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November 2016

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Big changes ahead for the Office of International Programs

Increasingly, the Office of International Programs sees the communities it serves as interconnected and interdependent, neither international nor domestic, but global.  The OIP recognizes and embraces the natural complementary relationships among study abroad, international students and scholars on our campus and our local and global communities.  When efforts are brought together, the OIP can more deliberately and effectively couple academic preparation with regional, national and international experiential education and thereby cultivate engaged global citizens.

The spring 2017 semester will bring a major transformation to the OIP:  a new space – Madison Hall – and a new name – the Center for Global Engagement.

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The move to Madison Hall in spring 2017 will triple the space of the current OIP and allow the center to multiply offerings and services in a number of significant ways.  With new spaces – such as a computer/language lab, larger/more conference rooms, student and faculty social areas, proximity to a new hotel, large conference facilities and the Student Success Center – the Center for Global Engagement is poised to support new programs and courses, deeper engagement with the community, cross-cultural education and training, and better assistance for visiting scholars, student/faculty research, and funding opportunities, among many other potentialities. The CGE allows building upon work over the past decade, which has positioned JMU as one of the most internationalized universities of its type in the United States, as well as a globally recognized leader for its work in study abroad, consortia development, assessment and cross-institution collaborative programming. The center envisions multicultural competencies training with a focus on working with international students in the classroom; a faculty fellows program to include local/global components; support of cross-disciplinary coursework – held in the CGE – on global subjects; a deep focus on outreach to the local refugee/migrant communities and interfaith dialogue; and outreach to K-12 students. 

Along with changing the name from the Office of International Programs to the Center for Global Engagement, comes a determination to apply a more contemporary and meaningful focus on JMU’s linkage of “local-to-global, ” including global in its broadest and most creative sense, to mean both encompassing and international.

The OIP and CGE always seeks to enhance work and a promote a broaded worldview by enabling JMU students to understand the local context, wherever they may be, and helping them also to see, in very real terms, that what is local is also global.

Together, the JMU community can maximize an extraordinary promise and potential to engage and convene many stakeholders at home and abroad toward shared means and common ends.  As the new name implies, CGE's aim is global engagement, starting right here in the Shenandoah Valley.