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September 14, 2006

UCIS faculty sound off on director search

The search for a new director of the University Center for International Studies and senior director of international programs has so far yielded a dozen candidates, but the search committee is continuing to seek more.

Members of the UCIS community were invited to offer input to the committee at a Sept. 12 open forum in Posvar Hall.

“I think the biggest thing we’re asking for is your help,” committee chairman George E. Klinzing told a group of nearly 30 faculty and staff. The committee is looking for a successor to William I. Brustein, who plans to leave the University at the end of the year to take a position at University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign.

Klinzing urged the group to communicate the issues they find important and to bring the names of qualified colleagues to the committee’s attention.

He said he expects interviews to take place in October, November and early December.

Klinzing said he expects to have about 30 candidates before the committee begins paring the list to the final four whose names are to be submitted to the provost by Feb. 1.

Several faculty members spoke up at the meeting. History professor Patrick Manning, whose expertise is in African studies and global studies, asked the committee to consider the issue of balance between UCIS’s established and well-known National Resource Centers (NRCs) and other smaller UCIS areas.

UCIS is made up of 18 units that include centers for area studies and centers on topical specializations in international studies. More than 500 faculty members from 31 Arts and Sciences departments and 13 professional schools are UCIS affiliates. The center also employs some 70 staff members.

The Asian Studies Center, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Center for Russian and East European Studies and the Center for West European Studies all were re-designated earlier this year for four years as NRCs in their respective world areas by the U.S. Department of Education under Title VI of the Higher Education Act. In addition, the International Business Center, jointly sponsored by UCIS and the Katz Graduate School of Business, also was renewed with a four-year grant.

Political science professor Ronald Linden asked the committee to favor a candidate with ideas about the future of international studies, a track record for drawing in resources, a capacity to link international studies to the local and regional community and the ability to look beyond the NRCs.

Andrew Strathern of anthropology asked the committee to question candidates on the issue of the structure of UCIS and the possibility of adding more associate directors to lighten the burden on the director.

And long-time faculty member Jonathan Harris of political science, who criticized the committee’s advertisement (posted online at as vague, asked whether candidates from government rather than academia might be considered, even though the qualifications call for an earned doctorate and high scholarly standing. He noted that considering, for instance, a retired federal government official from the Treasury, State or Commerce departments would open a wider field of potential candidates who have broad international experience, but perhaps no PhD.

Klinzing said all the points “are open issues,” and encouraged additional input from faculty and staff.

Citing advertisements placed in The Chronicle of Higher Education and other publications and the committee’s contact with deans, directors and department heads at Pitt as well as with contacts at other AAU schools, Klinzing said, “I think we’ve cast the net pretty widely.”

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 39 Issue 2

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