From the President's Desk

Cultivating Citizens of a Global Community

From the President's Desk

Editors’ Note: President Zingg wrote this column prior to a recuperation period following heart surgery. See “Richmond Appointed Acting President” on page 5 for more on the president. 

In this issue of Chico Statements, marking the 20th anniversary year of the publication, there are several terrific articles that underscore our University’s excellence through academic programs, faculty accomplishments, and alumni success. I am drawn, in particular, to the Q&A feature with faculty that has an international focus (see pages 12–15). For in this piece, there is powerful evidence of not only our faculty’s expertise and engagement in international issues but also the importance that these faculty place on bringing their interests to their classrooms and engaging students in their research.

This commitment to student engagement reflects our faculty’s appreciation for a broad array of learning strategies that have recently been branded as “high-

impact practices” (HIP) by the educational experts who like labels. Such practices include service learning, undergraduate participation in applied research, internships, first-year student learning communities, and studying abroad. In other words, things our faculty and University have been doing and promoting long before HIP entered the lexicon of higher education. Our faculty and campus program leaders in these areas have been doing this because they have recognized and witnessed the positive effect such programs and activities have on fostering student learning, driving student achievement, and supporting persistence to degree completion.

When the understandings that guide high-impact learning practices connect with international study, we have a particularly fruitful condition with so many positive elements. It reminds us that our University is not just a state and local asset; it is a national asset with a global reach. It signals that we are not just part of a “global community”; it compels us to provide our students with the ability and inclination to be active and contributing citizens of that community. It affirms our commitment to developing a wide range of international and study-abroad programs for our students, and to being welcoming and gracious hosts for international students who come to our campus. 

The consequences for our domestic students—whether studying abroad or studying on their home campus with international students in their classrooms—are extraordinarily rich for both the short and long term. Friendships will be made; awakenings will be had; connections will be found; lives will be transformed. 

These are among the reasons that Chico State is as engaged in sending students abroad as we are in hosting international students here. This academic year, we will have slightly more than 700 international students on campus. These students come to us from 45 different countries around the globe. And the number of our own students who traveled abroad to study last year was almost 500; they went to partner universities in 26 countries, to academic conferences, and on research trips with faculty. This is a remarkable balance in the “commerce” of such matters. But it is not surprising given the diligent work that comes from our Office of International Education, directed by Frank Li and ably supported by international exchange coordinator Jennifer Gruber and other staff. 

In the 20 years that Chico Statements has been chronicling the story of our University—as is evident from another feature in this issue, a collage of 20 years of covers (see pages 16–17)—nothing is more constant than our focus on student success and the evidence of that focus through the achievements of our alumni. Our emphasis on high-impact learning practices and international study ensures that we will not miss a beat in strengthening our story over the next 20 years.}

—Paul J. Zingg, President