International Spotlight

Title VI grants awarded to six UI centers

10/2/2014  8:00 am

Six area studies centers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been selected to receive Title VI funding—support considered critical to the existence of many international programs in higher education. With a commitment of more than $3 million for 2014-15—and an expected total of more than $12.5 million through 2018—the news affirms the University of Illinois’s established and growing reputation as a leader in international public engagement and research.

“These awards are a testament to the depth and breadth of the international scholarship that we have at the University of Illinois,” said Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise. “Competition for funding for these center grants is intense and to win six of them speaks very loudly to the national reputation earned in these areas by our faculty, students, and staff. 

The University of Illinois hosts a total of six federally funded U.S. Department of Education Title VI Centers in international and area studies, each focusing on a different world region or issue. More than 600 faculty from all colleges on campus are affiliated with one or more of these centers. This year’s recipients are a diverse group, both thematically and geographically, highlighting the wide range of international programs and studies at the University. They include: the Center for African Studies (CAS); and the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies (CEAPS); the Center for Global Studies (CGS); the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS); the European Union Center (EUC); and the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center (REEEC).

A seventh center received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) program, a grant with similar aims, that will enable the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (CSAMES) to provide more South Asian language instruction, including in Sanskrit, Bengali, and Urdu.

“These centers and the scholarly productivity they catalyze are exactly why Illinois is a pre-eminent public research university with a global impact,” said Provost Ilesanmi Adesida. “The world is truly watching what we do at this university. All of those involved in this effort deserve the congratulations of the entire campus community.”

All of the centers are considered models of collaboration, with joint programs that help build bridges with other renowned universities. CAS, for example, received funding in part to support its partnership with the Program in African Studies at Northwestern University; CEAPS will work closely with partners at the East Asian Studies Center at Indiana University; and CLACS will partner with the University of Chicago. The grants also encourage multidisciplinary cooperation at both the campus and international levels. The EUC, which recently renewed its EU Center of Excellence grant from the European Commission, will provide comprehensive support for faculty research, teaching, and public engagement in interdisciplinary EU Studies, a hallmark of the EUC.

“Title VI Funding has been vital to encouraging the development of a strong academic community that spans across multiple disciplines,” said David Cooper, Director of REEEC. “By supporting the kind of resources that attract top faculty and graduate students, the impact of Title VI funding can be felt in multiple academic departments across the disciplines and not just the area centers.”

The total amount awarded to the University of Illinois for 2014-15, the first year of the next four-year cycle, is $3,134,417, with the total commitment expected to reach $12.54 million through 2018. The university has been receiving funding from Title VI and its predecessors since 1959 and has consistently ranked in the top 10 nationally for the number of Title VI centers. The six National Resource Centers are jointly contained within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and International Programs and Studies (IPS).

Title VI was introduced as a part of the National Defense Education Act in 1958 as a means of promoting language development, with a focus on less commonly taught languages. Today, National Resource Centers, Foreign Language and Area Studies Programs, and International Research and Studies remain central programs for Title VI awards.

For more information about the recipients and the other international centers and programs at the University of Illinois’s Urbana-Champaign campus, please see: http://international.illinois.edu/programs/