Michael Holland was appointed as the first associate director of Internationalization Initiatives this past month. The position was created when the Office of Internationalization and Global Engagement felt it lacked the man-power to expand its global initiatives.
While there are already many international opportunities for students at the college, Assistant Vice President for Internationalization and Global Engagement Anthony Pinder said he wanted to do more.
Some of these opportunities are Kasteel Well in the Netherlands and the Blanquera Exchange Program at University of Ramon Llull in Barcelona. The college also has Global Pathway summer programs in Cuba, Berlin, and Ghana.
“We brought [Holland] on board to do a better job of student outreach and faculty engagement. To have someone like Mike come out and be very student-centered in terms of getting our information out to the campus and the community is great,” Pinder said.
The department selected Holland over other candidates because of his extensive background in working and developing faculty-led education programs as well his experience in program assessment and evaluation at Harvard Business School, Pinder said.
The search for this position began at the beginning of the 2017 calendar year according to Pinder.
Holland will be in charge of the Global Pathways Program, the semester-long exchange program, the International Visitor Program, and overall student outreach.
Holland hopes to increase the participation of Emerson students in the Global Pathways programs as well as the semester-long student exchange programs. He said he strives to make Emerson a great place to study for international students and for visiting faculty who are coming from around the globe.
“People here are extremely nice, very open, and it’s a good vibe. People are extremely sharp and very creative. Also, people don’t seem to take themselves too seriously, and it’s a nice comfortable place to work,” Holland said.
The number of international students at Emerson increased 38 percent from last year to this year, with 99 international students in this year’s freshmen class compared to 72 the previous year, according to documents provided by the college.
Despite the increasing number of international students, Emerson still has a long way to go in diversifying its community, Pinder said.
“When you look at Emerson from a diversity and inclusion standpoint—wanting to be as excellent as we can and creating all of these wonderful opportunities for as many diverse students as possible—we have a very long way to go,” Pinder said. “We are very conscious of it, and we’re very intentional about it.”
Junior visual and media arts major Améthyste Frézignac is from France and said she thinks the community is diverse, but she believes her being an international student has skewed this view.
“I feel like maybe my perception is a little different ... because I’m international, so I tend to hang out with a lot of international people. I think that you tend to meet people from the same areas as you,” Frézignac said.