The University of Iowa announced Tuesday that the Director in the Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Russell Ganim, will assume the role of associate provost and dean of International Programs, effective Jan. 1.
In addition to his role as a French professor, Ganim previously served as department head for Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures and has served as department head of German since 2013, French and Italian since 2016, and is the administrative head of the American Sign Language Program.
Ganim’s appointment as associate provost and dean of International Programs is pending approval by the state Board of Regents, and the university said in a statement that he will receive an annual salary of $236,000.
“I have devoted a major portion of my career to international education. The University of Iowa has a very strong commitment to global education and global affairs and now is the opportune moment to take us to the next level of excellence,” Ganim said in a statement.
Ganim will succeed current Associate Provost and Dean of the program Downing Thomas, who is stepping down after a decade in the position on Dec. 31. Thomas will return to a faculty position in the liberal-arts college.
Ganim said his journey in international education began 30 years ago, as a graduate student at the University of Virginia. He eventually landed at the UI, which attracted him by its extensive infrastructure in international programs.
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Since his arrival on campus, Ganim said his division and faculty have kickstarted a number of study abroad programs; intentionally revived language programs such as Japanese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, and some growth in Swahili; and worked to send more students abroad.
As head of the International Programs, Ganim said his goals include increasing study abroad participation and scholarship aid and engaging faculty in international partnerships, among other things.
“Another thing that’s high on my list of priorities is to highlight the activity and contributions of international students and scholars on campus,” he said.
As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, international-student enrollment at the UI has steadily declined since fall 2016. International students account for 2 percent of the class of 2023 undergraduate population, which is a 2 percent drop from the class of 2022.
“I think that we need to try and connect more with international students on a personal level,” Ganim said. “I’d also like to engage more with international alumni, not simply for the purposes of fundraising but to get a sense of … whether or not they would recommend the UI to students from their home country.”
He added that he’s particularly excited to focus on current efforts by Fuentes to develop international collaborations within Central and South America and Africa.
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“[Russ] has an extraordinary record of service to the university, and I am delighted that he will bring his commitment to our academic mission and his passion for international education and collaboration to this very important role,” Fuentes said in a statement.
The university hosted open forums this fall for the position, and Ganim was one of three finalists selected by the committee, co-chaired by Edith Parker and Amanda Thein — College of Public Health dean and College of Education senior associate dean, respectively.
“The University of Iowa has always been committed to international education. It sees itself as a global university, and I see myself as a custodian of that tradition,” Ganim said. “I want to respect it, and I want to enhance our reputation as a global university.”