Programs, although the two prior offices would continue to dually report to the Vice Provost for University Life (VPUL). The first Director of the Office of International Programs was Richard D. Lambert and it turned over to Humphrey Tonkin in 1977.

In the 1970s, especially after the Conference on Undergraduate Education recommended for schools to officially recognize the benefits of study abroad, the University of Pennsylvania developed many new links with other foreign institutions to expand on their students and faculty options in this area. The Penn-Israel Exchange program had been established, but some other examples of efforts from the schools made themselves known. Faculty and graduate student exchange and research was initiated with other universities abroad, including the University of Edinburgh, the University of L'Aquila in Rome, the Sorbonne, the Israeli University system and Cairo University, the University of Jordan and Quaid-I-University in Islamabad, St. Anthony's College of Oxford University, as well as summer programs with other American universities and research cooperation between varying schools.

In 1975, a new program was established called the Cultural Studies Program. It was the result of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant. It was hoped that students would take courses related to cultural areas which included India, Great Britain, Germany, China, Latin America and Africa, but results did not match anticipations. The program ended in 1978. Nevertheless, it did help bring about faculty cooperation and the Faculty Seminar on Multicultural Societies ran for three years. The Seminar created undergraduate courses, and so undergraduate students began to get the opportunity to study in seminar topics on Africa, the Far East, Israel, Iran, French Studies, and Russian and Eastern European Studies. That same year, the Italian Studies Center opened, the Dutch Studies program began, and the Modern Language House was established.

In 1983, the position changed once again, and Dr. Joyce M. Randolph became the first female and first full-time (all the other directors had also been faculty members while conducting their responsibilities) Director of International Programs at the University of Pennsylvania. She remained its director for over twenty years. A brief biography of her can be found near the end of this report. In 1984, Richard Lambert and Humphrey Tonkin returned to co-chair an International Dimension of the University task-force and in 1989 there was a Provost's Planning Committee on International Dimensions chaired by Stephen Nichols. In 1991, an Ad Hoc Trustees Internationalization Committee was established, chaired by Russell E. Palmer, a former Wharton Dean. This Ad Hoc Trustees Internationalization Committee had been established by Alvin V. Shoemaker, the Chairman of the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees with certain goals in mind: notably that within a five-year period, Penn's recognition as an international higher educational institution should grow. That same year, the Provost's Council on International Programs (1990-1997) also established a new International Mission Statement of the University of Pennsylvania.

The next year there was a faculty committee, chaired by Jerry Wind, to increase the number of Penn students in Penn-sponsored international programs, due to the high numbers of students in previous years participating in international programs not sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania. From 1992 to 1997 there was a Trustees Internationalization Committee which received reports on the internationalization progress of the various schools and centers across Penn's campus. In 1996, after over twenty years of dually reporting, the Office of Internationalization Programs (completely unifying with the Undergraduate Study Abroad Office) reported as a whole to the VPUL. That same year, an International Health forum took place, an event that still takes place through to the present day. The next year, in 1997, the Office of International Programs became a resource center and in 1999, took over more responsibilities dealing with the Thouron Award. In 2000, advising for the graduate fellowships changed from being the duty of the Office of International Programs to the Center for Undergraduate Research (CURF) and a year later there was a Global Perspectives Strategic Planning Group. In the early twenty-first century, the Office of International Programs moved its location from Bennett Hall, where it had been located for quite some time, to the International House of Philadelphia. There, in 2005, the new Office of the Assistant Provost for International Affairs was created, and the duties of the Director were divided into two positions: the Director of the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, who is currently Rodolfo R. Altamirano, and the Director of the Office for Study Abroad, Geoffrey Gee.

See also Office of International Services (1963-1975)
Office of International Programs (1975-present)
Study Abroad and Student and Faculty Exchanges/Visits

This on-line exhibit was created by Alison D. Graham,
a University Archives Research Fellow during the summer of 2007

 

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