UCEAP Alumni and Friends

 A Note from Vivian-Lee Nyitray
UCEAP Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director

June 2020

In this moment, change is exactly what is needed. The world has witnessed multiple vicious enactments of racial hatred, leaving people to protest racial injustice, ethnic oppression, and bigotry. In this moment, we cannot leave the work of transformation solely on our students. We, too, are responsible for transforming, as complacency equals complicity. To this end, UCEAP will: Establish a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leadership team, in cooperation with UCOP and in partnership with campus and field staff, to review all aspects of UCEAP’s operations. Require all UCEAP staff to complete courses 1-5 of UC’s Managing Implicit Bias series. Course 6 will also be required for all supervisors. Completion of the series will be an expected component of next year’s performance evaluation process. Establish funding for staff to utilize more of Diversity Abroad’s resources. Schedule in-person diversity and inclusion support workshops, in collaboration with Diversity Abroad, for field staff once conditions permit.

UCEAP is committed to these initiatives because action is needed more than words. I ask you all, as fellow human beings who are brought together by professional circumstances, to truly work to be the change we so desperately need to see.

April 2020

What a difference a month can make. In one month, the impact of COVID-19 took us from suspending programs in three countries to suspending all 2019-20 spring and 2020-21 summer programs. UCEAP monitored and followed fast-changing directives from health and travel advisories between the Department of State, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the University of California Office of the President. Simultaneously, instructional transitions at partner institutions, travel bans, and border closures compounded each decision UCEAP needed to make.

So, where are we now? At home adjusting to working remotely, following the stay at home order, and trying to ensure the health and wellness of our loved ones and ourselves. We are also considering fall 2020 programs and whether they will run as scheduled and what modifications might be necessary or possible. We can’t predict how long we will be in this state of uncertainty, but there are some things that will remain constant: our commitment to UC students and our appreciation for each other. As we regroup and face new challenges together, I'm encouraged by the resilience, creativity, and kindness you demonstrate. Now, more than ever, UCEAP must keep calm and carry on.

January 2020

With 2020 ahead of us, I have been thinking about the journey that brought us together and imagining where that journey will lead us. My appointment with the University has been extended through December 2020. I look forward, therefore, to the coming year, in which we will develop a new five-year strategic plan for UCEAP in consultation and cooperation with all staff and campus partners. Our core mission and vision remain unchanged but we want to chart the next steps of UCEAP’s journey onward with care and precision.

Travels this year to Korea, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia, China, Lithuania, and Finland have yielded positive outcomes in new partnerships, the renewal and refinement of existing programs, and the exciting promise of new academic experiences for our students. It’s also given UCEAP the opportunity to think carefully about staffing abroad, the range of faculty appointments, and our internal operations. Recruitment for Faculty Directorships and Visiting Professorships has been challenging in some locations, and associated costs at times have resulted in increased program fees. In China and Japan, UCEAP is shifting to benefit from the local presence of UC-trained or UC-knowledgeable faculty to work with study center staff. In Italy, the shift to a partial-year residence for the Faculty Director in Bologna has already happened.

In order to continue to offer UC faculty opportunities abroad, UCEAP will develop a Scholar in Residence program giving faculty the opportunity to spend 10-14 days at a partner institution, meet colleagues to initiate or strengthen research ties, work with local students, or possibly offer a short course, lectures, or a workshop. We are very excited about this new direction!

During the coming year, visits to Ghana, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain will allow me to meet staff and partners whom I’ve only known via email or Zoom meetings! I’ll also travel to campuses and conferences throughout the year, and look forward to seeing many of you along the way.

For now, let me wish you all a very happy new year! May 2020 take us all on memorable and fulfilling journeys, both personal and professional.

December 2019

Having returned to work here in California after the Thanksgiving holiday, it's a fitting time to thank those colleagues with whom we interact regularly but don’t see as often as we’d like: our UCEAP faculty and staff abroad, and faculty and staff members at our many partner institutions—all of whom assist UC students academically and personally every day. Civil unrest in Hong Kong has dominated the news in recent weeks and months, but human-caused and natural events in Chile, Spain, Japan, and the United Kingdom have brought the dedicated work of UCEAP staff and partners in all these locations into sharp relief. Year after year, our staff and partners abroad carry on (and keep calm). We are thankful, each and every day, for your work.

This issue of the UCEAP Business Bulletin highlights changes for valued staff members in France. Special thanks and all best wishes go out to Christine Ebnôther! We trust she knows that, like all other retirees and former staff members, she will always be part of the UCEAP family.

This month also brings news of partner institution accolades, student internships, and a new IT tool for staff. As always, I urge you to read The Californian Abroad and recommend it to others. If you have an idea for a blog post or if there’s a question you’d like me to address in a future Business Bulletin, please don’t hesitate to contact me at uceapdirector@uceap.universityofcalifornia.edu

I remain thankful for all you do, and I look forward to hearing from you.

October 2019

UCEAP goes by the motto “Travel. Learn. Live.” This month’s update has all three exhortations on display!

Site visits enable systemwide and campus staff to garner a nuanced impression of the academic, residential, and cultural experiences that await our students abroad. In addition to the Scandinavia site visit detailed below, UCEAP arranged a weeklong tour in Singapore for a group of deans, faculty, and staff from engineering schools and colleges from all nine UC undergraduate campuses. We visited longtime partner National University of Singapore and two partners with whom exchange programs are in development: Nanyang Technological University, with its “flipped classroom” pedagogy, and the Singapore University of Technology and Design, with its design-centric engineering curriculum.

Owing to numerous requirements and linked courses, engineering students in particular benefit from early advising on study abroad. The aim of this inaugural administrative site visit was to build awareness of UCEAP among engineering faculty and to display a broad sample of institutional settings and program options for engineering students. Although the days were long, the program full, and the obligatory photo ops plentiful, the group was an extraordinarily congenial one that learned a lot and had a good time doing so. (We also perfected the art of stuffed elevator selfies!)

Simultaneous to the Singapore site visit, UCEAP’s International Health, Safety, and Emergency Response (IHSER) staff were in Mexico City, offering staff from our study centers and partners an intensive workshop to bolster their effectiveness in assisting students. In spring 2020, UCEAP will partner with Diversity Abroad for the first time to offer staff in Europe an intensive workshop to better understand and support underrepresented students in their study abroad experiences. Similar IHSER and Diversity Abroad workshops will follow in Asia in fall 2020.

Other exciting initiatives include our partnership with UCLA’s Honors Program, an expansion of internship options and locations, and the development of a direct enrollment option—this last to be developed in partnership with campus representatives. Travel. Learn. Live. Great words to work by!

September 2019

In 2016, UCEAP staff engaged in a strategic planning process that yielded new vision and mission statements as well as an ambitious plan to engage UC students from early awareness through to their return and on to a continuing relationship with UCEAP as alumni. We are now in the final year of that plan. While the time is ripe for a new strategic planning process, it does not mean that we start from scratch. By the end of December 2019, we will evaluate present workgroups and, if needed, regroup. In January 2020, a facilitated all-staff retreat will identify our next priorities. Once decided, we will invite campus partners and study center staff, as well as staff from all levels of the systemwide office to participate in new or continuing workgroups. By June 2020, we will be ready to roll out a viable five-year plan.

What will be the goal of the new plan? President Napolitano expressed a desire to double the number of UC students studying abroad and urged UCEAP to strive toward sending 10,000 students to study abroad annually. I believe that getting to 10,000 is not merely aspirational; it is achievable and even desirable, as it clearly demonstrates the significance of UCEAP within the academic structure of the entire UC system. We can reach the point of sending out 10,000 students per year, but the goal is not purely quantitative. Our vision is predicated on the provision of academic programs of quality—programs that are vetted for academic integrity and relevance, that meet rigorous health and safety standards, and that meet student needs for practical tools and meaningful engagement. So 10K should not be the sole driver of our actions, but I am certain that it will be the outcome.

As we move into a new strategic planning cycle, our vision, mission, and overarching goals remain unchanged.

Through international academic experiences, the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) inspires students to explore and transform their lives, UC, and the world.

A recognized leader in the field of international education and the preeminent education abroad program for the University of California system, UCEAP collaborates with campus partners to create an integrated and inclusive UC culture of study abroad.

March 2019

Even though the US East Coast and parts of Europe are still in a hard freeze, spring will come to the northern hemisphere, and the rich colors of autumn will arrive in the southern reaches of the globe before long. As the seasons pass, some things endure, and this issue of the Business Bulletin reminds us of our unchanging mission.

For several years now, UCEAP has offered grants of up to $5,000 to faculty and staff for projects that further the academic integration of education abroad into a student’s curricular plan. A common misperception is that study abroad will delay graduation. Given the costs of attending school and the need to finish a degree on time, assurance that courses taken abroad will be credited toward major, minor, or breadth requirements looms large in the decision to study abroad. I hope you will encourage local faculty and departmental/college staff to submit applications for UCEAP's AI grants.

Each issue of this bulletin brings news of staffing changes in the systemwide office, on campuses, and at our study centers abroad—all of which we celebrate for the new opportunities presented to our colleagues. Yet, even as the names and faces may change, the essential work goes on, including UCEAP’s new student information system, MyEAP2, rolling out at UCEAP’s Annual Conference in June.

Last month, I accompanied UC President Janet Napolitano, UC Provost Michael Brown, and UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang to Singapore and South Korea, where we met with existing valued partners, potential new partners, government officials, and industry leaders with interests in research and educational cooperation. The delegation’s trip concluded with an alumni reception at Yonsei University in Seoul. I was delighted to meet current yearlong students and to re-connect with Yonsei faculty and administrators, as well as with our outstanding study center staff. Although the time was far too brief, I appreciated being able to spend time and to thank everyone face-to-face for all their efforts.

At the conclusion of the delegation’s trip, I remained for a few extra days, during which time I met with the board of the colleges where I was dean in China prior to returning to California. My Chinese colleagues and I have continued to work together, bringing students to the UC through Berkeley’s summer school. These colleagues have become my family’s treasured friends, as sharing time abroad creates special bonds. When a UCEAP student exclaims that study abroad “changed my life,” it is the sum total of academic and personal experiences that promote the transformation. With luck and a little effort, the change that we offer through our UCEAP programs will bring friendships that will continue through many seasons to come, coloring a lifetime.


February 2019

As the lunar new year dawns, I find myself thinking about the ancient Chinese Book of Changes (I Ching易經 or Yijing 易经). A book of divination, its images visualize the world as it is and as it may change. Seeing the present context enables us to take stock of our place in the world, and having a sense for how change may occur equips us to respond in the most advantageous way. The goal is to not only survive but to thrive. Aligning with change should maximize benefit, defined in terms of health, wealth, and happiness.

Staffing changes bring a mixture of emotions, from fond farewells for those leaving to warm welcomes for those joining UCEAP. I’m always delighted to welcome new staff members, but this month, I am particularly pleased to announce that our search for the Program Director for Asia has concluded successfully. We look forward to the arrival of Michelle Cobb, who will bring broad experience and a team orientation to the position, effective March 4. Karen Mead, Director of Programs in Spain and the Americas, deserves sincere thanks for serving as Interim Asia Director these past months, as do members of the dedicated Asia team, all of whom adapted to significant change with grace and goodwill.

In this month’s edition of the Business Bulletin, you’ll see how UCEAP continues its partnership with the International Summer School in India. I hope you’ll take time to visit our blog, The Californian Abroad, and read about returnees helping future UCEAP students prepare for Dublin. UCEAP students in Florence have been enhancing their Italian skills and meeting local people through an unexpected volunteer opportunity: teaching English. In opening themselves to new possibilities and daring to do something different, these students not only change their young students but change themselves as well. Judging from the photos, they are clearly maximizing happiness!

As the year of the pig gets underway, I wish everyone good health, wealth, joy and contentment in abundance, and the sense that change is exciting!

January 2019

This month's message includes a link to Meaningful Moments, a collection of visual memories submitted by UCEAP students reflecting on their study abroad experiences. As I enjoyed the photos and commentaries, I thought back to my experiences in The Netherlands in 1975 and in Taiwan from 1979-82. In Amsterdam, I lived with a wonderful host family who took me into their home and hearts without hesitation. I learned to drink coffee and I learned enough Dutch to carry on a conversation; I made mistakes (ate the "cookies" that were meant for the dog) and I made memories that still make me smile.

Last month, I visited the UCEAP/ACCENT center in Florence and had the opportunity to tag along with students taking a Renaissance art course. As we followed the captivating instructor through the Uffizi Gallery, I recalled the glorious 17th-century Dutch art history course I'd taken in Amsterdam; we met every Saturday in the Rijksmuseum. Back then, I'd never imagined that education could be so up close and personal. Now, in Florence, I listened as students gave presentations on various works of art—each standing in front of the piece and explaining its background and significance like an accomplished museum docent.

As I talked with students in Rome, Florence, and Bologna about their living arrangements, I thought back to my years of sharing apartments in Taiwan with other students. I can still see us watching maudlin TV dramas to improve our Mandarin and Taiwanese; I can still hear the sounds of roommates battling the enormous flying cockroaches; and I can still smell (and wish I could taste!) our shared meals of dumplings and noodles.

My own education abroad experiences were facilitated by faculty and staff whose dedication I recognized but scarcely fathomed at the time. All of you know what happens behind the scenes and onsite to make such meaningful moments possible. We can all take pride in UCEAP's constant attention to refining and enhancing our work as evidenced by the articles below about site visits, AI grant deadlines, and the best programs for new travelers. It’s also demonstrated in the beautiful new Reciprocity website. As you explore it, consider how students coming to our campuses will have their own uniquely UC meaningful moments.

As we begin this new year, my wish for all of us is that we might think of each student not only as personal catalyst for the remembrance of things past but also as incentive to continue our work and encourage many more students to find their own meaningful moments through UCEAP.

November 2018

Going. For a student, study abroad is about education and experience in a foreign country. “Where should I go?” is often the first question a prospective participant asks, and “Where did you go?” is very often the first question the student hears upon return from their time abroad.

Coming. For reciprocity students, study abroad is about education and experience in a foreign country: the US. “Why did you come here?” is a frequent question they encounter. How reciprocity students come to the University of California soon will be made easier with the launch of our new website (itself offering the first instance of the new UCEAP domain name). I encourage everyone to check out the new reciprocity website a month from today!

Doing. Whether going or coming, the UC education abroad experience is about engagement and activity in a new cultural environment. This issue of the Business Bulletin offers great stories about our students’ internships and about student encounters with a US consular official in Scotland.

But it’s not only students who are going, coming, and doing. Staff departures are always an occasion of mixed emotions for those who remain: sadness at losing a colleague and happiness for her or him in the move to new challenges and opportunities. New staff coming in—or shifting roles—is always exciting for the possibilities that ripple out from a change in personnel. And, as this issue shows, UCEAP staff are always doing something! They’re developing grants for faculty and staff to advance the curricular integration of study abroad into UC degree tracks, developing new procedures to aid campuses with enrollment and other issues, and presenting ideas and practices to our colleagues around the world.

As I’ve attended 50th-anniversary celebrations in Mexico and Israel in recent weeks, I’ve been struck by the sincere appreciation and gratitude of current and former students—directed not only toward the local staff but also to the staff whom they never meet but who made their experience possible. I always offer our collective greetings to everyone at these events, and I am so pleased to bring the thanks of our alumni, students, and their family and friends to you, for all that you do every day.

September 2018

This issue of the UCEAP Business Bulletin highlights the world of UCEAP as one of constant change. All four of the students recognized in the annual Undergraduate Research Award competition undertook fascinating projects that studied change in some form: sociocultural, ecological, socioeconomic, and biochemical. Another two students—the “TechTwins”—used their UCEAP experience as a means of taking charge of life’s challenges and then encouraging others to effect positive changes in their own lives.

With funding from Erasmus+, a half dozen UCEAP and UC campus advisors benefited from Free University Berlin’s International Week of best practices for advancing student mobility. In keeping with our current strategic plan, UCEAP seeks new avenues for collaboration with campus staff, both in study abroad/global engagement offices and across the campus. President Napolitano’s goal of “Getting to 30%” requires that all UC staff, faculty, and administrators cooperate and coordinate efforts in outreach, advising, and support for study abroad. And if we can do this while having some on-the-ground experience too, all the better!

One of the signal changes and most successful UCEAP-campus collaborations of the past three years has been the development of summer physics courses in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Spain, Hong Kong, and Cyprus—featured on the fabulous UCEAP blog, The Californian Abroad. In response to STEM course impaction on all campuses, UCEAP is focusing program development on gateway courses in organic chemistry, psychology, economics, and computer science. Enrollments are strong and growing, representing a significant change in the balance and composition of UCEAP’s portfolio.

Lastly, this issue brings news of staff changes and, sadly, the passing of one of UCEAP’s first associate directors, Hallam Shorrock. What I find heartening, no matter the changes that happen every day, is that the vision that inspired Hallam and the other founders of UCEAP is what drives us still, no matter the changes of personnel, partners, and programs.

May you enjoy the seasonal changes wherever you are!

July 2018

Every year in late June, UCEAP holds its Annual Conference. I understand that there’ve been countless variations over the years in scheduling, types of sessions offered, invited guests, and associated alumni events. This year, we invited international partners to attend, and we benefited as well from the presence of some academic integration grant recipients and campus academic advisors. As I think back over this year’s conference, I am struck again by its utility in bringing systemwide, campus, and international staff together to review the year’s work, to update policies and procedures, to share research, to be introduced to new programs, and to strategize for the coming year(s) in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.

In my opening plenary, I introduced the notion of design thinking to those present. In a nutshell, this is a design process that begins with identifying the actual recipient of a product, process, or policy; one then works to cultivate empathy with that person and develop a prototype which is then shared with others for positive input and advancement. In this way, we refrain from taking our own understanding as universal or primary; we seek not to validate our own ideas but to enhance whatever it is that we’re developing.

In two sessions entitled “Mind the Gaps,” UC Irvine Study Abroad Center Director Bill Clabby asked a number of questions about UC campus processes related to study abroad and about UCEAP’s plans and programs. During the conference, Bill created a Google doc for brainstorming new ideas, eliciting more than 75 of them along with suggestions for data that UCEAP might provide to campuses. As we move into the new academic and fiscal year, we’ll be examining these many ideas and requests.

To return to the Annual Conference, and in light of the UC systemwide goal of getting 30% of all undergraduates to have an international experience, I wonder how the conference might best contribute to advancing this goal? For example, should we encourage broader campus participation by inviting SIOs and staff who advise for campus-based programs? Should we invite campus academic advising staff, perhaps from targeted disciplines or departments? Should we open registration to staff from Admissions, Registrars, Financial Aid, and Student Affairs/Student Success offices? If we grow, we might have to shift to a larger venue and charge a modest registration fee, but perhaps the gains would offset that. All topics for discussion.

We are, however, already looking at themes related to diversity, inclusion, and attention to other pressing social issues. I invite your input at any time, on any of these—or other—matters. Anyone in the UCEAP extended family can reach me directly at vnyitray@eap.ucop.edu. I look forward to our conversations.

May 2018

The month of May takes us into new—and renewed—territory in international education. Campus Credit Abroad databases have launched to aid students with academic planning and credit approval processes. New partnerships and English-taught programs have been approved in Scandinavia to expand opportunities for students in business, economics and a broad range of STEM fields. And, we have signed renewed MOUs with UCEAP’s long-time partners, Yonsei University and Meiji Gakuin University.

Last month, I traveled with a delegation to Korea and Japan. The team included Mary McMahon (Regional Director for Asia), Michael Marcelli (Director of Budget and Finance), and Elizabeth Janis Perl (Director of Alumni Engagement and Development). On April 12, the delegation visited Yonsei University in Korea to tour the new Study Center and to sign agreements between Yonsei University and UCEAP. The MOU signing ceremony included a general student exchange agreement, an appendix for an MBA student exchange with UC San Diego, and the provision of Visiting Professorships. Professor Doowon Lee (Vice President for International Affairs) shared his appreciation for UCEAP's continued partnership and support over the past 32 years; we look forward to many more years of this successful partnership. The visit included meetings with students and staff, and we concluded our too-brief time in Seoul with an alumni event in the lovely Global Lounge in the Commons.

While in Japan, we visited several of UCEAP’s partner institutions. At International Christian University, home of the UCEAP Study Center, we were honored by an extended meeting with President Hibiya and her senior international officers. Afterward, we enjoyed lunch with current UCEAP students. On April 17, we held a signing ceremony at Meiji Gakuin University to renew our MOU and mark 30 years of partnership. That evening, we hosted an alumni reception in the Main Building on campus and were delighted by the turnout of nearly 100 students, staff, alumni, and guests. It was wonderful to hear firsthand from current students about their study abroad experiences and to learn from alumni about the long-term impact and benefits of their earlier experiences. Later in the week, Mary McMahon and Kayo Takahashi (Administrative Manager of the Tokyo Study Center) also met with officials at Osaka University and with representatives from the University of Tokyo.

The staff of both UCEAP Study Centers in Korea and Japan were gracious hosts, and all were excited to meet with fellow colleagues and experience both countries firsthand. For Budget and Finance Director Michael Marcelli, his first trip abroad enabled him to work directly with Study Center staff and talk with students about the pre-departure finance experience; we expect that he will look to affect positive changes in procedures and policies as a result. We were also very glad that, despite staying at the Hotel Gracery in Tokyo—with Godzilla beneath his window—he made it back alive.

April 2018

On March 19-20, I joined NAFSA members from across the country to participate in Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. and visit our elected representatives on Capitol Hill. Our purpose was to elicit general expressions of support for international students and scholars (tweets, floor speeches, support for future legislation), and to promote specific support for the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program Act (S. 601 and H.R. 4379). We did not specifically advocate on behalf of DACA students, but ongoing advocacy efforts include calls to support the Dream Act (S. 1615 and H.R. 3440). The first day was filled with info sessions on specific policies, along with role-playing scenarios to prepare us for speaking with legislators and their aides. The following day, we braved the coming nor’easter and headed to the Hill. There were eleven people in the California delegation, including Kitty Christen (Systemwide Office), Sarah Nagel (UCB), Aspen Felt and Kai Cheng (UCD), and Ashley Browne (UCI). The entire group visited the offices of Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, after which Kitty and I visited the office of our local Santa Barbara congressional representative, Salud Carbajal.

In visiting each office, we acted as members of NAFSA but indicated our affiliations with the University of California. Neither of the California senators was available to speak with us directly but we were given 30 minutes of time with staffers in each of their offices. Kitty and I managed a quick “hallway hello” to Rep. Carbajal as he hurried off to vote on the House floor and then spent a pleasant 20 minutes with his staff (and canine “chief of staff”). We left them with our business cards and a standing invitation to visit the UCEAP office when the Congressman is in town.

One striking revelation from our conversations was that the great majority of staff members had themselves studied abroad. We expressed our appreciation for Sen. Feinstein’s co-sponsorship of the Simon Act, and we provided each office with outbound student success stories as well as stories of the visa challenges and delays facing inbound exchange students. We left them with NAFSA-generated packets of relevant legislative background and infographics tailored to each state and region, showing the economic benefits brought by international students and scholars, as well as statistics on the benefits of study abroad in terms of retention, time to degree, and other indicators.

At the end of the day, the entire group held a debriefing session. It was a fascinating glimpse into legislative life within the Beltway, and I hope that UCEAP and our campus partners will continue to participate. Whether or not you can go in person, advocacy for our students and programs continues year-round and in a variety of ways. For more information on what you can do, go to NAFSA's Take Action web page. Even if your representatives support international education, I urge you to take a moment to let them know you appreciate that support. Make your voice heard!

February 2018

It’s far from spring, but change already seems to be in the air! Across the globe, opportunities for internships (as well as lab research and service learning) continue to expand. Here in Goleta, we’re excited to welcome new staff members at the UCEAP office and we’re relieved to welcome back those affected in various ways by the recent Thomas fire and subsequent mudslides.

Behind the scenes, MyEAP II and the new website continue to develop in preparation for a summer 2018 rollout. We continue to examine and refine our policies and processes. We are presently reviewing all programs with an eye toward balancing cost vs. academic needs, as well as evaluating duplicate offerings that complicate advising on campuses. New program development will focus on addressing campus course impaction, e.g., summer STEM gateway programs; on providing tools for pre-professional development, e.g., Spanish for special purposes; on thematic packages; and on experiential learning opportunities.

Other changes may be coming, most notably any that may arise from the State Auditor’s review of the UC Office of the President and the subsequent Huron Consulting Group report commissioned by UCOP. At this point, what shape those changes, if any, may take is unclear. Although the report aggregates some recommendations for UCEAP and other systemwide operations, UCEAP is self-funding, making our relationship to UCOP distinct from other off-site academic programs such as UCDC and the UC Sacramento Center. UCEAP presently enjoys a positive working relationship with UC Santa Barbara, for which we are grateful, even as we strive to keep clear our role as a systemwide entity that serves all ten campuses equally. Please know that I will do my best to keep all UCEAP staff, friends, and alumni/ae aware of whatever may come.

Although change is the highlight of this month’s message, it remains the case that some things don’t change, among them, the dedication and hard work exhibited every day in our offices here and abroad. The Huron report described UCEAP as an example of a “best-in-class function.” We are, the report said, a model for other universities. May it ever be so.

January 2018

When I was a student in the Netherlands, I was a bit mystified by my host family’s penchant for calendars. There was a calendar in every room in the house. Even the WC displayed the ubiquitous Dutch verjaardagskalendar or “birthday calendar,” positioned to preclude any possibility of forgetting family birthdays. There were wall calendars and desk calendars of varying sizes and prominence, each noting appointments and important events. Over time, I realized that the calendars were more than mere reminders of family plans; they were inescapable instructors of a basic truth: tempus fugit. Time flies.

And so it does. It was two years ago today that I stepped into this wonderful position at UCEAP. From the beginning, my desire for the organization has been to increase transparency and collaboration, to address critical IT and personnel needs, to foster better communication, to maintain financial self-sufficiency, and to develop UCEAP in ways that will serve student and faculty needs effectively in the years to come. On all these fronts, we’re making good strides and continue to move forward. UCEAP is making impressive advances in faculty engagement and academic integration (course articulation) and in program development, particularly as we pilot new campus collaboration in faculty-led programming. Getting the word out on all programs is critical, making us especially delighted by the outpouring of student interest in our video contest and in providing content for The Californian Abroad.

This last year certainly brought a number of challenges to many of us at UCEAP, beginning with Twitter diplomacy, DACA concerns, and on-again, off-again immigration rules; continuing with evolving UCOP audit and budget uncertainties; and closing with devastating California wildfires that impacted students, faculty, and staff. Nonetheless, as I hang up my paper calendars and scroll over to the next screen on my digital ones, I’m eager to get underway with 2018! Time flies and we shouldn’t waste it. I hope you’ll join me in a new year’s resolution I know we can keep: Let’s resolve to keep our positive momentum going and growing. Happy New Year – and onward to 10,000 UC students abroad!

December 2017

I happen to be writing this on “Giving Tuesday”—a day to celebrate and encourage philanthropy and support organizations that make a positive difference in our world. UCEAP, although an academic unit of the University of California, is nonetheless such an organization.

Every day, our staff and partners here in Goleta, on the campuses, and around the world enable our students to study, work, and travel abroad. Everyone gives of themselves in myriad ways, from extra time spent assisting a student or parent, to the extra effort it takes to arrange meetings and events, to generous donations for our scholarship programs. UCEAP supports our Guardian Scholarship recipient through a variety of fun(d)-raising events, and we support local charities during the holidays.

Our alumni support our work as well in a variety of ways, and one of the nicest parts of my work week is the time spent penning notes of thanks for donations to our scholarship funds, for gifts in kind for our events, for planned giving bequests, and—most importantly—for the appreciation and encouragement inherent in all these expressions of support. As I often write in my notes, it’s heartening to know that UCEAP alumni continue to find meaning and value in their experiences abroad—even after the passage of years. Every thank you I write is heartfelt, and I know it is written on behalf of all of us associated with UCEAP.

With Thanksgiving just past, and with Giving Tuesday upon us, this just seems like a good time to give thanks. To you. For all you do, every day.

November 2017

On October 16, UC Vice President Arthur Ellis and I convened a daylong systemwide meeting entitled “Getting to 30%: Creating a Culture of Study Abroad on UC Campuses.” Representatives from all 10 campuses were present and included Registrars; Financial Aid Officers; Senior International Officers; administrators from Admissions, Undergraduate Education, Student Success, and Student Affairs offices; and a sprinkling of Study Abroad Directors and staff. Provost Michael Brown opened with thanks for the work we all do in helping our students study abroad or otherwise internationalize their academic experience, and he indicated he plans to develop an internationalization strategy for the UC. His words were welcome as we launched the day’s work. 

After high-level snapshots of the current situation and unique programs at UCLA, UCD, and UCB, break-out group discussions focused on (1) challenges of creating awareness and conducting outreach; (2) academic challenges; and (3) financial challenges for both students and campuses as this initiative moves forward. The closing plenary reports confirmed the value of cross-unit awareness and underscored the need for ongoing discussion. At this time, notes from the meeting are being collated for distribution to participants. Once approved, summaries will be presented to the Council of Vice Chancellors and the Council of Chancellors. I will make these available to all UCEAP staff as well.
If we are to double the numbers of UC students studying abroad, it’s clear that top-down messaging is required, as is resource allocation appropriate to each campus’ needs. I pledge to keep calling for that messaging and to press for necessary funding. The UC needs to achieve this goal for practical purposes (e.g., to address enrollment pressures on campus and to prepare UC students to work in the global economy). I hope we all want to achieve this goal, given the present political environment of rising isolationism and nativism. Working collaboratively and creatively, we can do it. Are you ready? I am. 

October 2017

September 11, a national day of remembrance, had a bit of additional significance for UCEAP this year. Facilitated by Grace Boda of Vital Partnerships, members of UCEAP’s Advisory Council and the leads for strategic workgroups met with the Campus Administrative Directors from all 9 undergraduate campuses for a daylong retreat in which we reviewed our partnerships, policies, and procedures as part of a new long-range planning process to increase student participation in UCEAP programs to a goal of 10,000 students annually. In the coming months, there will be tweaks and changes to some of UCEAP’s financial and operational structures, all of which will be discussed, shared, and rolled out with an eye toward optimal timing for all parties.

In reaching UCEAP’s earlier goal of 5,000 students, every staff member at the system-wide office, on the campuses, and at our Study Centers exerted themselves mightily and should feel proud of that accomplishment. Now we aspire to send 10,000 students abroad. And the questions arises: “Why?” Why, indeed. What need does this number satisfy? What does this number signify? In my view, the response harkens back to 9/11, a day on which forces of ignorance, fear, exclusion, dehumanization, and destruction reigned—or attempted to. The legacy of that day lingers still, and may even be strengthening in the perceived decrease of respect for knowledge, civility, and diplomacy. That’s why I want to send 10,000 UC students abroad through UCEAP and another 20,000 through campus-based programs. I want thousands of students out there gaining the enlarged perspective and enriched experience that comes from engaging those from different cultures. I want them all to know how California and the US look from beyond our borders, and I want them all to offer a different view to outside observers. I want them to hear other languages and be inspired to learn them—even a little. In China, the number 10,000 has long been used to signify “a very large number” or even “every” or “all.” “May you live 10,000 years!” is a common wish for longevity, and a popular New Year’s wish is “May the 10,000 things be as you want them!” To think of “10,000” UCEAP students abroad is to imagine a vibrant and mobile world of intellectual and cultural exchange happening everywhere, yet person by person. Education abroad by itself doesn’t ease racial tensions, solve the world’s problems, or bring peace among nations. But it can help. 



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