International studies program receives grant

Six centers at the University dealing with international studies were awarded $14.7 million in Title VI grants from the U.S. Department of Education earlier this month.

The grants will help fund five campus centers designated as National Resource Centers, including East Asian Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Global Studies, Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies and European Union Studies.

These centers support international curricula, contribute to library collections and conferences, and provide outreach to local and regional K-12 educators related to their world region.

The University also uses the funding to create new courses and programs that deal with less common languages, such as Arabic, Korean, Hindi, Turkish and Quechua.

“For our campus they do a lot. They help develop new courses and subsidize other languages and bring in other resources to the campus so they’re a big boom to the campus,” said Matt VanderZalm, the communications coordinator for International Programs and Studies.

This money helps keep the University near the top of the Big Ten and seventh in the nation in international studies, said Acting Associate Director Rajeev Malik.

“We compare pretty well. Our centers are well-known and respected in terms of joined evaluation by Title VI authorities,” Malik said.

Title VI has been around for over 50 years and was created with the intent to develop generations of experts. The government wanted people in the military and on the staff competent in different, less common languages.

However, Malik said that most people from the University end up spread out in different areas after being involved with the programs.

He said International Programs and Studies is trying to push interaction between other majors, such as business or engineering, because so much of what they do is involved with other languages.

“The language courses that they do support probably wouldn’t be available without it. So students with an interest in these classes probably wouldn’t find that here,” Malik said.

Interim Associate Provost for International Affairs Wolfgang Schlor said he believes the grants make the University one of the best in the country for students interested in international studies.

“I think that what is important is that these Title VI grants, compared to other grants received on campus, benefit students directly. Almost all of the money goes into curricular advancement,” Schlor said.

Each center is also able to have its own section in the library and its own librarian because of the funding.

“The fact that we have received these grants reassured us that we have been doing a good job and have received the money to continue it and do even more,” Schlor said.