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Faculty survey reveals rich on-campus resources

As the administration develops its plan to build BU into a global institution, University faculty have spoken out and offered themselves as a resource.

This semester’s faculty survey, conducted in February and released last month, explores BU’s international role from an internal perspective, asking faculty to comment on their own research at home and abroad and on their interest in contributing to the University’s international programs. More than 620 faculty members responded to the survey, and Metropolitan College Dean Jay Halfond, the cochair of the President’s Council on BU and the Global Future, says the results show that “one does not have to go far to find very well-qualified, authoritative insight.”

“I think now the challenge is how do we deepen and broaden our global character, beyond simply individual activities,” Halfond says. “I think faculty are global in their perspective and their work, but aren’t necessarily coordinating among themselves in a way that really optimizes quality.”

The survey asked faculty whether they conduct international research, and if so, where and in what field; 76 percent of the respondents in the humanities, 69 percent in public health, and 67 percent in social sciences said they did. Responding to where the research takes place, 14 percent said in the United Kingdom, 11 percent said an unspecified location in Europe, and 9 percent each said China and France. Brazil, India, and Israel had the lowest rates of the 17 countries and regions identified, at 4 percent each.

In addition, the survey identified the fields with the highest percentage of faculty who teach in BU’s study-abroad programs; management led at 26 percent, followed by humanities at 10 percent.

Faculty were also asked to evaluate the statement “BU is among the universities with a strong international reputation in the U.S. and around the world”; 60 percent agreed or strongly agreed.

Halfond says the survey results can be used to plan future study abroad programs, as well as develop new globally oriented projects and institutes on campus.

“The message, in my opinion, is that we are truly an international institution, in a very de facto way,” he says. “Now is a chance to really marshal that and encourage much more cohesion and strategic leadership.”