- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 05 October 2016
- Written by MEHDI HUSAINI | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
This past February, the University hired a new Vice Provost for Global Education, Dr. Jon W. Stauff, who hopes to use his diverse experiences and unique world perspective to connect University students with programs that will help them become better students and leaders.
For Stauff, international programs have a special place in the future of Monmouth students.
“International experience and familiarity with the world is going to be as essential in 20 years as computers have become part of our generation... International education is going to provide students today with those essential skills for a successful career in the 21st century. Those essentials are going to include familiarity with the global marketplace, not just of products but of ideas,” he said.
Dr. Stauff had previously held a position at The College of New Jersey, serving as a history professor and director of the institution’s Center for Global Education, before resigning to come to Monmouth. He now helps maintain and develop the University’s international programs, while cultivating relationships with institutions overseas, such as Regents University in London, UK; Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia; and the Lorenzo de’ Medici School in Florence, Italy.
Stauff’s education began as he graduated high school in Toms River, moving to the College of William and Mary to continue his studies in History and German. Stauff had the opportunity to study abroad in the University of Regensburg in West Germany, during the Cold War. Stauff was present when the Berlin Wall was brought down, and was able to experience history being made first-hand. His time in Germany sparked a profound interest in history, which he took with him to graduate school at SUNY Buffalo, where he earned his Ph.D. Stauff also completed a fellowship at the University of Gottingen in Germany, before becoming a college professor.
“It’s an opportunity for me to come home, to the part of the country where I grew up. The shore is home, and I’m glad to make a contribution to my community,” Stauff said. He spent time in Barnegat Bay in Ocean County when he was younger, and sees his transition to Monmouth as a way of revisiting his roots at the shore and developing a community that is familiar to him.
“My bedroom overlooked the water. I looked out toward the east at sunrise, and I always wondered what was on the other side,” he recounted. “Many of the students at Monmouth… share that curiosity, and it’s an opportunity for me to help them get to the other side, whether that means to Asia or to Europe or wherever.”
“As a business major with plans to study abroad, I know that studying another culture can help build a relationship with people I’ll meet later on in my career,” said Jeremy Waters, a current freshman majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics and Finance.
One of his most impactful experiences was taking students to visit Germany in the nineties, where Stauff said he “was able to observe how museum visits, guest speakers, eating a meal in a German restaurant had a profound impact on them, and how it got them to change the way they thought about the world and more importantly themselves, and how they took that experience and set new goals”
“Spending the semester in London provided me with experiences I could not receive elsewhere. I not only learned so much about myself, but also about a variety of different cultures. The friendships I made will last a life time and the memories I have are irreplaceable. Monmouth’s Global Education office was extremely helpful throughout the entire process and makes studying abroad very accessible,” said junior Erin MacDonald, a history major who spent time overseas this past spring.
Stauff’s main goal as he continues his job at Monmouth is to expand on the opportunities currently available to interested students. This not only means expanding upon the locations offered in the study abroad programs, but also means making timing more flexible by introducing plans for overseas learning that last less than a semester.
“I’m looking for opportunities to add to my learning experience. Being able to have options for where I study or how long I’m out of the country would really make studying abroad much easier and more beneficial for me,” said freshman Koushik Muralidharan.
One of Stauff’s main responsibilities is often overlooked: helping international students acclimate themselves to life in the United States. This is a difficult transition as Monmouth’s international students deal with a drastic change in their environment as they go to seek higher education, often for graduate programs.
“One of the things we just introduced in this office is a peer mentoring program. Many of our international students are graduate students… and most of the students who have signed up to be peer mentors for the international students are undergraduates” Stauff explained, “We found that to be fairly successful this year in getting the students more integrated into campus life.”
Stauff also tries to make their transition easier from a legal perspective as well, reaching out to students before they even leave for the University to aid them in applying for visas.
“[An international experience] really drive[s] some of the points home,” said Stauff, “…it just makes it real to the student. It’s not a book anymore”
image taken from Fullym.com