A bridge overlooking the sea.


Global Education Office announces Winners of 2013 International Strategic Initiative Awards

By: V. Renee Russell
Global Education Office
(804) 828-3636

Richmond, VA (May 8, 2013) — The VCU Global Education Office has announced the recipients of the 2013 International Strategic Initiative Awards (ISIA).

The ISIA program funds proposals from academic units to develop new programming in support of the internationalization goals set forth in VCU's strategic plan, Quest for Distinction. These goals include recruitment and retention of highly qualified students from other countries; providing high impact learning experiences for students in a global environment; and contributions to research, scholarship, creative expression and clinical practice in a global context.

Projects funded through the ISIAs will take place during the 2013-14 academic year. Awards have been made in the following categories:

Collaborative Degree Award: The purpose of the collaborative degree award is for academic units to develop a collaborative graduate or undergraduate degree program with a VCU international partner institution. This year's awardees include:

  • Krzysztof Cios, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science. Cios will develop a dual degree to be awarded by VCU and the University of Córdoba. This academic collaboration will align the VCU computer science doctoral program requirements with those of the University of Córdoba's, so that a doctoral degree can be awarded by both universities, based on the dissertation co-advised by faculty from VCU and UCO.
  • Xubin He, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering. He will develop a collaborative joint BS-MS fast track program in computer engineering and science between the VCU School of Engineering, School of Computer Science at Fudan University and School of Computer Science and Technology at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China.
  • Nanda Rangan, Ph.D., professor and interim associate dean for international and strategic initiatives at the VCU School of Business. Rangan will develop three collaborative degree programs, the first of which will be with several universities in India and will support a collaborative MBA degree to be awarded by VCU. Students will complete foundation courses at a local university in India and the remaining program courses the VCU School of Business.

    A second collaborative degree will be developed between the School of Business and Fudan University's School of Journalism to create a master's degree in Business with an emphasis in Global Marketing Management. 

    The third program will be in collaboration between the School of Business and the Beijing Foreign Studies University School of International Business. In this undergraduate degree program, students enrolled in SIB's International Business Certificate Program (IBCP) will complete two years of coursework at BFSU before applying to VCU to complete their final three years of undergraduate coursework. Students will receive a BS degree in Business from VCU and a certificate from BFSU's SIB.

Departmental Study Abroad Awards: The purpose of the departmental study abroad award is to support departments or schools in increasing study abroad participation. The funds are used to develop new programs which will be integrated into departmental curricula in ways that promote academic and financial sustainability. This year's awardees include:

  • Anita Nadal, MLA, assistant professor of Spanish. Nadal will develop a program through the Viable Environmental Research in a Diverse Energy-Conscience Community (VERDE) program, an innovative national model for multidisciplinary STEM education in higher education. This will include a summer study abroad service-learning program in Córdoba, Spain and a VCU student club that works to reduce the carbon footprint of both metro-Richmond and Córdoba immigrant communities.
  • Nanda Rangan, Ph.D., professor and interim associate dean for international and strategic initiatives at the VCU School of Business. Rangan will expand the university's International Consulting Program (ICP) in collaboration with universities in Cyprus, Greece and India. The ICP is an intensive seven-week program that will be highlighted by a visit to a foreign country where students work on a cross-cultural team that provides business consulting services to a real client in the host country.
  • Stacey Reynolds, Ph.D., assistant professor of occupational therapy. Reynolds will re-establish the Department of Occupational Therapy (OT) study abroad course in Ghana, with a focus on integrating the course into the OT curriculum, re-establishing in-country relationships, and establishing a cadre of faculty to lead and co-lead the course in subsequent years.
  • Yaoying Xu, Ph.D., associate professor of special education and disability policy. Xu will establish initial research collaborations between VCU doctoral students in special education and disability policy and their counterparts at Guangxi Normal University and Jiangnan University in China. The program seeks to strengthen international research collaboration through a series of activities aimed at investigating multicultural and global perspectives in special education across the two countries.

Visiting Scholar Awards: The purpose of the visiting scholar award is to support departments or schools in hosting an international scholar for a semester or academic year who will contribute to enriching learning and scholarship. This year's awardees include:

  • Nicholas P. Farrell, Ph.D., professor of inorganic chemistry, will host Gao Xiang of Fudan University through the Fudan-VCU Department of Chemistry Initiative. Xiang will carry out collaborative research in the Department of Chemistry for one semester and will give a short series of seminars on the research conducted. This visit will strengthen research ties between VCU and Fudan University faculty, support development of joint research papers, conference presentations, and grant funding proposals and provide undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to interact with international faculty in a research context.
  • David Shields, associate professor and chair of the Department of Graphic Design, will host Dafi Kühne, an independent design practitioner from Switzerland. Kühne is a well regarded up-and-coming design practitioner active in Europe whose work has been instrumental in reinvigorating printing technology, supplanted by the introduction of digital processes late in the 20th century. He will teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels, participate in general collegial life of the department and have the opportunity to participate in a series of small department wide projects. His time in the program will reinforce the progressive practice-as-research approach of the graduate program and will help refocus the program on typography as the core of graphic design practice.
  • Sasha Waters Freyer, chair of the Department of Photography & Film, will host Caroline Martel, an acclaimed Canadian documentary filmmaker. Ms. Martel will work with first and second year MFA photography & film students in the context of a "Graduate Studio Workshop," a twelve-semester hour course in which students develop a body of work in their medium. In addition, Ms. Martel will teach a junior level specialized topics undergraduate course.
  • J. Brian Cassel, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Hematology, Oncology & Palliative Care will host Dr. Jane Seymour, professor of palliative and end of fife studies in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy at the University of Nottingham, England. Seymour is the leading expert in health policy research for palliative and end-of-life care in England and will work with the palliative care faculty and clinical team to explore contemporary approaches to innovation in palliative care in the US and the UK. She will propose elements of a new model for palliative and end of life care to address shared socio-demographic challenges in both countries and compare how front line nurses work with physicians and others to improve care for patients with palliative care needs in the US and the UK. In order to accomplish these goals, Seymour will spend time consulting with the clinical team and others in and outside of the VCU Medical Center, participating in the interdisciplinary rounds of the palliative care team, and giving formal talks and presentations.
  • Diomedes E. Logothetis, Ph.D., professor of physiology and biophysics will host Katerina Spyridaki, a doctoral student in the molecular pharmacology program at the University of Crete Faculty of Medicine. While training in physiology and biophysics, Spyridaki will participate in the "Research in Progress" forum as a guest, where she will present her research to members of the department and will also participate as a guest in weekly "Physiology Research Seminars." Her research is expected to make significant contributions to the field of cell signaling, that could include implications for the treatment of major depression, anxiety disorders, and addictive disorders; as well as Schizophrenia, Parkinson's, and other diseases.
Back to top