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Fairfax to lead Center for Global Education Services


April 22, 2008

Kathleen Fairfax has been named associate vice president for global engagement and director of the Center for Global Education Services in ASU’s Office of the Vice President for Global Engagement. She will assume the role July 1.

Fairfax comes to ASU from Michigan State University, where she administers more than 260 academic programs in 66 countries as director of the Office of Study Abroad. She also serves as a member of the dean’s leadership team within MSU’s Office of International Studies and Programs, developing new strategic initiatives including a visiting international students program and international experiences for first-year students.

“I was attracted to the innovative and forward-thinking leadership at Arizona State, and I am excited to be joining a team that brings together concepts of globalization and the New American University,” Fairfax says. “ASU’s international profile and presence have increased dramatically over the past few years. I believe it’s a place where new ideas and initiatives can flourish.”

Fairfax’s passion for and commitment to international and cross-cultural understanding began with a semester in Bogotá, Colombia, as an undergraduate student. She later returned to Colombia as a translator for a medical service learning program.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she was a tenured foreign service officer with the U.S. Information Agency, serving in Washington, D.C., as a Fulbright program officer for six European countries, and at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City as an assistant cultural attaché and embassy liaison to Mexican private-sector organizations.

Since leaving government service, Fairfax also has been director of study abroad at Purdue University and at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.

“Fairfax brings an impressive track record to Arizona State,” says Anthony “Bud” Rock, ASU’s vice president for global engagement. “She’s known in her field as an innovator and a thoughtful leader – characteristics that will be invaluable as we work to enhance and expand ASU’s global programs and presence.”

Fairfax believes students need more exposure to people, ideas and cultures different from their own to be successful global citizens.

“Universities have an obligation to provide students with educational opportunities and experiences that will allow them to better understand the interconnected world in which they will live and work,” she says. “We need to increase communication with departments and faculty to determine how those international educational opportunities can fit into each student’s curriculum – and, beyond that, how we can work to internationalize the student experience at ASU.”