September 7, 2016


SUBJECT:    Appointment of Alan Houston as Senior Director, International Initiatives

The final report of the International Strategy Workgroup ( .pdf), submitted to Chancellor Khosla in 2015, reached two broad conclusions. First, UC San Diego’s international renown reflects five decades of entrepreneurial activity by faculty, staff and administrators. These independent efforts must continue unabated. Second, changes in global research and education call for a complementary and coordinated approach. Not new administrative units – the workgroup explicitly rejected this model – but practices that will facilitate cross-campus communication, strategic planning and collaboration between existing units. Virtually all of our major peer institutions have instituted some version of this coordination and strategizing role for international engagement. I have appointed Alan Houston, Professor of Political Science, to lead this effort. This will be a half-time position as “Senior Director, International Initiatives.”

Among Alan’s initial assignments are:

• Convene and chair a standing Committee on Global Affairs, comprised of representatives of the faculty, Senate and administration. For UC San Diego to fulfill its global potential, campus efforts must be better coordinated, communicated and championed. This committee will meet regularly to discuss global opportunities and challenges and to review campus programs, policies and actions. This includes identifying obstacles to international engagement that may unintentionally arise from our procedures and policies.

• Design and launch a global engagement database showing where faculty, administrators and students are travelling, and where global research, teaching and service are taking place. With this information it will be possible to better coordinate engagement with global partners, promote cohesive and collaborative funding strategies, and enhance pro-active risk management.

• Supervise the Office of International Affairs (currently located in the Office of Research Affairs), providing planning and support for teaching, research and service that engages the world outside the United States.

• As a complement to our existing international educational programs, design and launch an array of international experiential learning opportunities for undergraduates, especially students who are first-generation and/or low-income. Initially, this initiative will focus on short-term and non-credit-bearing internships and research- and service-opportunities. These high-impact “real world” experiences contribute to student success and strengthen career prospects after graduation.

Additional assignments in regard to facilitating research goals will be identified as the year progresses. In all cases this work will be collegial and consultative. These initiatives will strengthen and enhance UC San Diego’s leadership in global research, education and service. I ask that you do everything in your power to help Alan make them successful.

Peter F. Cowhey
Interim Executive Vice Chancellor -
Academic Affairs