DAVID LEE: OK. OK. I guess we'll get started. This has been a long, long day. We've covered a lot of ground. My name is David Lee. I'm a faculty member in the Dyson School. And I am a provost fellow in the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, Laura Spitz. As I mentioned, we've covered a lot of topics today-- intercultural fluency, the insights of international students, intercultural communication, and a whole host of issues related to language and language learning. And thank you all for staying with it all day and still being here.
To conclude the day, we're pleased to have two of Cornell's top administrators with us to discuss one of the central themes that I think underlies a lot of the discussions today, maybe not all of them, but many of them, and certainly underlies much of the work that many of us in this room, most of us in this room do, which is student and faculty engagement, student engagement in particular. And so our two guests this afternoon will be speaking on this subject.
Laura Spitz was introduced this morning so I won't introduce her at length. She is the Vice Provost for International Affairs at Cornell, as most of you know. And under her office lie many things international. I guess not everything, but much of what we do at Cornell that relates to international work.
Judith Appleton, to my immediate left, is Vice Provost of the Alfred H. Caspari professor of immunology at the Baker Institute for Animal Health. She also serves as Director of Engaged Cornell and supports the broader land grant mission of the university through coordination of four of New York's contract colleges here at Cornell, its statutory colleges.
So we're going to keep this a little informal befitting the last session of the afternoon. I'm going to pose a few questions. And we'll hear from Laura and Judy. And then I've been promised we'll have a few minutes at the end for questions. Then we'll turn to the reception afterward.
Promoting student and faculty engagement off campus, both domestic community engagement, whether it's here in Ithaca or New York state, New York City, or elsewhere domestically and international engagement efforts, both of those, is a key theme that cross-cuts many of the Engaged Cornell and the Global Cornell Initiatives that we've been talking about. The two of you respectably lead these efforts. I wondered if you could each comment about your vision for enhancing and promoting student and faculty engagement here at Cornell? Judy?
JUDITH APPLETON: Sure. So I'll start out by describing what I view as my role as Vice Provost in this particular context. And that is that I'm a facilitator. I function to support the activities of the faculty and the staff, the students, our community partners in community engagement and in realizing the mission of the University for Public Engagement.
So the really important work around this initiative that we call Engage Cornell does not happen into Day Hall. It happens across the campus. It happens in the places where all of you work. And our job is to, thankfully, be able to provide some resources to support those activities and to grow that mission. And sort of reframe it for the next-- we just celebrated our 150 year birthday-- to reframe it for the next 150 years. This has been part of the university's mission from its founding community engagement. Public engagement has been part of our mission from our founding.
And Engaged Cornell, as we call it now, is the modern expression of that mission with a very strong emphasis on putting students into that mission. So in terms of a vision, if I describe a vision, for the work that we're doing right now it is to support the quality of that work and of that experience for our students and for our faculty who conduct research in community engaged settings. And also to sustain it.
So that's a theme that was coming up in this last session. I'm sure it's something that's very much on people's minds. We need to think very creatively and in a new way about how to sustain these kinds of programs and this kind of work.
And I take that as a personal challenge. There are ways that we can think about this, I believe, but we need to really apply ourselves to that because this is a challenge for any campus. Cornell is fortunate in lots of ways, very fortunate in lots of ways. Other campuses don't have the advantages that we do in terms of endowment resources and really dedicated supporters and our capacity for obtaining grant funding and other resources.
But it is a challenge. And those of you who do community engaged work or international work feel that in a very real way. So I think sustainability is a big challenge that we need to address going forward.
And I would also say that with regard to the quality of the programs, if I can just touch back on the previous session a little bit, certainly language preparation for community engaged experiences that are international or domestic. There are a great many international experiences that will occur for our students domestically in the state of New York, in Buffalo, in New York City. Language preparation for those experiences will make a huge difference to the nature of that experience.
And certainly, when we're inviting curriculum grants for Engaged Cornell, we're looking for that kind of construction in the curricular offering that the students will be as well-prepared as possible. And that certainly includes language. So I really embrace that aspect of the discussion in the last session.
LAURA SPITZ: Thanks. Sure. I actually don't have much to add, except to say I might draw out a little bit the sustainability conversation to highlight the thing I'm thinking about. And the way I think about the sustainability question is an institutionalization question and a sort of norm creation question. So when I'm thinking about the kinds of programs that we need to facilitate, support, build infrastructure for, invest in, I'm hoping to create a world in which then it's not just to make it easier in that moment for that student to go on that program, but to institutionalize that as a way of doing things that Cornell.
And then also then create the norm that that's the way we do these things at Cornell. So that's sort of how I think about the sustainability question a little bit more.
DAVID LEE: OK. Thanks. Could you each talk about a few examples of the university's commitment to promoting off-campus engagements of students and faculty in your respective areas?
LAURA SPITZ: So in order to think about examples of our commitment to getting people off campus or off-campus engagement, I think about as sort of two buckets-- creating opportunities and creating funding. Again, thinking, as Judy said, as our roles essentially as facilitators how to make this possible. So in the Global Cornell Initiative, we've been paying particular attention to increasing opportunities for faculty and students off campus and increasing the funding. So I'll just give you a couple of examples.
One of them would be-- we've talked about it already today-- the internationalizing the curriculum grants. Of course, that's money going to faculty, seed money going to faculty in order for them to figure out ways to further internationalize the curriculum. In many, if not most cases, it involves getting off campus.
Another example would be the JumpStart and FLAC programs that you've all already been talking about today. There's been a focus on an incredible increase in the number of internship and service learning opportunities for our students. And I have to say that it really reflects tremendous work on the part of our alumni, actually, in the last couple of years to help us create those opportunities. And my experience, which is very limited in the alumni affairs and development world, has been that if you ask alumni to help you in ways that, you just don't ask them for money, but ask them how they can help partner with you, they're really creative. And they've done a really good job, at least in the international context, of creating opportunities for our students.
We've increased the funding students to leave campus by almost half a million dollars in the last two years. And it has had appreciable effects. We've made it easier for our students to apply for funding. And we've done a much better job of giving it to them. Yeah, those are some examples in the global context. I'm sure most of you are familiar with many more.
JUDITH APPLETON: So I would just add, for those of you who might not be aware, I'll just remind all of us that we are at a university. And one of our ways of addressing issues is to create committees. So in fact, we have created a committee. In fact, this is a provost level committee that is part of the provost strategic planning process. And it's a working group that's called the Public and Global Activities Working Group.
And there may be people in this room who are serving in this working group. Laura and I are co-chairing it. And this is the way that the provost is approaching strategic planning around public and global activities.
That committee has met a few times this semester. It's really just starting to get dug into the work. And we will be welcoming input from this community, from campus as we go forward. But that's a very important committee to be aware of because it shows that the provost is committed to the activities that we've been talking about today.
LAURA SPITZ: David, can I say one more thing that I forgot to say earlier? Just thinking both about our commitment to getting people off campus and my vision for that, I think it's really important that we remind ourselves that student and faculty engagement is of a piece. That it's not going to be successful in the long term if we don't understand them to be of a piece.
So for example, in our international partnerships that are just student exchanges or that are just faculty exchanges or just research focused, they often are able to be successful in the short term. But they're not going to be an enduring relationship because they don't include the whole of the university's mission in the partnership itself.
Or for example, if you think about if you get faculty off campus, then you inevitably get students off campus, either in collaboration with the faculty in that particular endeavor or because then students see this as the norm. This is a way to learn, to be a lifelong learner. And then they also want to do that behavior. So I think remembering that it's of a piece is critical, both to the vision and to the sort of implementation.
DAVID LEE: Thanks. Judy?
JUDITH APPLETON: So David just asked me if I would give a couple of examples of Engaged Cornell grants that have been awarded that, for those of you who aren't familiar with it, might give you a flavor for this. We have a few categories of grants. And one of them is called the Engaged Curriculum Grant. And last year, we awarded a grant to a group of faculty. The title of the grant is Conservation Medicine. And it incorporates a curriculum that is a combined course for veterinary students and undergraduate students.
And the community engagement piece of this is connected to a partnership with the Jane Goodall Foundation. So the students will be traveling to two sites that are supported by the Jane Goodall Foundation. And I think they're going this summer actually for the first time. So they're piloting it this year. So that's an example of an engagement experience where there is curriculum. There is a course here on campus-- you guys are all familiar with all this-- that prepares the students for going overseas. And then it's a mixture of professional students with undergraduate students.
And we're seeing this. This a bit of a theme-- so I've got a couple of things I should mention here-- a theme of professional students in the law school, in the veterinary college, both mixing and interacting with undergraduate students, who either aspire to go to law school or vet school or maybe they don't. But it's a shared learning experience that I think is very valuable. And it is one of those things that we can do at Cornell because we have really strong professional schools. So that's one theme that I wanted to mention.
And then the other is that the reason Laura and I are here together, and you all will know this as well so I'm not telling you anything you don't know, but I'll just highlight the fact that many of the goals of a community engaged experience, many of the opportunities that are presented by a community engaged experience, whether it's in Tompkins County or it's in Zambia are the same as the goals for an international experience.
So very quickly after Laura came into her position, we really solidified a partnership here around our portfolios because we have so many things in common from the learning objectives and the research interests that go along with these types of student learning opportunities through the practical aspects of business operations attached to doing this kind of thing. And so all of our conversations really are focused on making it easier for everyone to do these things. And that really is is central to the role of being a facilitator.
DAVID LEE: OK. Thanks. Laura, specifically, there have been a lot of issues that came up this afternoon in terms of language and language education, too many to name really. Can you talk about how you see language education in general addressing the university's goals of globalization and student engagement and the nature of the university's commitment to these goals, and to language education specifically?
LAURA SPITZ: Sure. What I was trying to think of is if I could think of anything to add to the last panel because I feel like over the last little while we've been talking about precisely this, although not necessarily precisely in this way. So I'll just articulate a few, but they won't seem new to anybody in the room.
One of the things is that it seems to me that the goals of language education-- if you took the Venn diagram of the goals of language education, the goals of internationalization, and the goals of community engagement learning, the Venn diagram would see a really large overlap. That is, we're trying to achieve the same kinds of things for our students. So I think that's important to keep in our minds. So they'll always I think be connected.
Also, as we heard earlier, I actually don't think you can do global, do international, do intercultural, I know I'm not supposed to say that word now that we learned that earlier today that I don't mean the same thing that you mean when I say that, but we can't do it if we don't speak different languages and we don't do well. And we can't send our students out into the world if they don't have some language instruction to engage with others who don't speak their language. So I think that's always going to be central.
I also want to highlight, it's not exactly an answer to the question, but I actually feel very strongly that we have a shared responsibility, a shared educational mission that Cornell is one of a number of institutions who together must deliver the full complement of language instruction in the United States. And that we should always be mindful of that. And to me, that's like a global mission. That is, to do what we do, we need to do it networked with other universities. And we have to do our part. And we especially have to do our part with the less commonly taught languages.
I guess, finally, I would just say and remind us that, and Cath mentioned or referenced it, if we are genuinely committed to globally engaged faculty who want to be world renowned, we need to attract a world renowned faculty. We have to be really committed to language knowledge and language instruction because, of course, people need to do their research in many different languages around the world or they can't they can't actually do it. So I think they are connected in that way as well.
DAVID LEE: OK, thank you. Switching gears a little bit for Judy. Cornell, of course, has a long history of engagement abroad going back a better part of a century. It has a longstanding extension education program here at home. The Engaged Cornell effort, starting with the Einhorn gift and then proceeding over the next 10 years or longer, is a remarkable opportunity for Cornell to distinguish itself in this area of community engaged learning in general. So I just wondered if you could talk about what you see or say a few words about what you see as Cornell's distinctive contributions in this area as we move ahead for the next five or 10 years.
JUDITH APPLETON: Sure. So community engagement, or it has lots of different names, so I have to say that I just got an enormous enjoyment out of listening to Fred this morning. And could I just comment on this real quickly?
DAVID LEE: Yeah, certainly.
JUDITH APPLETON: So my observation listening to Fred talk about naming things, using name. So he was talking about community, in particular. So this sort of got my attention because this is a word that we've embraced in my office in Engaged Cornell.
And what I was thinking was that I really enjoyed that discussion that he presented about the use of different words and what they mean and just exactly as Laura was just saying about what I say and what you hear are two different things. And I've learned that when I moved into administration that you very quickly become a pragmatist. And you decide that you just have to call it something. Because if you don't call it something, you can't do it.
So the joy that you have in doing this kind of work in an academic institution like Cornell is that this conversation just continues. And we will keep talking about what the meaning of community is, and that will be great. So I just wanted to remark upon that because he really prompted me to think about naming and the way you approach that.
So in terms of Engaged Cornell and the opportunity that I see for Cornell that we recognize for Cornell, as I started out to say, community engagement is being embraced all across higher education. There are programs at major institutions. At the State University of New York, for example, across all its campuses has a major initiative in what they call applied learning. That includes community engagement, international, research. It's a very broad definition. This is really something that's going on everywhere.
And Cornell has an opportunity, I think, to distinguish itself in that we are a research intensive university. We have a very high bar for scholarship and research here. And to have core to our mission and core to our activities thinking around community engagement and the public, our interactions with the public, and putting our students in those places is an extraordinary opportunity to have an impact that is distinctive in higher ed. So that's one part of the opportunity.
The other part is the one that David referenced earlier. And that is that we have in place across New York state an extension system that has been developed over the last 150 years, about. And there are a great many communities that are migrant communities, refugee communities all across New York-- so now I'm going to link this to international interests-- that are connected to our extension program. Most universities like ours don't have extension.
And this, I think, is a real opportunity, not just for the statutory colleges, but for all the colleges at Cornell to meet extension and to learn about how extension can connect them to communities that are of great interest in terms of scholarship and research and community service. So those are my top two. I've got others, but I'll just stop there.
DAVID LEE: OK. Great. Thank you very much to both of you. So we have a few minutes of questions. Any questions? Yes?
AUDIENCE: Can everybody-- yeah, all right. So my question is, do we know if the presidential search committee is on board with these missions? Is this something that we're feeling that when we get a new president that internationalization will be on the forefront?
DAVID LEE: Who would like to handle that?
LAURA SPITZ: Well, I'm mindful of the fact now that not just that there's wine outside, but that we're being recorded. Let me put it this way. The initiative has been identified as something that the search committee is using to describe us to the candidates. So no candidate will come that doesn't understand the international initiative as part of a core priority of the university. But, of course, I can't speak for the future, the new president. But I'm busy institutionalizing as much as I can in order to forestall any backtracking. No, I'm not worried. So just to say I'm not worried.
JUDITH APPLETON: I would just add that this public and global working group goes forward. That's a provost initiative. The provost will be the provost going forward. So that's a reflection of that commitment.
And I'll just say the same thing that Laura just did. We were both asked to provide language for the position description for the president. And so when they ask you for language around Engaged Cornell, and they ask you for language around internationalization, that means it's getting prioritized in the position description. There's the very practical Vice Provost speaking there. So the candidates will be very much brought into that conversation early on.
LAURA SPITZ: And I would just reiterate, too, that we sit on the academic side of the university in the Provost's office. And this is core to the academic mission that's under the Provost's purview. And he is full steam ahead with these commitments.
DAVID LEE: Thank you. Anybody else?
JUDITH APPLETON: It's going to be a hard question?
AUDIENCE: I have another sticky question, which is--
JUDITH APPLETON: Sorry, we can't hear you.
AUDIENCE: Another sticky question. The last I'd heard, that language council had been put on hiatus. And I'm wondering if it's started meeting again, or what the current status is of that council? I mean, I think that we've heard really great things that have come out of it, like JumpStart and FLAC. But I know that there were a lot of issues that had not worked their way through that are central to what you've talked about supporting and the panel before you really was speaking about. So I'd be curious if there's an update on that or a sense of where that's going.
LAURA SPITZ: I love that you asked me in front of all these people. So I don't know if we had this discussion before, but the thing is that the Language Education Council has been chaired by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. And we haven't had a Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education this year. And now, we are very lucky to have Becky coming. We just feel like we're so, so lucky, July 1.
And I'm on her calendar for two hours in June to talk about the Language Education Council. So that's what I know. I would, again, be surprised to find out it's not something that we pick up again right where we were. And we have an agenda. We sort of just partway through it put it on hold. And I've been making that promise to everybody so hopefully Becky will be on board. Or I might find myself chairing that council as well.
MICHELLE COX: Hello. So I'm Michelle Cox, the Director of the English Language Support Office. Hi. Which offers writing and speaking support to international and graduate students. And one theme I've been thinking about all day is that internationalization also begins with the international students that are already here on campus. And one thing that I know you, Laura, are really committed to is thinking about how do we support those multilingual international students.
So my office supports graduate and professional students. We don't currently have a strong network of support for undergraduate multilingual international students, nor do we have any support-- well, we don't have much support or systematic support for visiting scholars, short term students, exchange students. And so I'd just like to hear your comments about how do we build this idea of international engagement beginning at home, supporting those international students that are at our home?
LAURA SPITZ: Me? OK. So two things-- Michelle's right. I'm deeply committed to this issue. So it's one of my priorities in the upcoming year. And another new and awesome person is Ryan Lombardi, the new Vice President for Student and Campus Life. And he is also deeply committed to the experience of and educational opportunities for our international students.
So we are actually engaging sort of in a mini strategic kind of planning process right now-- my office and his office-- on how to improve how we support those students from language to identity formation to integration. And then not when it's not the right time. And how to actually connect them with our students who are going abroad to those same locations, our graduate students who are coming from the same location, visiting scholars and faculty who are coming from the same or other locations.
So sort of institutionalizing a better networked approach to services and educational opportunities for these students. So I know that's not probably very satisfying because I don't have actually a plan. But we're making a plan. And I'm deeply committed to implementing it. And hopefully, you believe me.
I know that Michelle will continue to ask me. So you guys don't need to worry about that.
DAVID LEE: OK. Well, you thank you both. I think Melina you want to say a few words in closing. So perhaps we can our appreciation to Laura and Judy. Thank you.
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Laura Spitz, vice provost for international affairs, and Judy Appleton, vice provost and director of Engaged Cornell, participated in a panel discussion with moderator David Lee, Provost's Fellow for Internationalization, at Cornell's third Internationalization Symposium, "The Globally Engaged Campus: Defining and Redefining Where We Are," May 18, 2016. The symposium explored Cornell’s opportunities for meaningful international experiences on the Ithaca campus.