BY CAROLINE STREETT
Gull Life Editor
In her 18-year tenure at Salisbury University, former President Dr. Dudley-Eshbach left a legacy of contributions to the school, with a number of them centering around her passion for international education.
It was because of this passion that the senior leadership of the university chose to rename the Center for International Education in Dudley-Eshbach’s honor.
Her time spent at the university consisted of many initiatives to grow and improve the programs offered for both international students who wish to come to SU, and SU students who aim to study abroad.
The Center for International Education was created in 2007, and today, nearly 12 years later, the Center for International Education is divided into three offices: the Office of Study Abroad, the International Student and Scholar Services Office and the English Language Institute.
The former president showed passion toward the possibility of world travel and she made it one of her goals to make it a possibility for more students at SU.
“Creating a campus community in which SU students would travel and study all over the world was a central mission of my presidency, as was increasing the number of international students in our classrooms and providing more opportunities for the global engagement of our faculty,” Dudley-Eshbach said. “Global perspectives and internationalization have enhanced not only the worldview of SU students, but also have helped promote the reputation of SU well beyond our immediate geographic region.”
Assistant Provost for International Education Dr. Brian Stiegler is currently in Anquing in the province of Anhui in China pursuing a project first initiated by Dudley-Eshbach, of sustaining relationships with the partners of the university in other countries.
Stiegler believes Dudley-Eshbach’s worldly knowledge aided in her growing the department of international education at SU.
“One of the features of Dr. Janet’s presidency was that as a professor of Spanish herself, with her doctoral degree from El Colegio de México that she earned studying in Spanish, she saw the world globally, she saw the university globally and so her strategic investments in international education over the 18 years of her presidency were substantive,” Steigler said.
In Dudley-Eshbach’s time at the university, there were many positive changes made, including a greater focus on international recruitment. This semester, more than 170 students joined the SU community from about 30 different countries.
Another notable contribution Dudley-Eshbach made to the university was the English Language Institute established in 2010.
“It has served over a thousand students and 125 different students have completed the English Language Institute and moved on to independent study in the undergraduate program at Salisbury,” Stiegler said. “It’s the single greatest source for international students on our campus.”
Dudley-Eshbach is also responsible for creating the “Dudley-Eshbach Study Abroad Scholarship,” a $1,000 scholarship given to support a student who wants to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country in Latin America.
Dudley-Eshbach’s contributions to the Center for International Education reached beyond the students and faculty in the department of international studies, for Dr. John Wesley Wright of the music department at SU explained that Dudley-Eshbach’s efforts helped to unify the school.
“I think that that’s one of her gifts, doing everything that she could to connect the dots, or to inspire people to connect the dots. She helped the school to connect the dots of innovation and diversity,” Wright said.
Wright emphasized that Dudley-Eshbach had a commitment to “really raise the level in each department and see the elevation of expertise.” He revealed the main ways in which her contributions reached the music department was through various guest artists and residents which she had supported having, including guest artists from China and Germany.
When Dudley-Eshbach announced that she was going to depart, the senior leadership of the university, with the consideration of current President Dr. Charles Wight, was looking for a way to memorialize her efforts over the length of her presidency, which Stiegler said was “a substantive and transformative time for our university.”
Because of her commitment to internationalization, the senior leadership of the university headed by Wight decided to name the Center for International Education in Dudley-Eshbach’s honor.
“Dr. Dudley-Eshbach did so much for the school as a whole,” Wight said. “She conducted research around the world, but especially in South and Central America, and she worked to at least triple if not quadruple the number of students and scholars that we bring to Salisbury University from all around the world.”
“She took a very specific interest in the international education, both coming to Salisbury and going out of Salisbury University. And for those many, many things that she did, we decided to honor her by renaming the center,” Wight said.
The center is currently involved in new partnerships in China, as well as a major new initiative in Colombia that will strengthen the teaching English to speakers of other languages program as well as the conflict analysis and dispute resolution program.
Stiegler has high hopes for the future of international studies at SU and gives the credit of its success to Dudley-Eshbach’s investments in the program.
“Places like the Janet Dudley-Eshbach Center for International Education, what they do for students — both American students who are interested in getting to know the world outside of their boundaries and for foreign students and faculty who share the same impetus — is the support that allows people to move across borders and opens people’s eyes to the rest of the world,” Stiegler said.
“The center really helps make the world a more peaceful place by breaking boundaries and opening up people’s hearts and minds to one another.”
Featured photo by Salisbury University’s Office of Public Relations