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Northwestern University Global Opportunities (NUGO) Website Profiles Over 250 NU Programs Around the World

3/31/2010

NUGO logoThe Buffett Center proudly announces the launch of the Northwestern University Global Opportunities (NUGO) website: global.northwestern.edu. The NUGO site highlights Northwestern’s strong presence throughout the world, global influences at the University’s Evanston and Chicago campuses, and the diverse international teaching and research interests of its faculty and administrators. NUGO is the culmination of almost two years’ effort to produce a comprehensive resource outlining Northwestern University’s ongoing international educational and research programs, and providing profiles of faculty and administrators’ international interests and efforts.

The result is a multi-faceted website that provides users with instant access to information on 263 international programs offered by Northwestern. All NUGO content is accessible to all members of the Northwestern community and the larger public.

NUGO Map
NUGO Maps Over 250 Northwestern Programs Around the World.

In the words of Buffett Center Director Hendrik Spruyt, “NUGO will demonstrate to the academic community and beyond that Northwestern has truly become a global university. It will be of great help to faculty and administrators in running these various programs and in devising the strategic plan for the next decade.”

The NUGO website shows the scope of Northwestern’s global presence and opportunities, revealing information previously difficult to ascertain. A casual perusal of the website shows, for instance, that there are 158 programs for undergraduate students; 37 programs in Africa and 59 in Asia; 24 related to Global Health; 13 focusing on International Development; 42 with an internship or pre-professional component; and 27 in Spanish.

Various features are designed to serve different users, and individuals can browse or search for the programs relevant to them.

For example, a student or faculty member interested in France can see, at a glance, that of the programs available in that country, 13 are study abroad programs, 12 are visiting scholar programs, 6 are programs with an internship or pre-professional component, 4 are joint degrees, one is a short-term study tour and one a fellowship specifically designed for work in France. Brief yet comprehensive descriptions of every program help the user to narrow down the overwhelming number of opportunities.

Alternately, a user searching for fellowships and grants provided by Northwestern having an international component will find 34 offerings, including 24 options for undergraduates, 14 for graduate students, 7 for faculty, and 2 available to post-docs.

Users can search for specific programs of interest, or utilize the website’s filtering tools to better understand the comprehensive nature of Northwestern’s global profile. Users can sort information by location, language, program type, Northwestern sponsor, participants, affiliated organizations (such as international universities, NGOs, and private foundations), or any combination of these categories. In doing so, users can learn about opportunities available to them, or gain a better understanding of Northwestern’s strengths or areas where there are gaps in our current offerings.

NUGO Chart
Continually updating charts provide the “big picture” of Northwestern’s global programming. This chart shows programs by type; additional charts show programs by school, language, and year of creation.


The People Search feature profiles over 200 Northwestern faculty and administrators with international interests. The NUGO website captures searchable information regarding individuals’ affiliations at Northwestern (such as departments, centers, and institutes), languages of proficiency, countries and regions of interest, and keywords describing thematic interests (such as migration, energy, fertility, linguistics, or nuclear proliferation). This will enable faculty to discover new possibilities for research and teaching collaborations, administrators to identify emerging scholarly trends, and current and prospective students to learn strong areas of expertise at the University.

In the words of Provost Dan Linzer, “It is great to see this new resource become available for students and faculty so that they can quickly navigate through the many global opportunities that Northwestern provides for study and collaboration.”

Origins of the Project

International programming at Northwestern is diverse and has grown exponentially in recent years. There are manifold international learning experiences available for Northwestern students and faculty, including study abroad, short-term study tours, joint degrees, the branch campus in Qatar, fellowships and awards, student group programs, internships and pre-professional programs, executive and professional education programs, and visiting scholar programs, both to and from Northwestern.

These programs are built on affiliations with prestigious international universities, innovative non-governmental organizations throughout the world, experienced third-party program providers meeting specific needs of the University, and creative and industrious faculty members and administrators who have established programming that gives Northwestern community members the ability to have teaching, research, and learning experiences abroad, or brings international students and scholars to Northwestern to add to the diversity of thought on our home campuses.

Likewise, the international teaching and research interests of Northwestern faculty and administrators are far reaching, extending beyond traditional disciplinary lines into exciting new areas of inquiry and collaboration. Many interdisciplinary research centers and working groups already capitalize on these intersecting interests, but other opportunities are waiting to be realized and tapped into.

Recognizing this, the Provost appointed a committee of faculty members and administrators in 2002 to address the issue of Northwestern’s global profile. A key recommendation of this committee was to create a central portal to provide information about all international programs at Northwestern University and to facilitate better communication and cooperation.

Building NUGO

With support from the Office of the Provost and Provost Daniel Linzer, a team came together to fulfill this recommendation. Because no peer university has implemented such a comprehensive and continually evolving resource for international programming, the project team had to start from scratch—identifying target users, determining the essential information to be collected, and creating a website model that would make the wealth of data conveniently available to many kinds of users.

In 2008 Meghan Beltmann joined the Buffett Center as program coordinator, tasked with gathering information and creating a website to inventory Northwestern’s international programs. Beltmann worked with Buffett Center Assistant Director Krzysztof Kozubski to create the concept for the website and give shape to the idea, in concert with Buffett Center Director Hendrik Spruyt and Associate Director Brian Hanson. Beltmann’s background in international education and study abroad combined with Kozubski’s experience with database and website design made it possible for them to determine how best to pursue the project.

In order to begin collecting information about international programming at Northwestern, Beltmann first made a thorough survey of the web pages of each school, center, program, and institute in order to find existing international programs. She then met with almost 100 faculty members, administrators, and staff representing each of the schools at Northwestern, as well as additional centers and offices, such as the Study Abroad Office, the Office of International Program Development, the Buffett Center, the Office of the Provost, and Northwestern University in Qatar. Beltmann also met with users who would benefit from having access to a centralized point of information regarding international programs, including representatives from Risk Management, the University Library, Career Services, the International Office, Accounting Services, the Office for Fellowships, and Alumni Relations and Development. These meetings, which took place throughout 2009, made it possible to learn from members of the Northwestern community what features would be useful for them, and many of their ideas were incorporated into the final design of the website.

In addition to collecting information about international programming at Northwestern, Beltmann compiled profiles for over 200 faculty members and administrators to be included on the NUGO site. These were sent to the individuals, who then had the opportunity to make changes and additions in order to ensure that the profiles adequately described their involvement at the University, and their international teaching and research interests.

To develop the final website, Beltmann and Kozubski worked with Harlan Wallach, Chris Wallace, Jon Fernandez, and Dave Look of Northwestern University Advanced Media Production Studio (NUAMPS). NUAMPS, known by many for its work in developing the Northwestern iPhone App, is a division of NUIT’s Academic and Research Technologies. Beltmann and Kozubski chose NUAMPS over several award-winning web developers from outside the University, for its solution-oriented style and its pairing of innovative technologies with professional design. Harlan Wallach, Digital Media Architect Lead, relished what he called “a real intellectual challenge associated with information design in organizing a broad set of individual program components, and then making it available in an accessible and understandable fashion.”

Looking Ahead

There are many immediate practical applications for the NUGO website. At the institutional level, it enables senior administrators who are making strategic decisions to visualize the overall map of Northwestern’s international activities into which new programs will fit and to identify gaps and opportunities in Northwestern’s offerings. At the individual level it provides a central information portal for students, staff, and faculty members wanting to take part in existing international programming. It aids in the identification of possibilities for beneficial synergy and coordination by highlighting people on campus with experience, advice, and resources helpful to those creating new international programs. It enhances efforts to present a comprehensive picture of Northwestern’s international profile for those outside of the University community, raising the visibility of the many excellent programs at Northwestern.

NUGO has already launched, but it will continue to evolve according to the needs of the Northwestern community. Beltmann will continue updating the website to reflect additions and changes to the international offerings at Northwestern. New programs and faculty and administrator profiles can be added to the site at anytime.

In the future, the NUGO website will offer informational resources for undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty interested in building new international initiatives at Northwestern. That portion of the website is expected to launch in the fall of 2010.

Meghan Beltmann We hope you will visit global.northwestern.edu to experience the Northwestern University Global Opportunities (NUGO) website and explore its many features. If you would like to add your Northwestern faculty or administrator profile, or if you know of an ongoing international program at Northwestern that is not currently on the NUGO site, contact NUGO Administrator Meghan Beltmann at global@northwestern.edu.
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