V2C2: Extending Rice’s impact through international engagements

Vice Presidents Caroline Levander and Klara Jelinkova are taking on expanded roles as part of the Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade (V2C2) goal to extend Rice’s reach and impact through international engagements, President David Leebron announced April 5 in an email to faculty and staff.

Caroline Levander

Caroline Levander

Under the new title of vice president for digital and global strategy, Levander will expand her administrative responsibilities to include international strategies and program development. “Caroline also brings to the task significant international academic experience and engagement,” Leebron said.

Klara Jelinkova

Klara Jelinkova

Jelinkova, under her new title of vice president for information technology and international operations and chief information officer, will work closely with Levander to ensure that international programs and relationships have a seamless connection to the campus through technology as well as other operational issues. “Klara’s prior experience at the University of Chicago included such international responsibilities,” Leebron said.

World map with Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific marked as the four regions Rice is focused on for expanding international engagements.

Rice will deepen and extend the university’s international relationships by focusing on four major geographic areas — Latin America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa.

Already a deeply international university with research collaborations that span the globe, with international students from 81 countries constituting nearly 25 percent of the student population, with more than 30 percent of the faculty having undergraduate degrees from outside the U.S. and with Rice students studying or undertaking research abroad, Rice will deepen and extend the university’s international relationships by focusing on four major geographic areas — Latin America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa, Leebron said.

“In each of these areas, we will seek to develop signature programs that expand opportunity for students and faculty and make distinctive contributions to global education and research,” he said. “We anticipate that our focused attention on each region will create synergistic opportunities to understand multi-region phenomena, such as migration and diaspora among others, key areas of faculty strength at Rice.”

Leebron said the goal to achieve greater international reach and impact requires both increased programmatic resources, especially for student participation and faculty engagement, and administrative support.

A Faculty Advisory Committee, with representation from all schools and those who work in each of the four geographic areas, will provide coordinated advice and strategy development. Sub-committees will be appointed that include additional faculty who will be focused on each of the four regions. “A primary task of the committee and sub-committees will be to prioritize opportunities in the development of signature programs,” Leebron said.

An administrative committee chaired by Levander will be charged with coordinating strategy and implementation as well as providing administrative oversight, advice and support of Rice’s international relationships and programs. The committee will have representation from the offices of the President, Provost, Development and Alumni Relations, Legal Counsel, Enrollment, Finance and deans.

Leebron said all international opportunities that are tied to the curriculum or are university-sponsored and involve additional costs for students must address financial aid for students who otherwise could not afford those opportunities. “This will be one of the key fundraising goals of our upcoming campaign as well,” Leebron said.

Citing faculty initiative and engagement as the most important elements of successful international scholarship and educational relationships, Leebron said the seed funding available to faculty to explore and develop significant relationships (either new or building on pre-existing relationships) will be doubled. Information on this funding, including criteria for making awards, can be found at https://creativeventures.rice.edu.

To make the university’s full range of current global activities more visible, Rice has launched a website where faculty and staff can report their international engagements: https://global.rice.edu. Faculty and staff can also report this information by email to global@rice.edu. “Once we have all the information available through this website, I think we will be amazed and energized not only by all we are doing, but the potential for even greater impact,” Leebron said.

“Over the last decade, Rice has become a more international university in every dimension,” he said. “With the efforts of our faculty, staff and students, we have the foundation to build more impactful programs in the years ahead. We hope these new structures as well as additional funding will more effectively support Rice’s achievement of greater international reach and impact.”

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.