News and Events
Sooners in Washington, D.C.
An international view of the world began in the nation’s capital for this select group of CIS students.
Few times in Washington, D.C., are lovelier than cherry blossom season. The trees bloomed early this year, but the timing was perfect and the setting idyllic for 20 University of Oklahoma students visiting the District as part of “Washington & the World”—a course offered by the OU College of International Studies.
During weekend class sessions in Norman, visiting professor Rebecca Cooper—anchor for “Washington Business Report” and national correspondent for ABC 7 News—gave students an insider’s view of the international world of the Capital City. Together they examined governmental institutions that craft American foreign policy; explored the structure and purpose of various D.C.-based diplomatic, business and humanitarian organizations; and studied the media outlets that cover Washington for the world.
Washington & the World students devoted their spring break to gaining firsthand knowledge of how the nation’s capital works, reflecting on the role the environment could have in their lives and careers after they leave OU. Throughout the week, the class visited the State Department, Capitol Hill, the Brazilian Embassy, the Center for Global Development, the Atlantic Council, Bloomberg News Washington Bureau, and D.C.’s ABC news studio—WJLA/ABC7. Distinguishing these visits from a standard sightseeing tour was the unique conversational format, extraordinary access granted at each meeting and high level of student preparedness.
Accepting the Global Challenge
Wide-ranging academics and real-life experiences are preparing OU’s International Studies students to assume responsibilities in an ever-changing world.
In January 2011, President David Boren watched with deep satisfaction as a lifetime ambition moved a step closer to reality. On that chilly day last winter, the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents voted unanimously to confer college status on OU’s growing collection of international programs, now christened the College of International Studies (CIS).
After the vote, President Boren reflected on the moment as “a dream in the process of coming true.” For the first time in OU’s 122-year history, all of the University’s international programs are gathered together into a cohesive whole. This decision gives life to a conviction that President Boren brought with him to OU in 1994: that one of a 21st-century university’s highest priorities must be to ensure that its graduates are internationally literate and able to act in a global environment.
The new college’s curricula includes specializations in diverse regions of the world such as Africa, Asia, Western and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Russia. Add to that campus-wide programs in the offices of Education Abroad and International Student Services, and the College of International Studies is now a well-rounded interdisciplinary community fully engaged in the mission of enhancing the University’s international focus and bringing an awareness of important global issues to OU students, the state and the nation.
“In remarkably short order, OU is becoming widely recognized as a regional leader in international studies,” says Zach P. Messitte, the new college’s first dean. Messitte, a specialist in American foreign policy, devoted his OU career to attracting talented faculty, a wide variety of funding, and above all, the best and the brightest students in the nation to the University of Oklahoma.