The council voted unanimously Jan. 19 to approve the Long Range Planning Committee’s proposal of the group. The next step will be to find the ideal people to fill the new committee and to begin the dialogue necessary to tackle crucial issues.
“We sought to form a committee that promotes an ongoing conversation between the faculty council, administration and local executive groups, but especially on an international mission,” said Alex Tanford, professor emeritus of law and BFC executive.
The proposal is headed by Tanford and Bryan McCormick, who are co-chairs of the Long Range Planning Committee.
Tanford and McCormick are responsible for developing and implementing structural changes within IU faculty and administration and for presenting their ideas to the BFC for approval.
“I think it is crucial that the BFC create this committee because IU — its student body, its faculty, its reputation — is increasingly international,” BFC president-elect Rebecca Spang said.
During the last meeting, members discussed how the International Affairs Committee is a good response to concerns on campus. Faculty members were disappointed in the lack of an open dialogue during the creation of the School of Global and International Studies.
The administration proceeded with plans to erect a new school without consulting faculty. The council realized it was because there wasn’t anyone to consult on international issues, and their latest initiative aims to fill that gap.
In addition, Tanford said the administration wanted to combat the increasing struggles international students face.
“There have been many reports of hostility toward international students, particularly those who were Asian and Muslim,” Tanford said. “Also, students are not given adequate resources to succeed in a new environment.”
International students are required to take mandatory English courses, Tanford said, but the classes typically fill up before most receive the opportunity to enroll. Many students go multiple semesters without instructive assistance in English and this hinders performance in the rest of their coursework throughout the rest of their school careers.
One of the committee’s primary goals will be to address in a new way the issues international students face.
Tanford said they have to carefully survey the classroom experience of these students and act on their behalf when they are discriminated against or disadvantaged.
After gathering facts and solidifying the major talking points of the International Affairs Committee, Tanford and McCormick have begun a search for a cohesive group of professionals to fill various positions on thecommittee.
These experts should be able to provide valuable input toward the issues faced by international students.
Although Tanford himself is not an expert in international affairs, he said he hopes his proposals will grow into an initiative that will ultimately make IU more conversationally open and efficient.
“The Bloomington campus has seen countless structural changes in even the past 10 years,” Tanford said. “This is a natural transition in the right direction so we can meet the growing needs of our institution.”