Benefits of internationalization

Internationalization is a means for us to further the research, education, and public service mission of UC Santa Cruz

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Joel Ferguson, professor of computer engineering, Senior International Officer, and Associate Vice Provost of International Education (Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

To borrow from President John F. Kennedy: My fellow Banana Slugs, ask not what you can do for internationalization, ask what internationalization can do for you.

I ask “what internationalization can do for you” because internationalization is not a goal in and of itself. Internationalization is a means for us to further the research, education, and public service mission of UC Santa Cruz and to support you as faculty, staff, or student.

We have internationally born faculty and international graduate students spread out over almost all departments directly involved in world-class research and teaching. Without their contributions, we would be missing the perspectives and skills we need to remain on the cutting edge of research. Our entire community would be impoverished without the diversity of perspectives, expertise, and life experience they bring.

Our international faculty, graduate students, and our increasingly international undergraduate student population help all students develop the inter-cultural skills needed to excel in today’s diverse global society. Just as our departmental and divisional communities would be diminished without our international faculty colleagues, I predict that within a few years our student body will not be able to imagine UC Santa Cruz without the diversity of opinions and perspectives that a robust population of international students brings.

Our students who take advantage of UC Santa Cruz’s study-abroad programs gain additional inter-cultural competencies and a sense of self-reliance that serves them well for the rest of their college career and after graduation, as well. For those who choose not to study abroad, the presence of international students on campus brings the rest of the world closer and makes the people in it more accessible.

In the near future, the international education office, led by Director Becky George and I, in partnership with other campus units, will add the following services for you, the faculty, staff, and students of UCSC:

  • Student intern visa processing to allow international students to work in faculty labs for short periods of time;
  • Faster H-1B processing to better serve anyone hiring international researchers;
  • A language and writing track for international students who need to improve their communication skills (in partnership with the Writing Program);
  • Support for faculty-led courses abroad to reinvigorate teaching, service, and research and to make study abroad more accessible for underserved student populations;
  • Recruitment of sponsored international students to further diversify the student population and to support Ph.D. programs.

Finally, I ask: What more can internationalization do for you to improve UC Santa Cruz’s research, education, service to the world, and community?  Please contact me at fjf@ucsc.edu with your suggestions.