A Harvard administrator has traded in her crimson for Yale blue, assuming a new position at the University as associate dean for international affairs.
Jane Edwards, former director of the Office of International Programs at Harvard University, is primarily responsible for coordinating and overseeing Yale’s various international programs for undergraduates. She will also act as a liaison between the International Education and Fellowship Programs Office and the offices involved in admitting and retaining international students at Yale. Edwards was appointed by Yale College Dean Peter Salovey in June and began her new position two weeks ago.
Edwards said she was impressed with the progress Yale has been making in promoting undergraduate study abroad.
“What’s been happening at Yale has been very interesting,” she said. “There’s been a big strategic planning initiative on the part of the institution as a whole. Things don’t usually happen this way — it’s usually a more organic development.”
Edwards will focus on integrating and overseeing the internship, study abroad and summer programs at Yale, which have previously been run separately from one another. She also plans to communicate with the student community and ensure that students looking for international options not currently offered are serviced. Edwards mentioned students interested in study in Africa, those interested in study in South Asia, and students majoring in the sciences as groups that could benefit from more Yale-sponsored options geared toward their interests.
She conceded that it is difficult to get students at universities such as Yale and Harvard to study abroad during the academic year, and that one of her goals is to work on this issue.
“If you go abroad during the academic year, there’s definitely a greater investment,” she said. “The summer experience is also valuable. But I think there’s some recalibrations that can be made within academic departments [to facilitate academic year study abroad].”
Director of Undergraduate Career Services Philip Jones said he is confident Edwards will be able to make the transition from Cambridge to New Haven smoothly.
“I’ve known Dean Edwards for about 10 years, since she was at Wesleyan, and she is both highly knowledgeable and widely respected within the international education community,” Jones wrote in an e-mail. “Having worked at similar institutions, she is familiar with the kinds of issues and the kinds of students that we have. Yet she has the wisdom not to presume that things at Yale are as they were at Harvard, and that a plan that worked there would necessarily work well here, and vice versa.”
Jones, who said he has interacted with Edwards almost daily since she took over, said he believes her position is necessary for orchestrating Yale’s efforts in international education.
“For myself, it was definitely apparent that the dramatic increase in international activity within Yale College required a more coordinated approach, and a more comprehensive strategic vision than any one department working to contribute to the expansion could provide,” Jones wrote in the e-mail.