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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“UA losing funding, international scholars”

The UA’s last international scholar came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2006, but the UA shouldn’t expect more scholars any time soon due to budget cuts, according to UA officials.

Kirk Simmons, executive director of International Affairs, first introduced the program to the UA as a part of its broader mission to be recognized as a research university.

Nationally, the Scholarship Rescue Fund was a formalized response to scholars being rebuked for research abroad. In 2002, the Institute of International Education, a private nonprofit organization specializing in international information exchange via scholars, created the fund.

Mary Ann Berg, administrative assistant in the Division of International Affairs, said the office now focuses around mostly student programs, as the Scholar Rescue Fund focuses around teachers working with students.

“”I doubt students even know that this program exists,”” said Dana Bleau, director of the Office of International Faculty and Scholars. “”The SRF (Scholarship Rescue Fund) really strives to provide opportunities for scholars, not students, to continue their research in a safe environment, somewhere where they are free from fear and persecution.””

A lack of funding has stood in the way of some scholars coming to the UA, according to Bleau. She said the UA faculty is aware of the program, but requiring the UA to match the institute’s financial support can sometimes be a deterrent.

Host campuses are asked to match the Scholarship Research Fund fellowship award by providing partial salary, stipend support, or housing, material support for researching and publications, and other in-kind assistance.

The fund supports fellowships lasting for three months to one year, with awards up to $25,000. Awards can be renewed for a second year if approved. Money is then given through the UA, or another host university, for direct support of scholar-grantees.

To Bleau, the UA community needs the opportunity to learn and interact more globally by engaging with scholars from other countries, through programs like this one.

Scholars using their time at the UA to teach classes could impact the campus in a postitive way, according to Bleau, as “”my hope would be that there would be an exchange of cultural understanding and education,”” impacting the average student at a greater level.

Bleau said the benefits vary from scholar to student.

“”The scholar obviously gets to continue their research and collaborate with fellow experts here at UA,”” Bleau said. “”The students have the opportunity to learn from someone from another culture and hopefully not only peak their interest in their academic field of choice, but also in understanding other cultures.””

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