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Banner year for our international outreach

Banner year for MTSU's international outreach

Members of the Hubei University Dragon Dance Troupe preview their show "Dragon Dance with the Tigers" in the MTSU Quad.

MTSU has worked to strengthen its international initiatives on campus and abroad. Our academic master plan calls upon us to provide these opportunities so our students can learn to live and work within a global network. During the past decade, we have increased our international undergraduate and graduate enrollment, expanded our study-abroad opportunities, developed faculty and student exchanges, and sought research collaborations with international partners. Those efforts have resulted in many benefits for our students, faculty, and staff as well as the middle Tennessee region.

There are many exciting developments occurring in our international outreach efforts that I want the campus community to be aware of.

The change in participation in study abroad between 2010–2011 and 2011–2012 reflects a 14 percent increase and 32 percent increase, respectively, when nonacademic program participants are included.

Almost $180,000 was awarded to 68 different faculty members—an average award of $2,182—to support internationalization efforts at MTSU. Some faculty members received more than one award.

Ten students and two professors from MTSU went to Japan this summer to assist our sister school in Fukushima clean up and rebuild after last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

MTSU led a contingent of Murfreesboro children and their parents to China over the summer for a cultural exchange with sister schools Hangzhou Normal University in Hangzhou and Beijing.

The MTSU Schola Cantorum, led by conductor Raphael Bundage, performed at the Vatican, in Florence, and in Venice, and the MTSU Wind Ensemble, conducted by Reed Thomas, presented concerts and seminars in Costa Rica, Panama, and China.

A seven-piece jazz combo led by director of jazz studies Jamey Simmons and a dance contingent headed by Kim Nofsinger presented concerts and seminars in Chinese cities, including Hangzhou and Beijing.

School of Music professor Carol Nies conducted a series of concerts and operas at the international Rome Festival in the Italian capital.

We established the first international affiliate of MTSU’s Alumni Association in Thailand, home to about 500 of our graduates. Our alumni in Thailand have risen to become leaders of government and industry in that country, all the while holding on to their affection and ties to our University. More than 200 of our alums gathered in Bangkok to initiate the affiliate this spring and learn about what’s new at MTSU.

The Confucius Institute (CIMTSU) continues to expand its Chinese programming. On-campus activities include daily Chinese classes, an after-school Chinese program, a day care center using Chinese programming, and a campus school Chinese program. Off-campus activities include (among others) the Knox County Chinese program (where Radio Systems Corporation employees receive Chinese language and culture training) and the Bedford County Chinese program in a primary school.

Chinese performances to enhance the campus cultural environment have included the Hangzhou Normal University Performance Troupe and the Xiamen University Performance Troupe in 2010; the Binghamton University Performance Troupe in 2011; the Wubei University Performance Troupe in 2012; and the Confucius Institute New Year Celebration Performance in 2012. The Hanghzhou Normal Troupe is scheduled to return in 2013.

The institute continues to help with student exchanges between Chinese universities and MTSU and arrange cultural visits to China.

Thirteen MTSU students have been sent to Chinese universities on Confucius Institute scholarships to study Chinese language and culture. One MTSU student received a teaching post in China on the recommendation of CIMTSU.

Six Chinese teachers have been sent to China to receive training in teaching Chinese (funded by Confucius Institute headquarters).

Several local educational institutions (including campus school) got a donation of 500 Chinese books on the recommendation of CIMTSU.

In 2012, CIMTSU organized and cohosted three delegations to visit China: the MTSU Performance Delegation, the Tennessee Principal Delegation, and the High School Students Summer Camp. All three delegations were funded by Confucius Institute headquarters or Hangzhou Normal University.