COAD writes to encourage a global university community

To the Miami University Community,

Recently, The Miami Student published commentary critical of the University’s international initiatives, and many international students, on our campuses. In this open letter, the Council of Academic Deans (COAD) addresses these criticisms and states clearly and unequivocally our firm belief that the diversity of our faculty, staff, and students enhances learning for all members of our academic community.  International students play an important role in this diversity and contribute to our commitment of preparing all students for living and working in global communities. 

We have each observed the positive impact that our international students have had not only on our campuses, but also within the entire region that we serve.  Certainly, the growing presence of international students has made Miami a different institution compared to what it was ten years ago.  They have changed us; and change – especially in a university environment – can be challenging.  Still, there can be no growth or improvement without change, and we are thankful to have attracted such an excellent cohort of international students, faculty, and staff into Miami University and the surrounding communities.  

Students who choose to matriculate in a non-native country, live with cultural challenges, and study in a different language, demonstrate the benefits of the immersive international experience that we have as a goal for all of our students. Given the inherent challenges associated with being far removed from home, acclimating to a new culture, and mastering college-level academic content presented in a different language, one could argue that international students who attend Miami are capable in ways beyond what their academic records alone may suggest.  Not only are our international students well prepared academically, they are also likely to be independent, open to new experiences, and willing to step outside of their comfort zone. In short, they possess characteristics that we hope all of our students develop by the time they graduate.

As academic leaders, we are committed to providing a “vibrant learning and discovery environment that produces extraordinary student and scholarly outcomes” for all of our students on all of our campuses. We also believe in the importance of the second foundational goal of the Miami 2020 Plan to promote a diverse culture of inclusion, integrity, and collaboration that deepens understanding and embraces intercultural and global experiences, and we support, wholeheartedly, the campus initiatives for globalization which make a diverse university experience possible. 

In summary, the COAD supports without reservation our international students, faculty, and staff, and we thank them for making Miami a more fulfilling environment for learning, living and working. The recent letters to The Miami Student have increased our sense of urgency and resolve to advance our progress towards meeting the Miami 2020 Plan goals related to inclusion, diversity and learning. We invite the entire Miami University community to join us in this critical step forward.

Members of the Council Of Academic Deans

Phyllis Callahan

Lindsay Carpenter

Jerome Conley

Janet Cox

Mike Curme

Marek Dollar

Jerry Gannod

Raymond Gorman

Carolyn Haynes

Michael Kabbaz

Denise Krallman

Thierry Leterre

Stacy Kawamura

Susan Mosley-Howard

Elizabeth Mullenix

Matthew Myers

James Oris

G. Michael Pratt

Beth Rubin

Ronald Scott

Cheryl Young