Underlying Questions

Where do International Students fit into our Institutional notions of Diversity?

As the state’s premier public university, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s core mission is to serve the interests of the diverse people of the state of Illinois and beyond. The institution thus values inclusion and a pluralistic learning and research environment, one which we respect the varied perspectives and lived experiences of a diverse community and global workforce. We support diversity of worldviews, histories, and cultural knowledge across a range of social groups including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, abilities, economic class, religion, and their intersections.

Overlap and Tensions between ‘domestic’ and ‘global’ notions of diversity

1. The “segregation” and “uneven experiences” between international students and underrepresented domestic students, including the increasing difficulty that faculty face in accommodating students who come from an increasingly varied educational background.
2. Possible tensions between domestic diversity and global diversity, specifically in relation to the University of Illinois’ mission as a “land grant university” -with an increasing population of international students relative to the underrepresented domestic population on campus.

How do we respect the need for attention and space for discussion around domestic issues of diversity, acknowledging the specific historical context and current realities out of which this need arises, AND also benefit from the overlaps in experience and opportunity brought by the growing international population on campus?

In this final question lies the structure of the Focal Point Project that seeks to stimulate the formation of new intellectual communities and interdisciplinary research activities among faculty and graduate students by addressing Diversity and Internationalization of Higher Education: