The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday June 8th

Global Focus Could Become BOG Goal

The Board of Governors is discussing adding to the UNC system's strategic goals a planning priority that would focus on internationalization and communications across cultures.

The new priority is intended to stress the importance of understanding aspects of the international community.

Gretchen Bataille, UNC-system vice president of academic affairs, said the strategic priority will be added to the system's initiatives for the next five-year cycle, which starts in 2002.

Bataille said the other priorities include expanding access to the University, strengthening UNC-Chapel Hill's support of public schools, adapting to the information age and building partnerships across the different sectors of education, government and business.

All 16 UNC-system campuses will implement new programs if the policy is approved by the BOG.

"It's an emphasis on learning in a different setting," said Ray Farris, a member of the BOG Planning Committee, which is considering the proposed policy.

Farris stressed the importance of increasing knowledge of international concerns in order to improve the education the UNC system provides. The new priority will rest on changing the current study abroad program, he said.

Farris said the initiative will aim to increase study abroad offerings to students and add course offerings.

He said the events of Sept. 11 did not prompt the new strategic planning priority, but they will affect student exchange programs. "September 11 will give us all pause for security concern."

But he also stressed the importance of the new priority to the learning process.

Farris said the state's current fiscal situation should not affect the implementation of this internationalization priority, and the priority will not interfere with projects already in place.

But the priority is still under discussion in the BOG.

Joni Worthington, UNC-system vice president of communications, said the strategic priority will go through an editing process before being implemented.

The effect of the strategic planning priority could be a slight change of priorities for the BOG. "It would create a priority of the board ensuring that students who attend the 16 campuses are exposed to other cultures," Worthington said.

She said the UNC system already has several international programs in place, including foreign language programs. "It would build on a number of programs that are already in place."

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