State Department awards UM’s Mansfield Center $1.7M grant for scholar exchange

The University of Montana’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center has been awarded a $1.75 million grant from the U.S. State Department to lead a series of institutes dedicated to enhancing a global understanding of the U.S, including workforce development in Montana.

The funding allows UM to design and oversee four, six-week programs dubbed Study of the U.S. Institutes, or SUSI. The institutes promote a better understanding of the people, institutions and culture of the U.S. among global scholars.

As part of the grant, UM, Arizona State University, the University of Delaware and New York University will host individual institutes on 21st-century workforce needs, media, U.S. foreign policy and American culture and values, respectively.

The institutes each host groups of 18 international university faculty and professionals, enabling them to acquire a deeper understanding of the U.S.

“This grant highlights our capacity to compete not only on the merits of our Montana programming, but also on our proven nationwide and global capacity,” said Deena Mansour, the interim executive director of the Mansfield Center.

UM currently is hosting an institute titled, “Preparing for the 21st-Century Economy and Industries of the Future” through Aug. 13. Led by Theresa Floyd, assistant professor in UM’s College of Business, the institute explores how students and workers develop access to affordable, relevant and innovative education and job training that will equip them to compete in the global economy.

The institute also includes representation from Missoula College, Flathead Valley Community College, Helena College and Salish Kootenai College, as well as the private sector.

The grant will renew for an additional two years based on performance and funding availability, for a three-year total of $5.2 million.