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From Crucial Conversations to Global Cybersecurity

Inspiring Leaders for Our Changing World
Center for International Studies


Hard to believe that it has been four decades since a well-traveled female scholar broke out of the existing gender silos with a first-of-its-kind program to bring the world to University of St. Thomas and bring UST to the world. The Center for International Studies (CIS) will always be grateful to its founding director, the late Dr. Ann Tiller, and her pioneering vision, as well as to Professor William J. Cunningham. He developed the program following Tiller’s untimely passing.

On October 2, CIS will celebrate 40 years of transformational change with an anniversary gala and exciting announcements from the event’s stunning TwentyFour25 venue.

In the meantime, the Center’s outstanding work continues to live up to its rallying cry: inspiring leaders for our changing world.

For CIS Director Rick Sindelar, a former diplomat with the Foreign Service, the slogan speaks to the quality education, experience and inspiration provided to students, whether they are preparing to become future government diplomats or getting ready for another field or community where they become citizen diplomats.

“Encounter and dialogue are central to what CIS does, and I cannot conceive a time in our world’s history when the skills we offer were more critical. I could not be prouder of the work we do and the fact that it is embedded in the mission of the University,” Sindelar said.

The Center’s academic offerings are growing. Most recently came the newly minted Global Cybersecurity degree, adding to existing majors, including International Studies, International Development, Spanish, and BBA in International Business in partnership with the Cameron School of Business.

Overseeing CIS academic programs is Dr. Yao-Yuan Yeh, who chairs the Department of International Studies & Modern Languages. “The Bachelor of Arts in Cybersecurity will address the important roles of human agency and technology in society by providing students with the tools to understand and employ technology on both a theoretical and operational level,” he said. “The program that we envision, while establishing the learning environment that promotes technical mastery, will also address the challenge of incorporating a moral and ethical framework that informs this pursuit of mastery.”

As past director for CIS from 2011-2020 and Dean of the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences & Global Studies, Dr. Hans Stockton has witnessed an evolution.

“To me, we keep finding new ways to support students in their transformations,” Stockton said. “I’ve seen CIS students successfully exit the program prepared to interact with diverse populations and facilitate compromise. They exhibit new confidence as they learn the skills the world needs to get along as a human family.”

The CIS legacy is 40 years of leading the way to promote the dignity of the human person. There’s going to be a lot to celebrate at that gala in the fall.

About the Author — Jamie Roark

AvatarJamie Roark is an experienced, Houston-based content creator & communications skills coach. Through her company, Simply Communicate USA, she especially enjoys helping Higher Education and healthcare organizations to tell stories that inform and influence.

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