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Deborah Pierce named to key NAFSA post

October 24, 2011
Deborah Pierce

Deborah Pierce

Deborah Pierce, associate provost for International Programs at NIU, has been elected as an officer of NAFSA, the world’s largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education.

Pierce will begin serving a three-year term, beginning Jan. 1, as the association’s vice president for education and professional development.

The post is charged with overseeing all of NAFSA’s professional development activities, including the annual conference for some 8,000 participants, the organization’s electronic and paper publications and the five knowledge communities of international educators who generate these activities and materials.

The vice president is also a member of the executive committee of the NAFSA board of directors. In that role, Pierce will help provide the association’s strategic direction.

“I was interested in accepting this leadership role because NAFSA is the premier source for knowledge, information and training for all of us who work in the United States and around the globe to bring comprehensive internationalization to our institutions and to our students,” Pierce said.

“One of my goals will be to strengthen the materials and education available to our members regarding assessment,” Pierce added. “We are all facing increased demands for greater accountability, and NAFSA plays a pivotal role in helping us meet those demands.”

Logo of NAFSA: Association of International EducatorsNAFSA and its nearly 10,000 members believe that international education and exchange—connecting students, scholars, educators, and citizens across borders—is fundamental to:

  • establishing mutual understanding among nations,
  • preparing the next generation with vital cross-cultural and global skills, and
  • creating the conditions for a more peaceful world.

“I’ll be working with outstanding colleagues who make up the association’s leadership and staff,” Pierce said. “Those partnerships are another reason I’m very happy to serve NAFSA and the goal of global education.

“By supporting NAFSA in this new role, I will be supporting Global NIU as well,” she added.

Pierce has led the Division of International Programs at NIU since 2002. Prior to that, she served as assistant professor of linguistics and director of international affairs at Loyola University Chicago.

Pierce earned her Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Michigan and has worked in international education for more than 20 years. Her primary professional interests are comprehensive internationalization, conflict transformation, leadership training and Southeast Asian studies.

She chaired NAFSA’s 2010 Annual Conference Committee and has also served on the national boards of the Association of International Education Administrators and Phi Beta Delta Honor Society.