The UNC IRC (comprised of East Carolina University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, UNC Asheville, UNC Greensboro, UNC Pembroke, UNC School of the Arts, UNC Wilmington, and Western Carolina University) works to bring more highly-qualified international students to participating campuses by increasing awareness of the campuses in international markets and to assist campuses in building their capacity to ensure the success of those students.
Having more international students can facilitate the ability of domestic students to work in diverse teams and appreciate cultural differences, helping them to develop “intercultural competence” that is valued by faculty and future employers. Graduating international students that choose to stay in North Carolina start businesses at roughly twice the rate of domestic graduates, and can fill important skills gaps in the state. International students who choose to return to their native country can be valuable ambassadors for the state.
The ten-member UNC IRC builds off of the success of the former UNC Exchange Program (UNC EP), established in 1997 as a way to facilitate the regular exchange of students between UNC institutions and overseas institutions. The Consortium was approved by the Board of Governors in May 2015 when the International Subcommittee of the Committee on Academic Planning and Policy observed that international students bring a variety of benefits to UNC institutions and the state of North Carolina. The Subcommittee recommended a shared service for a consortium of campuses that might expand brand awareness of UNC institutions and bring in more international students.
The UNC IRC program is housed at UNC Greensboro and operates under the direction of a Director who works closely with UNC General Administration and reports administratively to the Associate Provost for International Programs at UNC Greensboro. The Director is assisted on programmatic and policy matters by a consortium Advisory Board which makes recommendations to the University Council on International Programs (UCIP). Policy recommendations endorsed by UCIP are taken under consideration by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. Authority on final policy decisions rests with the President of the University.