The Foreign Service Journal, February 2010

our years ago, when I first addressed this topic for the FSJ , I noted that globalization and inter- nationalization had become very trendy terms around U.S. colleges and universities, which have realized the neces- sity of preparing their graduates to be globally competent and globally competitive. If anything, this trend has ac- celerated since then. Even fields that showed little inter- est in anything international when I joined academia in 2003, such as engineering and architecture, are now mak- ing an “international experience” a priority for their stu- dents. (The College of Architecture at Texas Tech University, where I am vice provost for international af- fairs, now requires every student to participate in an in- ternational program.) At the same time, as many of our institutions seek to in- crease enrollments — especially for master’s and doctoral studies — they have come to recognize that countries be- yond our borders offer a virtually unlimited supply of qual- ified, well-off students. Foreign students and scholars also facilitate the “internationalization process” by bringing their cultural, language and technical skills to campus, often providing the bulk of enrollment in some specialized fields of study. Opportunities at American educational in- stitutions continue to increase for professionals with inter- national experience and expertise, and Foreign Service employees in transition are ideally suited for a number of these positions. Before leaving State after a 32-year U.S. government career, I did a year as a Diplomat-in-Residence at the Uni- versity of Oklahoma in Norman, partly to gauge how well my Foreign Service experience would meld with acade- mia. I was very fortunate to have two already-retired men- tors: former Director General Ed Perkins and former Ambassador Ed Corr. They were wonderful guides to the mysteries of the higher educational enterprise, and pro- vided the type of practical advice we need for all new as- signments. As they both told me, “Once you learn the language and culture, a campus is a great posting.” I took their advice to heart, and greatly enjoyed my DIR year — even teaching a course for the very first time. (Reading the honest evaluations of students was much more satisfy- ing and inspiring than the inflated verbiage of EERs!) That experience influenced my decision to retire from State in 2003 to pursue a second career in academia. Now in my sixth year of managing international programs at F O C U S O N L I F E & W O R K A F T E R T H E F S U.S. C OLLEGES O FFER P LUM P OST -S ERVICE P OSTINGS 26 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 0 F OR PROFESSIONALS WITH INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE , OPPORTUNITIES AT A MERICAN SCHOOLS ARE GROWING . B Y T IBOR P. N AGY J R . Tibor P. Nagy Jr. was a Foreign Service officer from 1979 to 2003, serving as ambassador to Guinea and Ethiopia, among many other postings. Since retiring from the Serv- ice, he became vice provost for international affairs at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. He also lectures widely on Africa and global issues. F