Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
Welcome to the Office of International Affairs at Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM). We are committed to your success in an increasingly globalized world while providing an environment that is supportive, nurturing and facilitative of your research, studies and work. AUM continues to distinguish itself as “a best place” to pursue a degree according to the most recent rankings released by US News and World Report (2011). Many of its programs are nationally recognized as well--the School of Business, for example, ranks among the top five percent globally as attested to by its accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International and its recognition as a “Best Business School” by the Princeton Review.
Only a short decade ago, the term globalization functioned as a buzzword and was often used synonymously with efforts to internationalize—to introduce international elements into a domestic environment and not necessarily in any coordinated way. But the phenomenon of globalization has evolved a good deal since then. Globalization recognizes that academic, business and government functions span the globe and are linked with similar functions in other nations at multiple levels, making the world a global community. Thus, success for our students, faculty and staff becomes a measure of their multicultural competency.
In the case of students, for example, gone are the days when activities like study abroad can be considered “exotic” experiences for those at expensive private academic institutions. Many US and multinational firms consider a successful study abroad experience an important indicator of a prospective employee’s ability to adapt and function in a multicultural workplace. And US students are beginning to understand this in rather large numbers. For the academic year 2008-2009, for example, 260,327 US students studied abroad; 10 years earlier just about 100,000 did so. To make our students more competitive, AUM is committing itself to developing new academic abroad and classroom programs that help ensure future success. To underscore the importance of the globalization phenomenon, just fewer than 700,000 international students studied at U.S. institutions during 2008-2009.
AUM’s population of international students plays an important role in helping to diversify and culturally enrich our campus community. Our collective effort should ensure we make them an integral part of the overall campus fabric—they are an important part of who we are. Equally important, AUM represents their location of choice for their own study abroad experience—we must reinforce the wisdom of that choice. But we also recognize their special needs. Consequently, special events, international student organizations, and specialized immigration services are provided for their support.
AUM is located in the heart of the southeastern United States, in Montgomery, Alabama, a thriving and historic city of 225,000 that offers the amenities, conveniences and cultural opportunities of a larger city while maintaining a welcoming “home town” ambiance. In fact, Montgomery was identified as a contender for CNN’s top places to live in the U.S. The city also boasts a broad selection of ethnic restaurants—Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Mexican and a host of others. But for those who want to experience the broader southern culture, we are also located in close proximity to other important areas of interest: Atlanta is located about a two hour drive from campus; the Gulf coast about three hours; and New Orleans about four hours.
In summary, AUM offers a wealth of opportunity for its students, faculty and staff to thrive in a globalized world. We invite you to take advantage of the various opportunities and to use IPS as your portal to these great experiences.
Jacques L. Fuqua, Jr.