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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 13 | Nov. 7, 2002

Seven Questions for Michael Goldberg

By Kate Jobling

One of UBC’s overall goals is to participate as an active member of the 21st century by educating future citizens to think globally and by advancing international scholarship and research.

Tangible results of this initiative include the opening of the Liu Institute for Global Issues, the Centre for International Health and the Institute for European Studies. In addition, UBC and the University of Washington have established a joint Canadian-American Studies Program and UBC’s office in Hong Kong has opened. An even more recent tangible result was the Global Citizenship Conference held on campus Sept. 4 to a standing-room audience of 876 people.

Michael Goldberg, associate vice-president, has been guiding UBC’s International program since January of this year.

One of your department’s strategies is to “internationalize” the campus by increasing the numbers of international students and by encouraging more Canadian students to enroll in study-abroad programs. In 1999, international undergraduate enrollment increased to 1,192. By 2000, it reached 1,343. What is it currently?

We’re at 1,958 or 6.1 percent of the student body. So, while we’re not where we want to be, we can take a certain amount of pride that we are continuing to move the needle.

Are international exchanges still on the increase?

This year we sent 426 students to 150 partner universities in more than 40 countries. That’s an increase of 37 percent over last year.

UBC has concentrated its international, academic and research initiatives in three major areas: Asia Pacific, the Americas and Europe. Has the Hong Kong office been as effective as you expected?

The Hong Kong Office has been a very important symbol of our activity internationally. It has also helped us sustain the strong international relationships developed by UBC students, faculty, staff and external partners to strengthen long-term support for UBC.

Besides Hong Kong, do we have a physical presence in any other area?

Not at the moment but we are looking to open offices in other locations in Asia and possibly even somewhere in Europe.

Another international goal has been developing international initiatives by promoting the contributions of research universities. What progress has been made?

What I have discovered since taking on this position is that we can’t possibly do everything we want to do. So, we’ve focused on two major organizations - Universitas 21 (U2I) and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU). With U21, we have made considerable progress on several projects including student exchanges, a teaching and learning resources catalogue (UNSW) and a commitment that our deans will meet jointly on an annual basis.

Moving forward, we are looking at several new opportunities including an international comparative policy/research consortium, international co-ops, internships and placements, staff and faculty exchange programs and best practices benchmarking, and information exchanges.

What else are we doing to reach the goals outlined in Trek 2000 document?

Since taking over responsibility for the international area, I have established a campus-wide forum for discussing international issues. Struck this past spring, the 20-person committee, called the Campus Advisory on International Activities (CAIA), is made up of a variety of people from various faculties and departments and meets once a month to share updates and information from an international perspective.

It’s a great mechanism because so many of us are on the road a lot and it allows us to identify synergies and share experiences.

What sets us apart from other universities doing this?

We are not alone. A number of universities are expanding their international component. But UBC is definitely at the forefront.

We are unique in several ways. First, as a university, we are committed to the program of internationalization. It is one of our five vision areas. Second, we have a strongly international faculty and staff. And finally, given the diverse social, cultural and economic interests of our British Columbia community, UBC will continue to co-operate with other educational institutions, industry, governments, agencies and our communities to advance internationalization and share the benefits.

Michael A. Goldberg is the H.R. Fullerton Professor of Urban Land Policy in the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration at UBC. He is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. He graduated from Brooklyn College with a BA (cum Laude) in Economics. He did his MA and PhD in Economics at the University of California at Berkeley. He came to UBC Commerce in 1968 and was Dean of the Commerce faculty from 1991 to 1997.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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