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      Office of Global Engagement

      Associate Provost and Dean of Students Denise Gifford to Oversee Office of Global Engagement

      Denise Gifford

      Associate Provost and Dean of Students

      Associate Provost and Dean of Students Denise Gifford has been appointed to oversee the Office of Global Engagement. Gifford who started her tenure at Widener University in 2010, has a long history of involvement in international living and education, including a year of service work in the Netherlands and as dean of students for five years at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates.

      In her time at Widener, she has been a leading advocate for global engagement opportunities for students and faculty and has helped lead, in partnership with faculty members, student trips to international locations such as Italy, Belize, Thailand and Costa Rica. At Zayed University in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Gifford played a key role in designing a unique, student-centered leadership education model. She was responsible for all student trips and study abroad and for university agreements and relationships with other universities worldwide. She has also had international consulting experience in the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Belize, Romania, Barbados and Canada and returns to the United Arab Emirates annually for assistance to area universities.

      Just this year Gifford traveled to Amsterdam with a group of students to attend the International Honours Conference at Windesheim University, as well as to Chongqing Technology and Business University, a partner university in China. She typically travels with students abroad at least once a year.

      “I am passionate about the importance of global learning and the acquisition of cultural competence skills in our students,” Gifford said. “I have seen collaborative efforts fail due to cultural insensitivity despite the best intentions of the professionals involved. I want to prepare students to function as highly skilled and globally competent professionals, which is an important objective of the Office of Global Engagement and substantive aspect of our new strategic plan. I want to support faculty and administrators in planning and managing student experiences abroad.”

      In this new role, Gifford will establish an advisory group of faculty and academic administrators to assist her with developing priorities and initiatives for the Office of Global Engagement that focus on integration of global experiences with academic programming. The goal of the advisory group will be to provide a forum for faculty and academic leaders to share ideas and suggestions for new and enriched global learning opportunities, working toward the goal of having every Widener student experience transformative cultural experiences.

      Under Gifford’s leadership, the Office of Global Engagement will also be adding an associate director position to handle the increasing volume of global engagement activities. 


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