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Check out news, announcements, and events from (Undergraduate Learning Abroad) ULA.


Northwestern is a Top Producer of Gilman Scholars!

April 18, 2018

We're delighted to announce that Northwestern made the list of top producers of Gilman Scholars among medium-size institutions!  According to the list, we tied Howard University with 10 awards for 2016-2017 cycle.  Take a look at the data sets here for more information.

Inspired by Study Abroad, Two Northwestern Students Created a Bike Rental Program

April 13, 2018

Read about Robert Babich and John Gustafson and their study abroad-inspired company here.

The Death of an Info Session:  Leveraging Tech to Reach Gen z

April 6, 2018

Catrina DeBord, Assistant Director of Operations and Development, Undergraduate Learning Abroad, and Janka Pieper, Director of Communications, International Relations discuss changes in the ways that we as professionals in international higher education reach students.  Their new article, published by in the Spring 2018 edition of the IEI NEtworkers, is available here.

Global Health Studies receives Heiskell Award

Popular undergraduate program honored for advancing curriculum development, fostering international opportunities

Partnerships Position Northwestern for Global Impact

November 13, 2017

Diverse opportunities — like those in France — enrich the research experience for Northwestern faculty and students

France could be considered a grand terminal for global scholarship.

Institutions there, for instance, have played a greater role than most any US university in building connections between the Islamic world and the West, according to Will Reno, political science. Northwestern's Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa offers a partial exception to that rule, he says, because of its expertise in the study of Islamic manuscripts. Collaboration is key to such success. “Faculty relationships with colleagues abroad enhance research through connections to networks and resources that otherwise would be inaccessible or very difficult for us to access on our own,” says Reno, director of African Studies at Northwestern.

Reno’s partnership with the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) connects his research on the politics of conflict with one of the world's most extensive networks of scholars on the subject. Although he had professional colleagues at Sciences Po for some time, Reno credits Michael Loriaux, political science, and Loriaux’s efforts to establish the dual-degree program with getting him engaged more frequently.

In the time since, Northwestern researchers like Reno have explored how Islamic thought engages with the challenges of culturally diverse societies, societal inequality and injustice, the role of religious faith in the public sphere, and issues such as global warming. This scholarship is central to understanding how Islamic societies grapple with the changing world.

“The bridge to Sciences Po gave me an entree to a network of francophone scholars who work in Mali and other parts of the Sahel region of Africa,” says Reno, who has spent extensive time in the field, including in some of the world’s political hotspots, like Somalia and Iraq. “Those partners have assisted graduate students who work with me, which has been a great help in training those students and connecting them to professional networks.”

The bidirectional flow of students across the Atlantic has benefited Northwestern and various French institutions. The Buffett Institute’s French Interdisciplinary Group (FIG) boasts a successful doctoral student dual-degree program that allows students to study in both nations. The result is an alumni base with academic appointments throughout the world.

French postdoctoral fellows Johanna Salvant and Emeline Pouyet are active members at the Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS). Salvant completed a postdoctoral appointment at the Van Gogh Museum and Ecole Superieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de Paris (ESPCI), and Pouyet completed her PhD studies at the ID21 beamline at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. ESPCI is a world-class research institution, admitting just 90 students each year. ESRF is the world's most intense X-ray source and a center of excellence for fundamental and innovation-driven research in condensed and living matter science.

“We have attracted some really talented doctoral students who apply physical sciences to cultural heritage artifacts,” says Marc Walton, materials science and engineering and senior scientist at NU-ACCESS.  “We are hoping to leverage our partnerships with museums in Paris to provide new opportunities for our students to do the same type of research in Europe.”

Over the last academic year, 99 Northwestern undergraduate students participated in educational programming and research experiences in France through the Office of Undergraduate Learning Abroad. More than 100 French students and scholars took part in research and education opportunities at Northwestern in 2016-17.

Northwestern offers a number of undergraduate study abroad opportunities at institutional partners in France including specially designed programs, such as the European Union Studies program; the Art, Literature, and Contemporary European Thought program; and the Public Health in Europe program, as well as undergraduate student exchanges with Sciences Po and Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3.

“In addition to providing high-quality opportunities to our students at some of the best universities in France, these programs have, over time, also engendered faculty collaborations, such as joint research, workshops and publications,” says Vice President for International Relations Dévora Grynspan, who in her previous role as director of the Office of International Program Development developed the study abroad programs. “The ultimate goal is to build on these types of strategic partnerships to allow for more diverse scholarship and exchange opportunities for faculty and students.”

The French Interdisciplinary Group at Northwestern contributes to globalization by promoting long-term intellectual exchanges and collaborations among faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates in all fields, and their counterparts at leading French institutions.

Recent FIG research initiatives have included projects on conflict and stability in the Sahel region; critical theory, a distinctive strength of the humanities at Northwestern; and contemporary literature in English.

“The University’s global research connections enhance my own work and our overall project on security and governance in Africa through the blending of empirical approaches, the deep empirical knowledge of our collaborative partners, and the shared objective of engaging with and informing public policy in these domains,” says Rachel Beatty Riedl, political science and FIG director. “Together, we are able to expand our global impact and extend our comparative analysis.”

In 2016, FIG brought French historian Pap Ndiaye to campus as a visiting scholar. Ndiaye is a professor and researcher at Sciences Po, specializing in the social history of the United States, with a particular focus on minorities; the history of Chicago; the history of comparative civil rights in the United States; and the history of technology. This fall, he has remained in Evanston as the Buffett Visiting Professor in International Studies.

“It’s been a great pleasure to be at Northwestern, a great research university and also a warm academic community,” says Ndiaye. “Coming to Northwestern as a visiting professor was a wonderful opportunity to interact with colleagues I met while in Paris or in previous trips to the University. The Buffett Institute has been welcoming and I have attended several lectures, met students, and engaged with colleagues. The Institute will remain critically important as the social sciences become more and more global.”

Northwestern’s relationship with Sciences Po is one of the University’s strongest and most strategic partnerships. In 2016, it was recognized by the Institute for International Education with the IIE Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education in the category: International Partnerships. “The award shone light on our unique, multidimensional partnership with Sciences Po and is a testament to the success of our comprehensive relationship, which involves almost every school on campus and faculty from many different disciplines,” says Grynspan.

Read the full article in Northwestern Research News


Undergraduate Learning Abroad office launched

EVANSTON - Undergraduate students looking for a global learning opportunity now have a one-stop office for information. The newly formed Office of Undergraduate Learning Abroad (ULA) combines the two units previously known as Study Abroad and International Program Development (IPD).

The integration follows recommendations from the University’s 2016 Global Task Force Report.

Dévora Grynspan, current vice president for international relations and former IPD director at Northwestern, developed an increasing number of study abroad programs, and the need for coordination and long-term planning became clear.

“Bringing together undergraduate offerings provides increasing coherence to our portfolio in a way that serves the University’s global mission and strategy,” Grynspan said.

Sara Tully leads the newly integrated office. “Our goal is to ensure affordable, degree-relevant learning abroad is readily available to all interested Northwestern undergraduates,” said Tully, who started her new position in August.

The emphasis of the new office will be on key functional areas including: Analysis to support decision-making regarding program development, identifying and reducing barriers to studying abroad and engaging with faculty to develop overseas learning opportunities.

“Studying abroad is an extension of Northwestern’s undergraduate curriculum,” Tully said. “We’re here to support faculty members’ efforts to ensure that the students have study abroad options that are aligned with the University’s high academic standards.”

“The formation of the Undergraduate Learning Abroad office will make it easier to enhance and coordinate the curricular options available to students wishing to study abroad for credit,” said Ronald Braeutigam, associate provost for undergraduate education at Northwestern. “It will also lead to a stronger partnership with the faculty on the University Study Abroad Committee.”

ULA works in close partnership with the Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI) and the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid to ensure student awareness of, and access to, study abroad programming.

Read the full article in Northwestern Now.

October 17, 2017

Northwestern welcomes Sara Tully as new director of undergraduate study abroad

Sara Tully joined Northwestern University in August as director of the new Office of Undergraduate Learning Abroad (ULA), which integrates the former Study Abroad Office and International Program Development and maintains strong ties to the Global Engagement Studies Institute part of the Buffett Institute for Global Studies.

Tully joins Northwestern after 18 years at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Center for International Education where she served as executive director and led a collaborative effort to integrate five offices related to international education. “There’s an inherent connection between internationally-focused teaching, research and outreach,” Tully said. “International students and exchanges play an important role in building a university’s international presence and reputation.”

Tully led collaborative efforts to build a more international curriculum at UWM, which resulted in triple the number of undergraduates enrolled in internationally-focused majors, minors and certificates. She also secured $3.5 million in grants to support international programing, and she supported strategic recruiting efforts that more than doubled international enrollment at UWM during her tenure. In addition, Tully supported an expansion of partnerships with overseas universities, creating more than 100 new agreements supporting collaborative research, teaching and exchanges and contributing to a 125 percent increase in the number of UWM students participating in study abroad.

At Northwestern, the integration of international departments drives an overarching strategy to increase international education opportunities for Northwestern students both on campus and abroad. “Sara’s leadership experience reflects the goals for the newly integrated study abroad unit and creates a strong brand for undergraduate study abroad programs,” said Ron Braeutigam, associate provost of undergraduate education. 

Early in her career, Tully worked at the U.S. Department of Education as a program officer for the Title VI National Resource Centers, Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowships and Language Resource Centers Programs. This work provided her with an overview of international academic program development, administration, student advising and faculty engagement in U.S. colleges and universities. She has also served as an independent consultant for multiple non-profit organizations, universities and government offices. Tully received her M.A. in German and European studies from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and she earned a B.S. in foreign service from Georgetown University.

Please join us in welcoming Director Sara Tully and keep posted on Undergraduate Learning Abroad by subscribing to the ULA Newsletter.

October 2, 2017

Norris Outdoors partners with Chicago nonprofit for used bike sale

ULA staff memeber Whitney Bennett spearheaded a partnership between Northwestern Outdoors and The Recyclery, a Chicago-based used bike shop, for a bike sale on Oct. 5.

The partnership will allow Norris University Center to sell more bikes than in past years, when supply was limited to abandoned bikes collected from around campus, said Whitney Bennett, a volunteer at The Recyclery who organized the partnership.

Read the full article in the Daily Northwestern!

September 27, 2017


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