UT Has International Plans

MEMPHIS — The University of Tennessee will have a more international presence on its campuses and abroad by 2010, UT trustees were told Thursday.

UT President John W. Shumaker-s strategic initiatives call for increasing the number of Tennesseans studying abroad, enrolling more international students, diversifying income and expanding educational and business partnerships abroad.

“The best universities will be those that globalize,” Shumaker told the board. “Frankly, we are behind the curve, but we are moving quickly.”

Philip Scheurer, UT vice president for operations, said UT has a six-point plan to assure the university-s international prominence. Progress will be tracked on the “UT 2010 Scorecard.”

The first, Scheurer said, is to increase international enrollment from 1,416 last academic year to 2,000 by the end of the decade. By 2010, the scorecard goal for the number of UT students studying abroad is 1,200. In 2003, 425 UT students were involved in an international experience.

“Students from other countries bring new perspectives to our campuses and broaden the perspective of our domestic students,” Scheurer said.

International programs provide a venue to showcase world-class academic programs and enable universities to contribute to the modernization of emerging countries, he said.

UT and the Singapore Institute of Management are exploring a partnership to take the university-s internationally acclaimed logistics and transportation program to that country.

A fifth reason for internationalization, Scheurer said, is the creation of a new revenue source for the institution.

“This initiative will require only a modest investment of university resources that will pay off in increased income for the university,” Shumaker said. “This will help diversify the university-s revenue base.

“Most of the funds for international programs will come from private sources, and the returns will be spent to benefit students and faculty who wish to study and work abroad.”

Scheurer said a sixth reason for expanding international programs is that they “contribute to a good university getting better.” Many of UT-s peer institutions already have educational programs in place in countries around the world.

In addition to the Singapore initiative, UT is exploring joint programs with China, Mexico, South Korea and Qatar.

UT was a founding member of the International Student Exchange Program, and it has linkage agreements with more than 50 educational institutions abroad. More than 100 Taiwanese residents have graduated from a UT master of business administration program that was offered in that country, Scheurer said.