Michael Allen, the fourth candidate for the post of vice provost for international affairs to speak at the College of William and Mary, had originally prepared a presentation emphasizing how globalization is becoming increasingly local. But after spending two days interacting with students at the College, his vision quickly changed.
“The last thing I would want to do as vice provost of international affairs is come in here and tell you what you should be doing without learning anything about the College,” Allen said.
After spending some time on campus, Allen came to realize that the most crucial missing elements in the College’s internationalization effort are organization, cooperation and adequate funding. In spite of these problems, Allen said that people on campus truly love the College.
“The lack of funds has not led to the demoralization or pulling out of enterprise. I see this as an extremely positive sign and something that internationalization can help build on,” he said. “Because people love William and Mary so much, internationalism will be an enhancement not an add on to faculty and staff work.”
Allen traveled 28 hours from his job as assistant dean of arts and sciences at Zayed University in Dubai to interview for the position Feb. 15.
According to Allen, the world is becoming increasingly global, and even local actions have global repercussions. Additionally, Allen said that College students need to be globally competent, prepared and ready to engage with this expanding environment. Because of this, Allen hopes to help create a more international environment on campus by increasing the number of international students.
“Many William and Mary students will never be able to study abroad for one reason or another,” Allen said. “But if you create a globally competent campus with more international students, you can create that global environment. But that’s hard to do with the current 2 percent international student population.”
Allen said he hopes to develop this internationalizaton on campus through close collaboration with faculty and students.
“The strategies that will work best for William and Mary will come from efforts sustained by faculty who have a deep understanding of the global environment as well as of William and Mary,” he said. “These efforts make the most sense.”
According to Allen, such internationalization efforts would lead to a more globally-inclined student body with improved leadership skills.
“It seems to me that the knowledge of global competence is completely consistent with a liberal arts education,” Allen said.