CWU Expands Work to Create International Partnerships, Opportunities | CWU Public Affairs

By: CWU Public Affairs
Posted: Jan. 18, 2011

Central Washington University has named Dr. Michael Launius assistant vice president for international studies and programs. Launius has served as the executive director of CWU’s Office of International Studies and Programs (OISP) since 2003.

In his expanded role, Launius will complete work on CWU agreements with foreign colleges and universities, and oversee a new Office of Global Services and Initiatives (GSI). The new unit will focus on marketing, student advising, and international student recruitment.  The Office of Global Services and Initiatives joins the existing University English as a Second Language, Asia University America Program, and Study Abroad and Exchange programs under the OISP umbrella.

Geoff Foy will serve as the interim director of GSI. Foy, formerly the university’s assistant director of Continuing Education, has an advanced degree in international relations and speaks fluent Chinese, as well as French and Spanish. He will be in charge of developing relationships, marketing programs, and spearheading recruitment efforts in China, although international outreach also will include Latin America, Europe, Africa and other areas of the world.  OISP will continue efforts to expand exchange opportunities for American students seeking to study abroad, along with faculty exchanges and research collaborations.

Launius said that students often want to come to the US because they’re familiar with many of the country’s high-profile colleges and universities, and they’ve already been exposed to American culture through films, music, and television.

“The United States is still seen as the most economically advanced country in the world,” he added. “In their home countries, many students realize that a degree from an American university is extremely valuable; it’s a ticket to upward economic and social mobility.”

Launius went on to say that CWU is attractive because of the scenic natural setting, small-town status, beautiful residential campus, and comparatively small class sizes, “which are rare in Asia. We’ve got a lot going for us,” he added.

While nearly 95 percent of CWU students are Washington residents, for the past two years CWU also has recruited groups of students from China. These students have enrolled in specialized study in one-year, master’s degree programs in industrial and engineering technology, public accountancy, and a new interdisciplinary degree in public administration.

New initiatives are now being developed at the bachelor’s-degree level in a variety of academic disciplines. These projects are based on “2+2” and “1+3″ models, in which students complete one or two years of study in their native countries and then come to CWU for the final years of instruction.

Launius said the opportunity to learn from international students is a critical aspect of preparing students to succeed after they graduate.

“The international environment has become much more competitive,” said Launius, adding that American university graduates will have to compete in a global marketplace. “The presence of international students gives Americans a change to get a sense of those cultures, societies, and countries with which they will be interacting.”

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