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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is in the midst of an ambitious program to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

“Ready for the World: The International and Intercultural Awareness Initiative” is part of a long-range plan to transform the campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.

Ready for the World will prepare our students, faculty and staff for success in an ever-changing global society. The world is changing every day in its complexity. This effort is not just a lofty academic goal; it is an absolute necessity to provide our students the education and experiences they need to thrive.

Ready for the World calls for expanding the curricula, increasing global competency of faculty and staff and focusing on the intercultural issues of particular concern to the university. Along with recruiting more international students and faculty, we will increase the number of students who study abroad and change the programming, the opportunities and the overall feel of campus life. In short, we will dramatically alter what it means to be educated at the University of Tennessee.

To date, more than 100 Ready for the World grants totaling more than $400,000 have been awarded for projects and programs that promote intercultural and international awareness.

Through these efforts, undergraduates will gain a worldview that recognizes, understands and celebrates the complexity of cultures and people. They will gain competence in cross-cultural communication, both domestic and international; the capacity to think critically about international and intercultural issues; the understanding that knowledge is global; and a passion for life-long engagement with global learning.

Ready for the World complements UT’s Diversity Action Plan that requires all departments to strengthen recruitment and retention efforts to enhance diversity among all faculty and staff.

Planning for Ready for the World began in 2004 as UT’s Quality Enhancement Plan, which was required for reaccreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The reaccreditation phase ended in the fall of 2005 with UT receiving a highly positive 10-year SACS reaccreditation.

RFTW is under the auspices of the Office of the Provost.

An executive committee and a broadly representative steering committee work in tandem to administer the program.

The executive committee includes Interim Provost John Zomchick, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Robert Hinde, Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate School Dixie Thompson, and Shih-Lung Shaw, who is the Interim Associate Provost and Director of the Center for International Education.The Steering Committee includes representatives drawn from the faculty and administration of the academic colleges, students, the Council on Diversity and Inclusiveness and other campus constituencies.