Oct. 28, 2013

Logevall: International goals 'demand a global presence'

Fredrik Logevall
Robert Barker/University Photography
Fredrik Logevall, Cornell's vice provost for international affairs, speaks about his priorities for internationalizing Cornell and the student experience at an Oct. 26 session of the Trustee-Council Annual Meeting.

Cornell’s strategic goals to be a top 10 world research university “demand a global presence – a commitment to international studies, to international engagement, to helping provide solutions to real world problems,” said Fredrik Logevall, vice provost for international affairs, at a Trustee-Council Annual Meeting presentation Oct. 26.

In his talk, “International Cornell: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?” Logevall outlined his priorities and described the feedback and recommendations he is seeking from faculty, alumni and university leaders.

Logevall, the John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, became Cornell’s vice provost for international affairs in July. His appointment came a year after a white paper from President David Skorton noted that Cornell had slipped in international competitiveness and influence over the past few decades and challenged the university to regain its global edge, internationalize the curriculum and increase to 50 percent the number of students having “significant” international experiences.

The white paper was followed by a faculty task force (on which Logevall served) that in late 2012 issued its report, offering more than two dozen specific recommendations to enhance and expand the university’s already extensive international activities and address areas where Cornell was underperforming compared with its peers. Cornell Provost Kent Fuchs has since responded to the recommendations; Logevall also has issued a “Call to Action” outlining his strategy.

Logevall described five priority areas distilled from the white paper, the task force’s recommendations and his own approach:

  • internationalizing the student experience by expanding opportunities and developing new courses and potentially a new interdisciplinary global affairs major;
  • supporting internationally engaged faculty by strengthening the Einaudi Center and its programs and recruiting and retaining faculty, in part through a new fellowship program;
  • enhancing Cornell’s international presence by cultivating new international partnerships and by exploring the possibility of creating Cornell consulates – study centers or regional hubs – in a select number of major world cities;
  • mobilizing funding for internationalization by generating new endowments; and
  • creating enhanced centralized university coordination across Cornell and providing supportive leadership through internal and external advisory councils.

In October, Logevall announced the formation of an Internationalization Council he will chair, comprising leaders from each college and school, charged with advancing Cornell’s global dimension across its campuses and worldwide by addressing organizational barriers to internationalization.

Logevall also has announced the formation of an external advisory council, to be chaired by Cornell Trustee Emeritus Martin Tang ’70 and made up of alumni and friends of Cornell, many of whom live internationally. The external council will offer strategic advice and will work to expand options for student internships abroad.

Rolling out the message

Logevall will address the wider Cornell community Nov. 18 at the Einaudi Center’s annual reception as part of International Education Week with a talk, “Global Cornell: Why It Matters,” which will include opening remarks by Fuchs.

A symposium, planned by Logevall for Feb. 10 in Ithaca, will explore the question of how to better define what constitutes “meaningful” or “significant” international experiences – terms used by Skorton and others to measure students’ global engagement.

One of Logevall’s strategies will be to get to students early – stressing international opportunities at Cornell as early as prospective students’ first campus tour and during Cornell Days. He also is looking into creating first-year “gateway courses” that would introduce students to the global dimensions of their courses; he is working with new Cornell Abroad Director Marina Markot and Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Laura Brown to refashion and reinvigorate Cornell Abroad; a faculty committee is investigating a potential cross-college global affairs major; and the new Language Study Council will look at keeping Cornell a top university for language instruction and also giving all students access to language courses. Logevall also wants to bring the best international students to Cornell at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels.

“We need to produce graduates who have cross-cultural awareness,” Logevall said, “who have the international experience, the language capabilities, the cross-cultural communication skills to navigate in this global economy. So many of the jobs they are going to have – whether in business, education, health care or government –will be global in scope and global in nature. We need to prepare them for that world.”

“Cornell’s long history of international engagement serves as a strong base for the good work we envision for the future,” President David Skorton told the Cornell Chronicle. “By involving every college and school, broadening the role of the Einaudi Center, further internationalizing the student experience, and tapping the expertise of internal and external advisory councils, we are creating a foundation for increasing success.”

Skorton praised Logevall’s vision and plans for his term as vice provost: “Fred Logevall, in his role as vice provost for international affairs, already is enabling a resurgence of global perspectives and priorities in research, teaching and outreach universitywide.”