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International faculty honored at dinner

The second annual International Teaching Faculty dinner was filled with holas, shaloms and guten tags. Sponsored by the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the event at the Michigan League brought scholars from all over the globe together for an evening of food, drinks and foreign tongues.
Dr. Voravit Ratanatharathorn, professor of internal medicine-hematology/oncology; Dr. Peter Ma, associate professor, biologic & materials sciences; CRLT Director Connie Cook and mathematics Prof. Joseph Conlon talk at a reception before the International Teaching Faculty dinner.

For many of the faculty in attendance, the reception provided their only opportunity to meet other international scholars at the University. Chrisita Ackermann, a South Africa native and assistant research scientist in the College of Pharmacy, found the dinner a chance to mingle with people from her own country.

"I have no other chance to connect with people from South Africa," Ackermann said. "People walk up to you when they hear your mother tongue and you can mix instantly."

Connie Cook, director of CRLT, said the dinner is crucial in establishing a sense of community among international faculty. "Everyone that is here is ecstatic to be hereit gives them a chance to network," Cook said. "U-M has become a global university and these people enrich our environment. This dinner is a way to welcome them and thank them."

CRLT has been an instrumental force in making the University's international faculty feel at home, Cook said. With seminars, roundtables, lectures, individual consultations on teaching topics, and interactive theatre performances, CRLT makes an effort to make everyone feel comfortable. Cook finds that the more at ease the international faculty feel they are, the better teachers they become.

Lester Monts, professor of music and senior vice provost for academic affairs, emphasized the need for dinners like this to strengthen the University's ties to the international community. John Godfrey, assistant dean for international education at the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, concluded the evening with remarks concerning the need for strong international ties, particularly amid the threat of terrorism and biological weapons.

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