International plan takes root
Several academic units turned in course lists earlier this week for the International Plan, an initiative begun as a part of the Quality Enhancement Plan during the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation process.
Students will be able to apply for admission to the program as early as next semester.
Academic units-including International Affairs, History, Technology and Society, and Management-are currently submitting course lists to the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (IUCC), which will give final approval March 31.
Associate Provost Jack Lohmann and Howard Rollins, director of International Education-who have led the process of drawing out the plan-feel that it will help Tech's reputation.
"Globalism is more important now than ever," Rollins said. "The International Plan will make Tech more visible on the international scene. It will also attract more students who will be valuable to Georgia Tech."
Students who choose to pursue the International Plan will complete four main requirements: three preliminary courses, which provide a context for international study, as well as either two years of proficiency in a foreign language or the equivalent, which is measured by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Language Proficiency Test.
The program also includes two semesters of study or work abroad as well as a culminating course to be taken in a student's final year.
The preliminary courses are not major-specific, and students will take one in each of the following categories: international relations, global economics and one relating to the specific region in which they wish to study abroad.
The School of International Affairs has already submitted its course list.
According to Bill Long, chair of the School of International Affairs, a majority of the classes that are already offered in International Affairs "qualify to be in one or more of the categories."
Lohmann and Rollins are also confident that Tech's global contacts will provide students who pursue the International Plan with many opportunities for work and study.
Tech already has international programs in France, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, Japan, Singapore and China.
"Each academic unit is committed to finding overseas partners," Rollins said.
Lohmann added, "Our contacts in Singapore have already indicated that they are more than willing to help with internships. This is a daunting task, but it is not impossible with help."
The final component of the plan, the culminating course, will "bring together their experiences abroad in the context of their major," Rollins said.
The goal of the International Plan is for students to be able to apply these courses of study to any degree program.
This final course is major-specific, although a collaborative course covering similar disciplines is being considered.
These courses have not yet been created. According to Rollins, the capstone will teach students "how their disciplines are practiced across the world, and define the role of culture in these disciplines."
Rollins added that the course is what sets the International Plan apart from initiatives at other universities. "Other schools may offer a certificate or major in another department, but in the International Plan, global context is a natural part of each discipline," he said.
Some students reacted positively to the creation of the program."It makes sense that Georgia Tech would head in an international direction," said Maria Geonczy, first-year Civil Engineering major. "There are already opportunities abroad, and the International Plan will open even more doors for students," he said. Michael Chu, first-year Electrical Engineering major, agreed. "It seems like a great opportunity­­-something that a lot of students will be interested in," he said.
Tech will be accepting approximately 100 students into the program in the spring, and, according to Lohmann, hopes to have 300 students in each class participating in the program by the time it is finalized in five years.