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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 25, 2003

UI Wins $1.4 Million For International Education, Arabic Instruction

University of Iowa International Programs will strengthen new undergraduate and graduate programs in international studies and fund courses in less-commonly-taught languages such as Arabic and Kannada with two related grants, totaling more than $1.4 million.

The three-year, $1,441,500 federal grants from the U.S. Department of Education will also allow International Programs to strengthen existing doctoral programs in Crossing Borders and in Foreign Language Acquisition, Research and Education (FLARE) and to fund the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships for less commonly taught languages.

The awards will also support professional development for faculty, offer a dozen prestigious scholarships annually to graduate students for year-long and summer study and fund new outreach initiatives for the campus and community.

The highly competitive awards designate UI International Programs as a Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) for International Studies, said William Reisinger, associate provost for academic programs and dean of UI International Programs.

"This reflects the federal government's recognition of the University of Iowa's nationally distinctive commitment to academic and service units in international education at the University of Iowa," Reisinger said. "This grant allows Iowa to continue to be a national leader, with innovative approaches that meet the needs of students and faculty in the 21st century."

This is the seventh time that the UI has received the designation since 1985.

Co-Directors for the NRC International Studies Center are Paul Greenough, a professor of history and community and behavioral health and director of the Global Health Studies and Crossing Borders Programs; and James Pusack, chair of German in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The grant, which runs from 2003-2006, will support 25 new international studies courses, including Arabic and Kannada, and advanced courses in Swahili for students who want to go beyond the UI's current offerings. These new courses will be part of the curriculum for the new degrees in international studies at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Arabic instruction will be offered in spring 2004. A search for an instructor is currently under way.

In addition to offering Arabic and Kannada, a South Indian language spoken by 55 million people, Greenough said the grant will provide fellowships to twice as many graduate students as in the past.

"There are also some terrific special projects in the grant, for example, expanding the faculty's skills by sending 10 to 12 of them every year 'back to school' to learn about issues that they may already be familiar with but in other parts of the world," he said. "They will prepare themselves for study-tours to these new places accompanied by local experts and students, and all will learn together experientially."

He adds that when the faculty return from the "second-area seminars," they will then offer courses that build on the new experiences.

"The outreach components in this grant are great," Greenough said. "We'll be able to get more, and more current, information about Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and India into the hands of high school instructors, and we'll be inviting some of the best students throughout the state to come to Iowa City for an intensive Arabic language camp."

The grant will also support foreign visitors each year teaching new courses, and there is a provision for individualized language training via web technology. A group of "cultural consultants" - resident writers, artists, and international graduate students - is another innovation. They will be supported for giving special tutoring to students and faculty before, during and after a period of study or research abroad, leading to advanced proficiency.

Matching funds for the grant are being provided by International Programs, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Graduate College, the Vice President for Research and the South Asian Studies Program through the U.R. Anathamurthy fund for Karnataka Art and Culture. The matching funds will make available a total of almost $2 million for grant-related activities.

International Programs consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost for academic program and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

For more information, contact Greenough at 335-2222 or Pusack at 335-2274.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,