Driving a global University
The November 2021 UMRA A.M. audience was treated to an exceptional presentation on the international education of students at the University of Minnesota by Meredith McQuaid, associate vice president and dean of international programs. Dean McQuaid explained the goal of global competency for students, and the need for life-long learning and global experience for all.
The program she leads at the University is one the largest and most successful in the country. In fact, 33 percent of University graduates have an international experience during their education compared to a national study abroad average of 3 percent. This means that literally thousands of University students spend educational time in more than 60 countries. Dean McQuaid is the University’s foremost internationalist.
She spoke about three topics: the internationalizing of our community, the effect of COVID-19 on international programs, and the U’s system-wide initiative focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015.
McQuaid said the goal of global competency is to “demonstrate the knowledge, skills and perspectives necessary to understand the world and work effectively to improve it.” This is done not only by sending students abroad and recruiting students from other countries—both of which occur in large numbers at the University—but also by preparing students to go abroad and by working to integrate foreign students. Programs created by the dean’s office provide preparation seminars, assistance to faculty, and social opportunities for resident students from other countries.
Second, McQuaid played a short video depicting the impact on the University of the COVID-19 pandemic. The effects of the pandemic on students were both professional and personal. In January 2020, there were 6,005 international students on campus and 980 students departed for overseas programs. Within months, China, Korea, and Europe all shut down travel. By March 15, 1,000 University students returned to the U.S. from 67 countries, and many international students were stranded here because of travel restrictions.
Happily, these programs are coming back. Last spring, 200 students went overseas on University programs, and the international student population has rebounded to about 5,000 students.
Third, McQuaid spoke about the UMN Sustainable Development Goals Initiative. The U is a national leader in adopting the SDGs and integrating them into teaching and research across the University of Minnesota System. As she noted, these are unique goals because they are both local and international and are supported by private sector collaborations and by work with Aurora, a network of nine research universities in Europe.
We also learned that McQuaid would be one of the higher education representatives to participate in a trade mission led by Governor Tim Walz to the United Kingdom and Finland later in November.
Finally, in response to questions, McQuaid explained that she became interested in international matters as a result of several influences. These included participating in a language program in China shortly after the country opened up to foreign visitors in the late 1970s, and a 13-month, 36,000-mile around-the-world motorcycle trip she subsequently took with two American friends. These unique experiences fit neatly with her linguistics and law degrees from the University and helped to prepare McQuaid for her role as a University leader.
—Bill Donohue and Barbara Shiels, UMRA Program Committee members
What does it mean to be a global campus?
Tue, November 9 2021, 9am
Associate Vice President and Dean of International Programs
University of Minnesota
Event to be held via Zoom.
Study abroad programs provide opportunities for students to immerse themselves in the cultures of other countries. But they are only one part of the larger picture of the robust international education program at the University of Minnesota.
"What it means to be a global campus at home and abroad" will be the topic for discussion when we welcome Meredith McQuaid, associate vice president and dean of International Programs, as our guest speaker for UMRA A.M. at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, November 9. Dean McQuaid has dedicated her career to promoting and furthering international education as an integral part of higher education.
Please register for this Zoom webinar on Tuesday, November 9.
In her role at the University, McQuaid promotes the global dimensions of teaching, research, and engagement across all colleges and campuses. She also has administrative responsibility for Global Programs & Strategy Alliance (GPS Alliance), which encompasses multiple centers and units involved in international education, including the China Center, International Student and Scholar Services, and the Learning Abroad Center.
Dean McQuaid will provide a brief overview of the work, philosophy, and goals of the GPS Alliance. We will also learn about the impact of COVID-19, including the hopeful signs of a rebound in students studying abroad as well as international students, faculty, and staff coming to the University.
“The United States cannot afford to be absent from the world stage,” according to a joint statement issued recently by the U.S. Departments of State and Education in support of a renewed U.S. commitment to international education. “The robust exchange of students, researchers, scholars, and educators, along with broader international education efforts between the United States and other countries … are necessary to address shared challenges, enhance American prosperity, and contribute to global peace and security.”
International education should be relevant to the entire University International education should be relevant to the entire University, according to McQuaid, and the program's priorities may shift over time as University leadership changes. She will outline some actions, including curriculum work, trade delegation involvement, and other pivots the University's international programs have made over the last five years to remain relevant to the University as a whole.
She will also preview the University's new participation in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals program, which outlines 17 goals for nations to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.
McQuaid's passion for all things international began as an undergraduate when she was one of the first U.S. students to study Mandarin in China after the country opened to the West. She taught English in Japan for two years after graduation and then traveled around the world by motorcycle. She earned a BA in linguistics from the University and a JD from the University's Law School.
Please register and join us for UMRA A.M. at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, November 9, via Zoom.
—Barbara Shiels, UMRA Program Committee member
We will meet at the Mel-O-Glaze bakery on 28th and Minnehaha Parkway and walk to Minnehaha Falls and then back again.
Some of the most valuable and rare maps in the world are held in UMN's own James Ford Bell Library, housed in Andersen Library See https://www.lib.umn.edu/collections/special/bell .
The first meeting of UMRA’s Family History Interest Group for 2023–24 will feature a presentation by Marilyn DeLong about sharing family stories and learning surprising family connections.
UMRA has a special opportunity to engage with the four newest members of the U of M Board of Regents on Wednesday, October 4, via Zoom. The purpose of the event is to share our perspectives as former University employees.
All UMRA members with an interest in photography are welcome to attend the meeting of the UMRA Photo Club on Tuesday, October 10. We welcome photographers of all abilities. Most of us are struggling amateurs. We laugh a lot and learn from sharing and talking about our pictures.
The walk along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is always changing, with many attractions being added along both sides of the river and, now, the beautiful fall colors.
UMRA’s workshop on Open Enrollment for U of M retiree health plans for 2024 will include a briefing on the choice between Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans, by Jeff Snegosky of BCBS of Minnesota, followed by an overview of the U of M’s retiree health insurance plans, by Katie Kolodge from the Office of Human Resources.
Mary Jane Towle will lead the discussion of The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.
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The documents noted for this event specify your managers and can minimize income taxes now, and estate taxes.
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Get an insider's perspective on Santa Fe and Taos alongside local artists, exploring the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, enjoying traditional music and learning about native cultures. The deadline for reserving a space is June 2, 2023.
Please join us for an invigorating hike from The Monument located at the intersection of Mississippi RIver Blvd and Summit Avenue in St. Paul to Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis and back. This hike is on paved trails, approximately 5.5 miles in length, and will be at a pace suitable to the weather.