posted August 29, 2007

Amy Otis Named Director of International Education

Amy Otis of the Hope College staff has been promoted to director of international education at the college.

Otis has been a member of the international education staff at Hope since 1996, serving most recently as associate director.

"Amy is a superb choice for the directorship of Hope's International Education Program," said Alfredo Gonzales, who is associate provost and dean for international and multicultural education at Hope. "As an alumna she is well aware of the academic core of our international programs. As a former coordinator of Study-Abroad programs, she is intimately aware of what study-abroad opportunities best serve the needs of our students. And as the coordinator of international programs from Japan, Mexico and other parts of the world, Amy is precisely the kind of leader Hope needs as we seek to increase Hope's presence in the world."

Otis joined the staff shortly after graduating from the college with a German major, serving initially as office manager and coordinator of special programs. She was promoted to assistant director in 2002 and associate director in 2006. Her activities also included advising the Hope Asian Perspective Association (HAPA), Mortar Board and the International Christian Fellowship (ICF) student groups.

During the 2001-02 academic year, Otis studied at the Torchbearer Bible School in Holysbybrunn, Sweden. In July of this year she completed a Master of Arts degree in conflict transformation and peace studies at the School for International Training.

Otis was born and raised in Germany and moved to the United States when she was in high school. While attending Hope she spent a semester studying in Freiburg, Germany, and participated in a May Term course in Mexico, and she also served as a research assistant in German in the department of modern and classical languages.

International education has been a component of a Hope education since shortly after the college's founding in 1866. Two out of the six students in Hope's graduating Class of 1879 were Japanese; one of the two was the valedictorian, delivering the graduation address in both Latin and Japanese.

The office of international education was formally established in April 1965, announced during a visit to Holland and Hope by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The prince was in Holland for the dedication of WindmillIsland.

During 2006-07, 134 Hope students spent either the academic year or a semester in 27 different countries; in addition, many Hope students also participated in shorter-term study-abroad programs, such as the college's long-running Vienna Summer School held in May and June. Also during the 2006-07 school year, Hope hosted 67 international students from 29 countries.

A recent survey by the Institute of International Education (IIE) ranked Hope first among four-year colleges for the number of students it sent on long-term study-abroad programs, defined as academic-year programs, during 2004-05. The college also placed sixth nationwide on the same measure among colleges and universities of any type.

Titled "Meeting America's Global Education Challenge: Current Trends in U.S. Study Abroad and The Impact of Strategic Diversity Initiatives," the report was released in May. The report emphasizes the importance of study abroad, noting "To succeed and prosper in a global economy and interconnected world, U.S. students need international knowledge, intercultural communication skills, and global perspectives."