The U. of I. will further expand its global presence by establishing an office in India.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Pradeep Khanna, the associate chancellor for corporate and international relations, made the announcement in July, after the university submitted its application to Indian officials to establish a liaison office.
The office, to be based in New Delhi, India's capital, will open after the application is approved, a process university officials believe will conclude before the end of this year.
"We anticipate that the office will officially open in the spring, but if the approval comes in time we may be able to start some activities during the fall," Khanna said.
Sarah Zehr, who will direct the office from the Urbana campus, said the facility will better manage previously established corporate partnerships, strengthen connections with an existing and growing group of alumni, and formulate more long-term academic collaborations.
She said the office also would make it easier for university officials to foster academic and professional opportunities for students and graduates, noting the number of Indian students attending the U. of I. is eclipsed only by the volume of Chinese and South Korean students studying here.
"We already have a lot of partnerships and relationships in India, so it's already a huge focus for us," she said. "The establishment of an office there will only further increase those efforts."
The office initially will be staffed with a full-time coordinator, eventually expanding to three employees.
It's the second straight year that the U. of I. has added an overseas office, the first effort initiated last year with the establishment of an office in Shanghai, China. The missions of both offices are similar in scope - to increase and enhance the Illinois profile internationally.
"The main goal is to promote higher education," Khanna said. "Both countries are a big source of students for us, and it's important to be fully engaged with them. The offices will help us better serve our stakeholders in these countries."
In contrast to the China office, which opened in April 2013 and is part of the state of Illinois office in Shanghai, the office in India will be autonomous.
Zehr said the office in China already has made several new connections. The initial work has focused on establishing relationships with human resources companies to expand executive training programs, as well as internships and job opportunities for U. of I. students. Work in China also has included improving alumni relations.