The expertise and experiences of an award-winning international educator are expected to be of benefit both to Western Carolina University students interested in studying in other countries and to foreign students wanting to study in Cullowhee. Ling Gao LeBeau joined WCU in October as director of the Office of International Programs and Services.
In her new role, LeBeau is working to help expand international experiences and enhance global awareness within the university community. Her responsibilities include leadership of programs and services for international students at WCU as well as study abroad programs and travel courses.
She comes to WCU from the School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University Bloomington, where she served as associate director and administered the Chinese Flagship Center, which is designed to enable students to pursue degrees while also achieving professional proficiency in the Chinese language through classes, activities, overseas study and internships.
LeBeau said that her 12 years of teaching English as a second language/English as a foreign language and her personal experience as an international student and scholar “create a bond with international students and scholars, and help me understand their needs deeply.”
“I confronted academic and social challenges many years ago when I stepped on American soil as an international research scholar and later an international student,” she said. “I deeply appreciated the support and guidance given by my colleagues and classmates through the years. I have learned tremendously through this transformative life journey and cannot wait to share with and foster successful transitioning of international students and scholars to WCU, and serve American faculty and students as they study and research abroad.”
LeBeau said she welcomes the chance to be part of WCU’s internationalization efforts. She was drawn to the university by the institution’s uniqueness as well as the friendliness and warmth of the faculty, staff and students.
“With support from university leaders, faculty, staff and students, I am confident WCU will enhance its global recognition by internationalizing academic programs, sending more students to study and conduct research abroad, facilitating opportunities for faculty to teach and conduct research internationally, developing strategic partnerships with key universities abroad and attracting high-quality students from the global market to WCU,” she said.