University of Pittsburgh
April 25, 2002

Pitt's University Center for International Studies Receives Grant to Research Underrepresented Groups in International Education

Contact:  412-624-4147

April 19, 2002

PITTSBURGH—The University Center for International Studies (UCIS) at the University of Pittsburgh has received a $75,000 grant from the National Security Education Program (NSEP) for a one-year research project on participation in international education by underrepresented groups. The UCIS proposal, submitted last year, was one of six from U.S. institutions of higher education recently given grants by NSEP. The grants are for international education initiatives that focus on less-commonly studied regions of the world.

The UCIS project, titled "Access International Education: Resources on Underrepresented Groups in International Education," is designed to help overcome curricular constraints affecting student participation in study and work opportunities abroad, disseminate innovative models of overseas study and language/cultural knowledge acquisition to institutions of higher education, and create informational aids for department advisors and faculty. Led by Wolfgang Schlör, associate director of UCIS, the project will focus on underrepresented racial groups (African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics), underrepresented disciplines (engineering, math, and computer sciences), and students with disabilities.

The project is intended to produce an initial data survey form and preliminary data analysis of existing programs aimed at increasing participation in international education by underrepresented groups; a literature survey and annotated bibliography; a searchable on-line database of programs and projects; a student guide to opportunities and resources for underrepresented groups; and a list of Frequently Asked Questions for Parents.

The project builds on an existing effort at UCIS, Access International Education (AIE), an on-line database of projects and programs on underrepresented groups in international education, available at www.ucis.pitt.edu/aie.

NSEP was created in 1991 through passage of the National Security Education Act. In this, its eighth year of competition, the NSEP received 87 preliminary proposals from a variety of U.S. higher educational institutions. Independent merit-based review panels invited 25 preliminary applicants to submit final proposals. A final merit review panel of senior-level administrators and academics from U.S. colleges and universities representing areas and fields corresponding to the objectives of the program reviewed the 23 final applications that were received, recommending the six programs that were funded.

NSEP has now awarded 59 institutional grants totaling $17.6 million to international education initiatives that focus on less-commonly studied regions of the world. Nearly 400 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. have been involved directly in programs initiated by these grants, which have addressed 70 less-commonly taught languages, touched every major continent of the world, and incorporated international experiences and curriculum development into most major fields of study.

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