December 5, 2007

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

Thank you for your contributions to the discussions surrounding the Global Lehigh Advisory Committee (GLAC) report “Getting to Global Lehigh”. This dialog has shown that we share a common vision of the importance of ensuring that internationalization, in all its dimensions, permeates the university’s intellectual environment and becomes a signature of Lehigh University. These discussions have been fruitful ones, involving the GLAC, the campus community, the Board of Trustees and Lehigh’s Global Council. Now is the time to move beyond discussion and set out a plan to achieve this vision. We believe that we can take actions now to make Global Lehigh a reality by 2013.

We have identified the five areas listed below to begin implementing immediately. We recognize that financial resources are a critical part of the process of realizing Global Lehigh. Therefore, we are making new funds available in order to move forward. We are committed to increasing the funds over the next five years to ensure long-term sustainability of Global Lehigh. We will continue to seek input regarding the best administrative structure to support, coordinate, and build synergy among all Global activities at Lehigh.

  1. Required International Experience (RIE) – We believe that an International Experience should become a signature of a Lehigh education. We propose a goal of being able to provide an International Experience for every Lehigh undergraduate student by 2013. We have asked the college deans to work with the faculty to immediately begin a phased-in implementation plan, including an appropriate time line and the resources required to meet our stated goal.

    As part of providing an International Experience, the Lehigh faculty will need to decide whether to require, or to recommend, an international experience for all undergraduate students. We recommend that this decision be made in a timely fashion so that the desired goal can be met by 2013. Each undergraduate college, under the leadership of the college dean, will define appropriate international experiences, both abroad and at home. This work will be done collaboratively across colleges and with the appropriate offices including the Study Abroad Office (SAO). They will also explore ways to expand international offerings and their capacity so that students have flexibility and leeway to fulfill the RIE. In so doing, they will be guided by the recommendations in Getting to Global Lehigh. Colleges will also enhance the undergraduate advising system to guide students to include one or more international experiences into their learning portfolio at Lehigh.

    The SAO in collaboration with the college deans will be tasked with developing a roadmap of all current global activities at Lehigh University that must be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes as a result of the above program developments. This is essential in order to ensure that the campus community, as well as prospective undergraduate students and faculty members, have an understanding of the depth and breadth of activities in this area.

  1. International Experiences Abroad – The colleges, working collaboratively with the Study Abroad Office (SAO), will strengthen successful study abroad and faculty-led international programs that add value to the student's international learning experience. They will also develop new programs outside of the traditional model of “junior year abroad,” focusing particularly on internships at key international locations in order to provide the students with an array of opportunities to meet their interests and needs. The Ambassadors program listed below will be an excellent resource for some of the international programs.
  1. Recruiting International Students – The Admissions Office working collaboratively with Lehigh alumni and the Ambassadors program and faculty connections, will target international locations for aggressive recruiting and developing sustainable pipelines of undergraduate international students. In addition, they will identify and recruit first-generation students of immigrant families from different regions within the U.S. Recognizing that financial aid is an important component for attracting international students to Lehigh we will explore various ways to increase the funding available to enhance the yield in admitted, highly qualified international students.
  1. International Scholars and Graduate Students –  The college deans will be responsible for promoting international exchange programs for Lehigh faculty. The deans and/or the associate deans for graduate studies will be responsible for interacting with the Ambassadors program to develop pipelines for recruiting high quality international graduate students. The deans will develop an implementation plan with timeline and required resources.
  1. Ambassadors Program and International Hubs – The Global Affairs Sub-Committee of the Board of Trustees has recommended building on the role of the existing Global Council to establish regional “Ambassadors” who will provide an important network for Global Lehigh in key areas around the world. We will work over the coming years to develop international contacts at a few strategic locations to be known as “International Hubs.” We envision sending a few of our Lehigh faculty on short visits in order to cultivate relationships for the creation and sustainability of International Hubs. The Ambassadors and the Hubs will assist in the recruitment of undergraduate and graduate international students, in identifying destinations for our students’ international experiences and internships, and in establishing international connections for collaborations and exchanges for Lehigh faculty and graduate students.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Global Lehigh Advisory Council (GLAC) members for all their hard work in creating the document “Getting to Global Lehigh” and in leading discussion of its recommendations across campus. The Council was chaired by Rajan Menon, and its membership included Judith A. McDonald, Marie-Helene Chabut, Richard P. Vinci, Arpana G. Inman, Frank J. Pazzaglia, Richard M. Brandt, Carl O. Moses, and was ably staffed by Joan Smith.

Alice P. GastMohamed S. El-Aasser