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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2015 / 02 

Newly renamed Global Education Office broadens mission, adds staff

February 24, 2015

A Virginia Tech student with children in the Dominican Republic
Virginia Tech students who study abroad at the Caribbean Center for Education and Research in Punta Cana, on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, find time for service projects along with their academic studies.

The office that administers study abroad programs – and provides $80,000 in scholarships while supporting more than 60 programs led by Virginia Tech faculty members – has doubled in size and now operates under a new name: the Global Education Office.

The office added three new staff members over the last year and a half. In addition, a search is underway to hire an assistant director for global safety and risk management. The newly created position will bring the full-time staff to eight.

The office manages faculty-led study abroad programs and oversees exchange opportunities for students.

"By devoting extra staff and resources, Virginia Tech is now even better able to support the 1,200 students from Virginia Tech who go abroad each year," says Guru Ghosh, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs. "As President Timothy Sands pointed out in his installation speech, Virginia Tech students must aspire to be global citizens, and they must be prepared to compete globally. The name change of the office reflects our commitment to providing these high-impact educational opportunities and experiences."

Theresa Johansson took leadership of the office this month from previous director Jennifer Quijano Sax, who left Virginia Tech in 2014. Recently created positions included an assistant director for program management (Rachel Fitzgerald), an assistant director for strategic partnerships and public relations (Rommelyn Conde), an advisor (Rebecca Johnson), and a global initiatives coordinator (Betty Watts).

The Global Education Office advises students and parents as they navigate an array of study abroad options and helps students apply their international experiences professionally upon their return.

The Global Education Office also

  • Manages the online enrollment and risk-management database known as Studio Abroad
  • Administers the Fulbright program for students and faculty
  • Provides $20,000 in Global Education grants to faculty members to establish programs abroad
  • Collaborates with academic departments including financial aid officers to make it easier for students to sign up for study abroad

Study abroad opportunities for Virginia Tech students include the Steger Center for International Scholarship in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, which recently underwent a $2.6 million renovation after celebrating its 20-year anniversary.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Rommelyn Conde and Miriam Rich contributed to this report.

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