International faculty and family group to meet Feb. 28

Hand holding briefcase

A new faculty organization, the International Faculty Family Group, will hold its first meeting 12 to 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, in the Assembly Room on the fourth floor of the John Peace Library.

The intent of the group, says second-year faculty member Matthias Hofferberth (Political Science and Geography), is to offer support to international faculty and their spouses. Many spouses of international faculty in the U.S. are here on dependent visas, which do not permit the visa holders to work; his own wife left her career when they moved to San Antonio from Germany last year. It was her idea to host a group which is specifically intended to offer a forum for exchange for spouses and significant others.

Because of that, Hofferberth and his wife anticipate that organizing social activities will be a key focus for the group.

“It’s more fun to explore the local culture and the city together — go to the stock show, go to a Spurs game, go to a museum.”

The number of international faculty at UTSA is increasing as part of efforts to promote globalization in support of the UTSA 2016 strategic plan and Tier One initiative, says Julius Gribou, senior international officers. Of the 64 tenured/tenure-track faculty who joined UTSA in 2013, 14 hold citizenship in another country. The cohort includes faculty from Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Nepal, Russia, South Africa and Taiwan. Several others were born outside the U.S. but now hold U.S. citizenship.

Hofferberth believes the establishment of a group to support international faculty and their spouses could aid UTSA in recruiting more faculty from abroad and helping those who are here already.

“The more international the university becomes, the more important it is to provide this type of support,” said Hofferberth.

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February 24, 2014