Created two decades ago as an umbrella for the area studies centers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the International Institute is undergoing a reorganization and, as of July 1, will take a new name, the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS).
In addition to the name change, the institute and its member centers are making an administrative move. Since the mid-1990s the institute has been administered jointly by the College of Letters and Science and the Division of International Studies, but now the institute and all of its constituent centers will shift administratively into the division.
The division itself has been undergoing restructuring and, as of July 1, will be called The International Division.
These changes are the culmination of more than three years of deliberations and recommendations from two campus-wide faculty/staff committees, charged with evaluating administrative processes and recommending new efficiencies in the division and the institute. Of immeasurable help in this process was a $750,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to the College of Letters and Science to develop and fund new approaches in area and international studies.
“The institute’s new name better reflects its role and organization, as well as clearing up long-standing confusion between the institute and the division,” says Guido Podesta, vice provost and dean of International Studies. The division administers study abroad and internship programs for students, and helps facilitate exchanges and other international agreements, while the institute and its constituent centers mainly foster interdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach on regions of the world.