University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown President Dr. Jem Spectar has been elected to the board of directors of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the world’s largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education.
With nearly 10,000 members at 3,500 institutions worldwide, NAFSA represents more than 150 countries.
Dr. Spectar outlined his vision for international education at Pitt-Johnstown during his inaugural address in September, 2007 when he said, ““We are at the cusp and crossroads of great possibility and promise, riding the crest of a Tsunami-like wave of global change with local spill-over. Recognizing that we must prepare for change and adapt, we are embarking on a more purposeful and intentional approach to ensure that our young men and women can step up to the plate, Ready for the Real World.”
In just over two years since Dr. Spectar assumed the presidency of Pitt-Johnstown, the campus is opening more doors and windows to the world, inviting an increasing number of international students to participate in the University and, at the same time, sending more students to study abroad. During the current academic year, 42 international students (12 of whom are first-year students) are studying on the Pitt-Johnstown campus, an increase of more than 130% in two years. The number of students choosing to study abroad is increasing, as well. This year, 42 Pitt-Johnstown students will study in another country, an increase of 31% since 2007.
Among various initiatives launched by President Spectar to advance Pitt-Johnstown’s involvement in international education, are:
- The development of a campus strategic plan, A New Dimension of Excellence for Real World Readiness, which outlines the campus’ goals for international education.
- The creation of a Global Education Task Force, which conducted a thorough study and assessment of global education and developed several key recommendations for campus internationalization.
- The establishment of the new International Services Office.
- The development of the GLOCAL Society Series, which promotes awareness and discussion of the pressing global issues of our time.
- The implementation of the RealWorld Action Program, which encourages students to connect learning to practical experiences from the local to the global level.
Global Education Task Force Co-Chairperson Douglas Reed, offered, “Dr. Spectar’s relentless desire to transform the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown into a ‘Real World’ portal for our students to enter the global community involved the zealous pursuit of building understanding and respect among different peoples and serving as a dynamic, innovative role model of international leadership. A vital few educators are chosen to serve on the prestigious NAFSA Board of Directors, and our students are blessed and fortunate to have Dr. Spectar as our lead advocate for international excellence in education.”
Dr. Spectar credits the support of the Pitt-Johnstown faculty, staff, and students for helping to advance the campus’ internationalization efforts.
Elected to a three-year term, Dr. Spectar will begin serving his term on January 1. “NAFSA is a leading advocate for international education and the related imperative of campus internationalization, including student and scholar exchanges, and national and international educational policies that foster greater inter-cultural understanding and peace,” commented Dr. Spectar. “I am optimistic that NAFSA will build on its strengths as an organization that nurtures its members and leverages their strategic impact in fostering internationalization, including a focus on the global South.”
Founded in 1927, Pitt-Johnstown is located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The University offers a high-quality educational experience in a supportive living-learning environment designed to prepare students for the real world of the 21st century. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by U.S.News & World Report as a “Best Baccalaureate College” (2010), by the Princeton Review as a “Best Northeastern College” (2010), and by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School.”