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Rebuilding and Restoring UT’s Global Engagement Model

A Letter from the Vice Provost

Dr. Gretchen Neisler in her office (photo by Jason Moody / University of Tennessee)

Dear Stakeholders,

The 2021 CGE Impact Report focuses on the innovation of rebuilding. Just as the COVID-19 virus knows no borders, neither should the solutions to it. As we emerge from this crisis, the Center for Global Engagement is focused on internal growth and enhancement. Strengthening our human capacity internally allows us to better serve our stakeholders on and off campus. Through the building of this team we will provide learning opportunities as well as academic and professional programming to best prepare our students for a global workplace; comparatively, scientists will be provided with comprehensive support to generate solutions for global grand challenges. 

The UT Global Vision pays particular attention to internationalizing our campus. As Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, has observed, the challenges of our world today are “problems without passports” for which we need “blueprints without borders” (1998). The notion of internationalizing higher education was on the minds of campuses 25 years ago – thus it is not a new concept. However, it has never been more urgent. The Pandemic has inspired CGE to heed the call of an interconnected world and recreate ourselves to reflect the changing nature of the society we are serving. 

Our tradition of educational access and opportunity, our heritage of discovery and service to our state and communities, and our engaged partnerships provide the foundation and the template for a mission that integrates an international perspective into our ongoing mission.  CGE is poised to rebuild and own our responsibility to lead UT in taking its global engagement from the periphery to the center of our institutional teaching, research and engagement commitments. In short, internationalizing our campus will require transforming our paradigm – a transformation that demands committed expertise of a passionate team. 

I cannot be more proud of the team that has weathered the storm of the last 2 years. They are truly amazing individuals and heroes to our students, faculty and staff. I am lucky to work with such talented people. The vision requires us to increase our human bandwidth and our campus deserves this support. We are steadfastly working to recruit the top talent in our field and we look forward to working side by side with you to be the change we wish to see. 

I wish you all peace and health in 2022! Go Vols!

Dr. Gretchen Neisler

Vice Provost for International Affairs

Director, Center for Global Engagement