UT’s Graduate School launched the Faculty Ambassador program Oct. 18 to expand international recruiting efforts.
The program allocates additional funding for a faculty member’s existing international travel plans, such as guest lecturing, research and collaboration with international institutions. Although the program will not provide funding for the whole trip, it will provide funds to extend the faculty member’s stay to host University-related events, such as meeting with potential students and speaking on behalf of the University.
“The program is fairly flexible on who we would include,” said John Dalton, the assistant dean of the Graduate School. “We just want the faculty to talk about the University, our programs, the city of Austin and Texas.”
The Graduate School currently attends fairs and visits colleges mostly around the United States to recruit graduate students. Dalton said there is an effort this year to expand the recruitment internationally, which inspired the creation of the program.
“This program was created because we have hundreds of faculty who are traveling around the world presenting their research or talking to their colleagues,” Dalton said. “It just made a lot of sense for us to try to engage them to be ambassadors of the campus.”
The program advertises an opportunity for faculty to extend their visits to international institutions and grow their networks for collaboration and research recruitment. Nicolas Hundley, program coordinator and director of communications of the Graduate School, said an expanded applicant pool can also add to the diversity of the UT community.
“International students play a key role at the University,” Hundley said. “They provide unique perspectives and approaches to intellectual and academic challenges and enhance the learning environment for all graduate students.”
The program is in collaboration with several University departments, schools and offices, including the International Office. Teri Albrecht, the interim executive director of the International Office, said she initially learned about the program through a faculty-wide email and saw it as an opportunity to expand the University’s brand internationally.
“The more that the University is known and there is awareness within the world about the University of Texas at Austin, we will be able to capitalize on that,” Albrecht said. “The more that UT is positioned in the world then we are able to collaborate with corporate partners, non-profit foundations, etc. We will become more interconnected to provide more opportunities for our students and our faculty.”