Yale’s celebration of its 300th birthday was not just about nostalgia — administrators took steps to ensure the University a global presence at 400 with several big announcements that are sure to affect Yale’s international renown.
Yale’s top priority for the next 100 years is to further internationalize both the student body and the curriculum. This year, the University announced three major cornerstones of their initiative on the same day: the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, to be headed up by former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott ’68; need-blind admissions for international students; and the World Fellows Program, a program to bring the world’s future leaders to study at Yale for a semester.
Beyond these three undertakings, the University is also encouraging its domestic student population to travel beyond New Haven while affiliated with Yale. Study abroad is on the rise at Yale, although the numbers of students participating are not as great as at many of Yale’s peer institutions. 79 undergraduates received a total of $600,000 in fellowship grants to pursue study abroad this year alone, which is a marked increase from last year, said Gustav Ranis, head of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies (YCIAS). General funding for YCIAS has risen from $3.5 million in 1995 to $10 million this past academic year.
The combination of these initiatives into a neatly-wrapped international package may mark the beginning of the first era of true globalization at Yale, but some said the initiatives merely affirm an already established commitment to Yale’s role as a leader in international policy.
“Yale had a long established tradition of doing things international,” Paul Kennedy said, director of International Security Studies, said. “I’m just not sure it was structured in a very programmatic way.”
The University also hopes these announcements help improve its reputation among world scholars.
“I’ve been frustrated as an alumnus not to hear Yale mentioned more often at international conferences, like Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and Columbia are,” Talbott said. “I do think Yale has some catching up to do.”
The University has also extended its global initiative to admissions, promising need-blind admissions for international students. This measure ensures that money will no longer be a factor in admissions, a policy Yale previously had with domestic students for years.
Another initiative, the World Fellows Program, will house a select number of future international leaders on campus for a semester of intensive study each year. Brooke Shearer, former head of the White House Fellowships Program, will direct the program at Yale.
While the globalization center, international need-blind admissions and the creation of the World Fellows Program are significant moves toward the globalization of education at Yale, Ranis sees even more on the horizon.
Ranis said International Studies, currently a dependent double major, may become an independent major next year. An independent major can be pursued without the requirement to double major.
Another idea involves an expansion of the Rhodes scholar program at Oxford. The Rhodes scholarship gives more than 250 promising college graduates worldwide a chance to pursue a two-year course of study at Oxford. Oxford may consider expanding the program to include an additional year of study at Yale, Kennedy said.
For Kennedy, the growth of international study at Yale is best represented by the buildings. Luce Hall has taken the place of what Kennedy remembers to be a dilapidated building at 85 Trumbull St. as the center for international studies.
“You would have a seminar [in 85 Trumbull] and you could hear the squirrels fornicating in the rafters,” Kennedy said. “[International Studies programs] were nothing 12 years ago. If you look around campus now, there are so many more events than there were 12 years ago.”