Foreign Ties Build
Worldwide Recognition

Since its founding, NC State University has been charged with focusing its education, research, and extension capabilities on fulfilling its land-grant mission to benefit North Carolina residents. But today, the University is a leader in a shifting technological and economic landscape through adoption of a more global approach to accomplish that mission.

NC State is scouring foreign lands for top students, faculty, and research opportunities while providing more overseas experiences for its American students. In the fall of 2007, a record 2,200 of its graduate and undergraduate students came from other countries—almost 7 percent of enrollment—as did about 10 percent of its faculty. More and more of NC State's students studied abroad last year while programs like the Confucius Institute, the Prague Institute, and the North Carolina Japan Center promote intercultural understanding on campus. “We must educate students so they can thrive in a global innovation economy,” Vice Provost for International Affairs Bailian Li says. “Our land-grant mission now includes the state, the nation, and the world.”

Faculty members have forged hundreds of partnerships with foreign universities for both research and teaching. While some agreements team individual professors at NC State and abroad, others have grown into strategic linkages involving multiple departments and faculty. Such extensive arrangements are in place from England to China to Chile—plans for an NC State campus in South Korea were recently announced—and University officials are traveling the globe to study possible partnerships in other parts of the world. Chancellor James Oblinger, Provost Larry Nielsen, and Vice Chancellor John Gilligan have led delegations of NC State deans and faculty to China, South Korea, and India, respectively, during the past year.

Working closely with universities abroad makes NC State more appealing to research sponsors—more than half of the industry funding in recent years has come from international companies—while also creating a name brand worldwide. “We are establishing a global reputation as a leading research and academic institution,” Li says. “That helps in our recruitment as well as our research efforts.”

“We are establishing a global reputation as a leading research and academic institution.”

International education and research provide economic benefits to North Carolina through increased foreign investment and better-trained graduates entering the workforce. Economic developers frequently promote the international collaboration on NC State’s Centennial Campus as a way of attracting foreign companies to the state. Thirteen international companies have located operations on the campus. The University also has enhanced its core programs with undergraduate global proficiency certificates and several dual graduate degree programs, all of which provide students with foreign language and cultural experiences valued by multinational employers.

This issue of RESULTS looks at some of NC State’s most interesting international research collaborations.


Vice Provost for International Affairs Bailian Li and other NC State faculty are traveling across the globe in search of strategic research and education partnerships with foreign universities.