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The International Institute at the University of Michigan began its fifth year in September 1997. It was established after 20 years of planning to bring together University resources in area and international studies. Consolidating resources and adding new ones in the Institute — at first conceived of as the "institute for Foreign Area and International Studies" — provides powerful support for internationalizing the University. Faculty and administrative leaders participated in planning teams and drew on experiences elsewhere to incorporate outside ideas with those developed at Michigan. University President James Duderstadt announced the International Institute’s creation in his first State of the University Address in 1988 which set "internationalization" as one of the three goals of his presidency.
The International Institute is now in a new location, occupying the new School of Social Work Building’s east wing, at the corner of South University and East University Avenues. The International Institute was selected to move to the building by former Provost Gil Whitaker and LS&A Dean Edie Goldenberg, and additional design work was done to integrate the Institute’s dispersed facilities at the site, with other design refinements to share common spaces with the School of Social Work. The building will be completely finished by early spring 1998.
Since the Institute’s creation, institutions in the United States and abroad have inquired about how the University of Michigan organized its dispersed resources in area studies, international training, and international research within a single coordinated unit. They have asked how the Insitute has added new resources to these former responsibilities and queried how this new entity works within the University structure. The University’s "internationalization" process and the International Institute’s role in it has been targeted for study by a Ford Foundation- funded project examining the internationalization of universities in the United States. The Institute itself is presently involved in a fifth-year self-study and an external review.
While the Ford-funded project and the fifth-year review reflect on the history, character, organization, and trajectory of the International Institute, students, faculty, and visitors also ask, "What is the International Institute?" The International Institute has four related roles:
- 1. The Institute comprises pre-existing centers and programs, including new ones established after its September 1993 founding. All pre-existing centers and programs placed within the new International Institute in 1993 were previously located within the College of Literature, Science & the Arts (LS&A) and were established to serve specific needs and interests within the College. Though since 1993 centers and programs have been called to serve the entire University beyond the LS&A, within the Institute the centers and programs pursue their own distinctive agendas and largely govern themselves. Centers and programs retain responsibility for dispersing resources, including grants, gifts, endowments, and chairs. Center and program directors are appointed by the Institute director and are responsible to the Institute director, who provides oversight and support for center and program activity and represents the center and program directors before University of Michigan authorities. These constituent centers and programs are: the Advanced Study Center, the American Secretariat of the International Center for African Music and Dance, the Center for Chinese Studies, the Center for European Studies, the Center for Japanese Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, the Center for Russian and East European Studies, the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, the China Data Center, the Korean Studies Program, the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, the Office of International Programs, the Program in the Comparative Study of Social Transformations, the Program for Inter-Institutional Collaboration in Area Studies, and the affiliated Center for Afro-American and African Studies and the Population Studies Center.
- 2. The Institute is a small "foundation" that solicits and receives support for international activities anywhere within the University of Michigan. The core of the Institute’s "foundation" funds are provided by the LS&A Dean and the Provost, but additional funds to support activities proposed to the "foundation" may come from special grants and endowments. As a "foundation," the Institute announces its procedures and reports its decisions to the Institute Governing Board, LS&A Dean, and Provost. Small requests up to $10,000 are reviewed by Institute staff, director, or specially constituted deliberative committees. Requests from $10,000 to $30,000 are reviewed by the Institute’s Executive Committee. The Institute's Governing Board reviews larger requests.
- 3. The International Institute is responsible for some 42 faculty lines, including 27 faculty lines in LS&A for research and teaching expertise in area studies, with each position linked to an academic department and to an Institute center or affiliate. 15 positions have been made available for appointments, ones that span the professional schools and academic departments within LS&A. In each instance, when a position opens, it returns to the Institute for reallocation. The Institute’s Executive Committee recommends how these positions will be used.
- 4. Since its inception the International Institute has been responsibile for leading the University’s mandate to internationalize. The Institute is both a new structure within the University of Michigan and a new process. At its founding the International Institute was expected to work with new and existing resources to internationalize the University. The Regents’ message establishing the Institute noted that:
Under this mandate, the centers and programs brought together within the new organization retained long-developing agendas, resources, and distinctive identities, yet moved dramatically to serve internationalization across the University, especially the international interests and programs developing within the professional schools. The Institute was thus meant to begin as one thing in September 1993, and grow to become another. In its profile and organization the International Institute is thus unlike other departments or units in LS&A or other schools within the University. The International Institute is distinguished from other university units not only by its unusual status as "located within LS&A" and "serving the wider University," but also by its mandate to become eventually something other than it was at its inception.
The Institute recognized the enormous strengths, values, and possibilities of the centers and programs assembled into and now comprising the International Institute. Some peer institutions and even some individuals formulating the Institute saw the pre-existing centers and programs as having agendas and constituencies that were incompatible to internationalization. The University of Michigan instead saw these pre-existing resources as openings for outstanding research, training, outreach, and service in the international sphere — and to realize the intellectual and institutional capital located in context-based expertise on the world outside the United States and located in context-based expertise on processes defined as international and global.
Over several years of consultation with its Governing Board and Executive Committee, and with officers, deans, and others within the University, and through practice, the International Institute has developed several "enabling means" to realize its goals:
- 1. Through detailed planning and implementation of changes in the definition of staff responsibilities, through training and encouragement, and through leveraging the opportunities presented by the move to the new building, the constitution of outstanding capacity in the following functional areas: business; grants; development; academic planning and programs; special projects; outreach; and publications.
- 2. Through encouraging innovation in the practices of centers and programs, the animation of faculty expertise across diverse fields, departments, and schools.
- 3. Through the recruitment of outstanding faculty to new types of positions, and the establishment of productive bridges between academic departments and professional schools.
- 4. Through the selective and competitive use of funds available, the encouragement of "best practices" in training and research, as well as the expansion of the realm of international training, research, and practice.
- 5. Through the establishment of faculty and student research and study networks, within the University and externally, the animation of "working groups" and other innovative forms of collective and collaborative research appropriate to the definition of new research problems.
- 6. Through the use of existing Institute resources as leverage, the elaboration of enhanced resources for international study, training, and research in the University of Michigan.
- 7. Through maintaining a leadership position in international studies and international education, the building and sustenance of positive relations between the University and foundations, and between the University and national and international bodies in virtually every field and discipline.
The Institute over its first four years has contributed to the University (and beyond) in many areas. Some of the principal accomplishments from September 1993 through June 1997 include:
Rebuilding East Asian Studies
Recognizing the importance of the East Asian region, and the University of Michigan’s historic leadership in East Asian Studies, the Institute, with the participation of the Center for Chinese Studies, the Center for Japanese Studies, and the Korean Studies Program, has dedicated thirteen faculty positions to rebuild and enhance East Asian studies at the University. Eight of these thirteen positions have been filled (Cho, de Ferranti, Ivanhoe, Mueggler, Nornes, Park, Pincus, Takata). In addition, the University has secured a Chair in the Arts and Humanities of China (now open), and is soliciting gifts for additional chairs in Chinese and Korean studies.
The International Institute plans to build further productive linkages between the U.S. and China through research in psychology, the International Institute has dedicated more than $200,000 in seed money for research between scholars at the University of Michigan and scholars at the Institute for Psychology, Beijing Academy of Sciences.
The Institute will also continue to provide leadership in new social and economic research on China, the International Institute and the Center for Chinese Studies, have, in partnership with other University units, established the China Data Center. The Center gathers exceptional bodies of county-level data from China (some 2,000 counties and 2,500 variables), and uses the new geographical information systems (GIS) to produce one of the most powerful engines for research on China. At the same time, the University has received a major new endowment in support of research on the economy of China.
Supporting a New Range of Research and Teaching
With the University’s Office of the Provost and its partner units, the International Institute has created unique joint appointments bridging LS & A academic departments, the professional schools, and other colleges in the University.
The Institute has selected fourteen funding proposals for incremental faculty appointments. Each position brings into the University new expertise and new scholarly approaches to a changing world. Each position introduces a new range of teaching and training, bridging academic and professional learning through common courses and seminars and through curriculum reform and revision. Of the searches undertaken in these fourteen fields, eight searches have been successful (Connelly, Curran, de Ferranti, Hunt, Lansing, Nornes, Stephens, Wilson); searches have been completed and appointments are pending in two others; three searches are presently underway; and one search is on hold.
Additionally, the International Institute has supported, in conjunction with partnering units, seven experimental and temporary joint visiting appointments (Atran, Edwards, Fruin, Koo, Park, Shammas, Sperber).
To date, eleven departments in the College of L.S. & A. have participated with the International Institute in filling visiting and regular joint positions: Anthropology (2), Asian Languages and Cultures, Biology (2), Comparative Literature, Film/Video, History (2), Near Eastern Studies, Philosophy, Psychology, Residential College, and Sociology.
To date, eight professional schools and colleges have participated in filling these visiting and regular joint appointments: Information, Law, Medicine, Music, Natural Resources and the Environment (2), Public Health, Public Policy, and Social Work.
The visiting and joint faculty appointments have introduced new programs of instruction and training, uniquely joining academic and professional spheres in both undergraduate and graduate study. With these appointments, the University of Michigan pioneers and leads not only the revitalization of international studies but also the innovation of pedagogical and research links between professional and academic domains.
The recruitment and appointment of faculty to International Institute visiting and regular joint positions have so far focused attention on three prominent international fields and contributed a unique capacity to the University of Michigan:
Environment: five of the International Institute’s joint appointments introduce the University to new, distinguished expertise, including the effects of environment on human health and society, especially changes in tropical forest eco-systems; these appointments help establish the University of Michigan as a research leader on international environmental issues.
Asian Studies: four of the International Institute joint appointments introduce new expertise into the University’s highly regarded programs of Asian research and training.
International Expertise: five of the International Institute joint appointments bring significant and original attention to the changing contours of international expertise in trans-national and global settings, including the fields of international relations, environmental science and policy, epidemiology of infectious diseases, fertility and population policy, and the study of children-at-risk.
Advancing International Scholarship and Learning
Through focusing resources and coordinating the University of Michigan’s long-distinguished National Resource Centers in Area Studies (China, Japan, Middle East and North Africa, Russia and East Europe, South and Southeast Asia), the International Institute has strengthened context-grounded training and research across the University, helping to link professional education and practice with distinguished scholarship of, and service to, the world’s regions.
Three times a year the Institute publishes ii: The Journal of the International Institute. The Journal contains recent scholarly writing on international subjects by Institute and University faculty, students, and distinguished visitors, commentary on contemporary world news and events, updates of the activities of the Institute’s centers and programs, and coverage of international events at the University. Five thousand copies of each issue of the Journal are distributed around the University campus, the nation, and the world.
The Institute’s Advanced Study Center (funded by the International Institute’s Governing Board and other University units, with grants from the Ford, Mellon, and Pew foundations) has mounted intensive study programs on a range of topics: in 1994-95 "Beyond the Wall": Global Effects of the Cold War, in 1995-96 "Increasing Adult Mortality in Eastern Europe: Comparisons and Implications for the Developing World," in 1995-96 "Social Movements and Social Change in a Globalizing World," in 1996-97 Nation, Community, and Culture in the Aftermath of Empire," and in 1997-98 "Theories and Practices of Religious Toleration/Intolerance".
The International Institute supports, through its Center for Russian and East European Studies, a range of successful initiatives that address the significant change in the region. Amid the new opportunities for research and new needs for training, the Center has emerged as a national leader in reshaping scholarship about the former Soviet Union and its former East bloc satellites.
Since 1993 U. S. Department of Education grants have expanded from four to five-and-a-half for federally recognized and supported area studies centers and programs within the International Institute (with new grants for South Asian Studies and Latin American and Caribbean Studies).
- Between 1993 and 1997, the International Institute has financially supported:
- Some 200 conferences, symposia, workshops, and special lecture series at the University of Michigan;
- Twenty-five curated exhibitions, film programs, and concert programs; The participation of 225 members of the University of Michigan faculty in conferences overseas;
- The participation of 95 University of Michigan students in international-studies conferences within the United States; and, in conjunction with the Rackham School of Graduate Studies (which administers the awards), the participation of 180 students in conferences overseas;
- Individually-designed internships abroad for 83 University students, and pre-dissertation travel and research abroad for 104 University students;
- The International Institute’s Summer Language Institute, which has grown steadily to the point where it is expected that 15 languages will be offered in Summer 1998, with the SLI playing host to more than 500 students from across the country.
With gratitude for your interest in the International Institute and with appreciation for the contributions of all the directors and staff of the Institute, as well as associated faculty, visitors, and students.
David William Cohen is the Director of the International Institute.