Vice Provost David Fleshler on Internationalization at CWRU
Happy New Year 2023 and Happy Lunar New Year from the Center for International Affairs!
As we start a new year, I want to provide both a brief review of 2022 and look forward to 2023.
Last year represented a milestone for the Center - we celebrated our 10-year anniversary. Highlights of the past decade include:
- Doubling the number of international students at CWRU.
- Increasing the percentage of undergraduate students studying abroad by 50%.
- Securing more than $1 million in funding for international endeavors.
- Significantly climbing in the rankings of elite global universities.
- Creating a culture of internationalization on campus, and a respect for CWRU’s leading education and research around the world.
The culmination of our celebration was a community-wide dinner, featuring the CEO of the Institute of International Education (IIE), Allan Goodman. Allan also spoke at our inaugural International Achievement Dinner in 2014. Allan was able to reflect on our growth and achievement, which included receiving IIE’s prestigious Heiskell Award in the category “Internationalizing the Campus”.
Looking forward to 2023, we are excited for the continued internationalization of our campus, but mindful of serious issues that confront our work.
Education Abroad is returning, and even adding, to our pre-pandemic offerings. EA is increasing the number and breadth of faculty-led, short- and long-term programs. Interest in studying abroad is at an all-time high, driven by both renewed interest after the pandemic pause in travel and by a growing understanding among students that their futures are inevitably linked to people, cultures, and forces (economic, political, etc.) outside of the United States.
Despite the news of a national decrease of international students, CWRU continues to grow and diversify our international student body. We have more international students than before the pandemic and they come from 102 countries - a record. Our growing international reputation and international ranking are clearly reaching prospective students and their parents.
Perhaps the Center’s most significant internal change in 2023 is based on research, including from the American Council on Education, demonstrating that the largest internationalization impacts on students actually occur when the institution focuses on internationalizing curriculum and engaging faculty. Late last year, we created a new office within the Center - Faculty International Engagement - that will work with faculty to find ways to become more international. The new office and its leader, Dr. Chris Sippel, are introduced here as well.
We also are returning to our pre-pandemic work on global strategy. Coordinating with many different schools across campus, the Center is leading efforts in broadening our work in Abu Dhabi, Israel, and specific countries in Africa, among others. Again, more in future Newsletters.
Finally, I could not end without referencing the troubles facing international higher education. From Brazil to Russia, from China to Iran, peoples and governments are retreating from a generally-held belief that internationalization will bring about a better world. In future Newsletters we will discuss how broad global forces may affect our students and faculty, indeed the entire university.
While the future is not all rosy, our outlook in 2023 is hopeful. We foresee growing international opportunity for our students, faculty, and staff, indeed for the entire CWRU community.
Again, Happy New Year. Thank you for your continued interest in working together to create a stronger, better, and more interconnected university and world.
Engaging Faculty in Comprehensive Internationalization
Since its inception, the Center for International Affairs (CIA) has strategically supported and achieved an increase in student participation in education abroad. It has also emphasized and developed a robust support system for the increasing numbers of international students on campus. A new strategic direction now focuses on the faculty. Recognizing that faculty serve as the cornerstone to institutional internationalization efforts, the CIA has established the Office for Faculty International Engagement by hiring its inaugural director, Dr. Chris Sippel.
Arriving on campus in September 2022, Dr. Sippel is tasked with engaging and supporting faculty in a variety of internationalization initiatives. He will leverage CWRU’s already robust international network and help faculty find global partners to participate in international collaborations. He will also assist faculty in their pursuit of Fulbright awards and other global fellowships as well as support the hosting of international scholars at CWRU. As faculty are the keepers of the curriculum, assistance will be provided for internationalizing the curriculum, including the establishment of a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Program. Dr. Sippel will also support the international agreement process which is an integral first step for successful global collaborations.
Before coming to CWRU, Dr. Sippel served as the Associate Vice President for International, Intercultural, and Service Engagement at the University of Findlay. He has held faculty positions at a variety of institutions in Japan and is a recipient of a Fulbright International Education Administrators Award to Taiwan. He received his B.A. from Rhodes College, his M.Ed. from Boston University, and his Ed.D. from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.
Supporting faculty is paramount to making further gains in the comprehensive internationalization goals of CWRU and the CIA.
The creation of this office and directorship will enhance the already robust international education foundation enjoyed by the institution.
Meet Law student Junwoo Shim
Junwoo Shim is a Law student earning his JD at CWRU. He is the vice president of the Asian Law Students Association and the treasurer of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. He also serves on the International Student Advisory Council. Junwoo uses what he learns in the classroom in practice every day, serving his community. He also loves to go out and enjoy life in Cleveland!
Name: Junwoo Shim
Graduation Year: 2024
Hometown: Jeongja, Bundang
Home Country: South Korea
Why did you decide to study at CWRU and what is your favorite part so far?
CWRU is definitely renowned for its academic excellence and innovative education. I wanted to take a more significant step in my life where I could get more insightful learning and challenge myself to the limit. I also had a few friends from Case who recommended to me how beautiful the campus is and that there are many great facilities available for students and faculty.
My favorite thing about studying here at CWRU is the relationships I am building with people. I love studying at CWRU because people here are caring and look out for each other, and I can reciprocally support them, as well. Studying law needs a strong commitment because it is a difficult journey, but I have always been able to stay happy and energized by my surroundings.
What do you like most about living in Cleveland?
Cleveland has great nature which allows me to hike different courses each time I go out, since there are plenty of parks and trails I can use. Not only is nature a great reason to live in Cleveland, trendy restaurants and various communities are also reasons I like living in Cleveland. As a member of multiple associations in the school, I get to eat out a lot at awesome restaurants that are special in Cleveland. There is a wide variety of choices, and this never gets me bored to live in Cleveland.
How did you get involved with the Asian Law Students Association and the Animal Legal Defense Fund? What do you enjoy about that work?
I am currently a vice president of the Asian Law Students Association in the law school serving Asian students and helping them succeed. I chose to get involved with the Asian Law Students Association because I wanted to help other Asians who would struggle in the school as I did in my first year. Likewise, I chose to become a treasurer in the Animal Legal Defense Fund because I wanted to assist the animal defense program to thrive and rescue as many animals as possible. I am really enjoying my work because I feel rewarded whenever I realize that I can help someone and solve their problem.
How has your involvement in ISAC helped you as an international student?
I thought I already knew enough information to guide and instruct any international students, until I became a member of ISAC. However, I was surprised that there are many more things I was missing in the school as an international student, and I am still getting to know more helpful information for international students. Because of ISAC, I am not only equipped with the great resources of ISAC to help out more students, but I am confident in being a mentor for anyone who needs guidance.
What are your career plans, and how do you think living and studying in another country will help you in your career?
Since I am studying law here, I want to be the top transactional lawyer in this field. I am confident and I know that CWRU will help me develop the required skills to achieve my goal. In my home country, I can become what I want and achieve what I want, but I chose to challenge myself in another country for bigger opportunities. In the U.S., I can learn different materials and use a wider range of knowledge than I can in my home country, which is the primary reason I chose to study outside my home country.
What advice would you give to other international students considering studying at CWRU?
I strongly recommend studying at CWRU to other international students because CWRU provides countless benefits to international students. One of the great benefits I am enjoying at CWRU as an international student is the several types of festivals and events CWRU provides. One time, I attended the Chinese New Year's festival at CWRU and enjoyed meeting with different people from various countries. There was also a variety of food from multiple countries that international students can try. I strongly recommend studying at CWRU for these reasons.