University at Buffalo: Reporter

"UB International"

Dunnett describes global leadership

News Services Editor

When the University at Buffalo began to export its higher education programs overseas in the early 1970s, it was one of only a handful of American universities to respond to the anticipated educational demand abroad.

In 1997, UB is one of the leaders in international education, to the benefit of not only those countries and students who participate in the university's programs, but to the Western New York economy.

"We have a presence in more than 60 nations worldwide," Stephen C. Dunnett, vice provost for international education, told close to 100 people attending the March 13 UB at Sunrise program, "and UB is one of the top 30 universities in the United States in foreign student enrollment."

Under Dunnett's leadership, the multi-faceted UB program in international education has grown rapidly and solidly, with emphasis on Eastern Europe, the Pacific Rim and NAFTA nations. He has earned recognition by the international education community as one of its most distinguished and forward-thinking leaders.

Dunnett said that UB's overseas presence today focuses by design on the Pacific Rim region. "I don't think that any American university has as many relationships with Asia than does UB," he added, "and that includes universities in California." Between its English Language Institute and its faculties and professional schools, Dunnett noted, UB has produced thousands of overseas graduates, some of whom hold very high positions in their governments and business communities. There are thousands of UB alumni abroad-1,500 in Taiwan alone.

Dunnett said American higher education is recognized everywhere as being a very good bargain for consumers. He stressed that it's also a good bargain for those who provide it, since more than 99 percent of foreign students pay for their own education or are sponsored by their governments or international agencies.

American programs in higher education bring billions of foreign dollars into the U.S. economy. The U.S. Commerce Department last year added higher education to its list of export industries and estimated its economic impact at $7 billion a year. Dunnett said foreign students enrolled at UB and other area colleges contribute more than $25 million every year to the Western New York economy, spending it on housing, food, clothing, entertainment and educational services.

Dunnett presented a history of UB's wide-ranging international programs, which range from the traditional junior year abroad to entire overseas campuses, faculty-exchange programs, engineering and management degree programs-many of which are linked to UB's enormously successful English Language Institute (ELI), which serves as a model for similar programs all over the world.

He outlined the extensive UB programs in Asia operated through the ELI and schools of dental medicine, medicine and biomedical sciences, management and engineering. He emphasized UB's strong presence in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand and discussed new study-abroad programs in Vietnam and one under development in India.

Dunnett said future overseas programs will continue to focus on three target areas: Asia, Eastern Europe and the NAFTA nations. "Our presence is very strong in Eastern Europe," he said, noting the large, USIA-funded graduate program in business management UB is helping to establish in Latvia, the extensive exchange program with Poland's Jagiellonian University, management programs with universities in Hungary and programs in Bosnia cooperatively run by Western New York physicians and the ELI.

Programs in the western hemisphere include those in Costa Rica, Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil and Paraguay. Dunnett said new programs are under discussion for Cuba, Argentina and Brasilia, Brazil's capital.

He noted that UB recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the University of the West Cape in South Africa and hopes to develop programs with West African universities and nations when the political stability of those nations permits.

"Our goal now," he said, "is to globalize the UB campus and get many more UB students overseas, not only for that junior year abroad, but for internships. We want further development of our Asian, East European and African studies programs and more exchange programs with those regions.

We'd like to see a greater variety of foreign language taken up by our students-Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and German, in particular," he said. "Today, college graduates need a practical knowledge of the international scene and an appreciation of the values and customs of other cultures if they're to be competitive in the job market."

Dunnett said the university also would like to see more faculty networking overseas and more possibilities for international collaboration and research. "We'll continue our overseas alumni development really pays off because alumni promote our programs and they are aggressive recruiters."


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