On Aug. 21, Philip Oxhorn, a professor in McGill’s Political Science Department and the former director of the Institute for the Study of International Development, was appointed McGill’s first Associate Provost (International). The portfolio of Associate Provost (International) includes strengthening international partnerships and overseeing international outreach and research.
Oxhorn plans to add more innovative graduate programs in international development in order to attract more faculty and students from around the world. He also hopes to foster an environment that encourages students to participate in the internationalization of McGill by sharing their cultures, completing internships abroad, and bringing global awareness to the campus. According to Oxhorn, developing an international strategy will be a large part of his work.
“As for the first six months, I am working on developing an international strategy,” Oxhorn said. “There is lots of learning—especially with the abundant resources we have—on how to utilize these resources and bring units together. Another defining feature of the strategy is to seek and create genuine partnerships around the world.”
Recognizing the diversity of cultures on campus, Oxhorn feels stronger communication between departments is necessary for fostering a community with global mindsets.
“McGill has many great resources and many strengths, but the right hand may have no idea what the left hand is doing,” Oxhorn said. “So the problem is how to bring [departments] together and centralize them to make McGill a better place.”
Oxhorn plans to introduce a series of new curricula that focus on globalized learning and developing students’ appreciation of diverse culture and perspectives.
“It is important to comprehend the meaning of global citizenship in the 21st century,” Oxhorn said.
Oxhorn was appointed by Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Christopher Manfredi after an extensive interview and evaluation process. Manfredi has faith that Oxhorn will successfully carry out all the mandates for advancing McGill on the world stage.
“As the former director of the Institute for the Study of International Development and with an excellent track-record in teaching and research in this field, Professor Oxhorn will bring valuable skills and expertise to this new role,” Manfredi said.
Erin Sobat, the VP University Affairs of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), expressed concerns about the value of the new position for undergraduate students and its potential impact on international student affairs.
“We're interested to see how exactly the portfolio shapes up,” Sobat wrote in an email to /The Tribune/. “And particularly if International Education (exchanges, study away, etc.) will remain under the Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning). Otherwise, it's unclear exactly what impact or added value this role might have for undergraduate students.”
Chenghao Liu, a U1 Science student from China, hopes the new position will help improve the experience of international students at McGill.
“The administration at McGill [is] disappointing at times,” Liu said. “They [seem] fragmented. I need to run around the campus in order to get what I need. It is great to hear that there is a position created to unify, coordinate, and oversee the international aspect of the University.”