Memorial University is reorganizing the International Centre with an aim to boost its capacity and better organize the university’s international activities. Sonja Knutson, manager of the International Student Advising Office, has agreed to take on the role of acting director of the International Centre. Ms. Knutson will oversee the university’s ongoing transition of the International Centre from its recent focus on international development projects to a broader focus on Memorial University’s international collaborations. Ms. Knutson will retain her current responsibilities on a part-time basis, splitting her time roughly equally between the International Student Advising office and the International Centre.
“We are certain that a newly revitalized and slightly re-organized International Centre will play a key role in centralizing information and resources related to Memorial’s international links,” said Dr. Reeta Tremblay, vice-president (academic) pro tempore. “The role of the IC will evolve over time as we see where we are being effective, and as we are able to resource the centre to enable it to achieve the goals we have in mind for it. We know that there is a significant amount of high-quality international work going on at Memorial – MI International, Harlow, and some of the Faculty of Business Administration’s come to mind,” she said.
“Our intent is not to compromise what’s working well now, but to improve the single point-of-contact for those initiatives. Such improvements will help us manage what we are doing and help us plan for where we need to build our capacity and our services. Our new vision for the IC is that it will facilitate our international collaborations, act as a key resource for any unit engaging in international activities such a student exchanges or joint programs, and help to develop institutional policies related to our international work. It’s exciting to see progress being made on this front, and it’ll be exciting to see the centre develop over the next few years.”
Dr. Tremblay said that over the next few months, Ms. Knutson will be working with the Office of the Vice-president (Academic) and with deans and directors to define more clearly the ways IC can best address this new broader mandate. Ms. Knutson will be meeting with units and will be presenting to the deans and directors in the fall.
“I am looking forward to this new challenge,” Ms. Knutson said, “and in finding ways to coordinate and facilitate international collaborations in a way that enhances our ability to offer all our students, regardless of faculty or background, an international education, whether abroad or at home.”
Ms. Knutson has been employed at Memorial University of Newfoundland since 1999. She holds a B.Ed. in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from Concordia University (1999) and an M.Ed. in Post-Secondary Education from Memorial University (2001). She is currently the manager of the International Student Advising Office, a unit within Student Success Programs, Student Affairs and Services. In this role she has overseen the growth and development of services and programs for Memorial’s international student population, which has quadrupled in size over the past decade.
She has also worked at Memorial as an instructor in the ESL Program, the English department and the Faculty of Education, and serves as president of the provincial association of the Teachers of English as a Second Language, TESL NL. Ms. Knutson is a frequent presenter at international education conferences
across the country, and is an instructor with the International Education Training Program, where she teaches annually at Queen’s University and at off-site locations. She can be reached at 737-7991 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org