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Reflection and Vision: A Message from the Vice Provost for International Affairs

Gretchen NeislerIt is often said that in the most challenging times, we find our strength, and CGE  is no exception. As the U.S. and countries around the world continued to grapple with the impacts of COVID,  the University of Tennessee continued to reimagine our global engagement. Reflection on what makes us a strong and resilient university was combined with the understanding of what our students, faculty and staff need to be global citizens.

2021 brought CGE a myriad of opportunities to work hand in hand with key partners on and off campus. Together, we worked out strategies to keep our students safe and healthy. As the university stepped back out into the world, and did so much earlier than many of our peer universities, we stayed focused on the responsibility of supporting faculty and students in their endeavors. This led to a comprehensive restructuring of our travel insurance programming and field support to active travelers. This initiative enabled collaboration across the UT system as we worked with other UT campuses to procure the best in class coverage for all student and business travelers alike. Working across miles and modality, we deepened partnerships with our international colleagues and discovered new partners that bring strength and vitality to our programs.

Closer to campus, we actively participated in the development of the UTK strategic vision, and we are thrilled that the global vision is specifically addressed in goal 5 of this initiative. Our future as a campus and a community begins here. The global vision seeks to develop and support a university culture in which global engagement is prioritized and encouraged. One of the ways that UT will promote student success is to equip all students with the understanding and ability to contribute to knowledge and discovery of global problems through deepening their knowledge of the cultures, languages, diversity and societies of other countries. Concomitantly, we will support faculty to extend their research and reach across the world to cultivate mutually beneficial partnerships and international research activities.

CGE is steadfastly rebuilding our team with vibrant, passionate, and innovative people. This team is poised to take on the work of our vision and celebrate the impact of our global practices. Together we will model what a Land Grant University of the 21st century is to be for the state, nation and the world. We look forward to sharing this work with you in the coming months. Happy holidays to all! I wish you peace and light as we enter into this festive season. See you in 2022!

Gretchen Neisler
Vice Provost for International Affairs
Director, Center for Global Engagement