Ling Gao LeBeau, an award-winning educator experienced with leading programs that support study abroad and international scholarship, joined Western Carolina University as director of the Office of International Programs and Services on Oct. 15.
At WCU, LeBeau will work to help expand international experiences and enhance global awareness within the university community. Her responsibilities will include leadership of programs and services for international students at WCU as well as study abroad programs and travel courses.
Lowell Davis, assistant vice chancellor for student success and chair of the committee that led a nationwide search to fill the position, said he is confident LeBeau is the right person for the job.
“Ling’s experience as an international educator and knowledge of governmental regulations as they relate to international students is phenomenal,” said Davis.
LeBeau’s foreign language skills include Chinese and Japanese, and she administered the Chinese Flagship Center in her previous role as associate director for the School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. The center is designed to enable students to pursue degrees while also achieving professional proficiency in the Chinese language through classes, activities, overseas study and internships.
At IUB, LeBeau led the development and management of activities related to program promotion, student recruitment, study abroad advising, orientation, overseas direct enrollment and international internships, and also worked with grant writing, budget planning, program evaluation and performance reporting.
Her experience also includes service as an international scholar adviser and senior credentials analyst in the Office of International Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and teacher of English as a foreign language at Guizhou University in China. Her work developing international programs has ranged from assisting with crafting exchange and partnership agreements with institutions abroad to designing an “International Spouse Program” that serves students’ and scholars’ families. She also has been part of programming and counseling to international scholars and students about life and culture in the U.S., work and study experiences.
“My 12 years of teaching experiences of English as a Second Language/English as a Foreign Language in a university setting and my own experience as an international student and scholar create a bond with international students and scholars, and help me understand their needs deeply,” said LeBeau.
“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.”
She is completing her doctorate in higher education from IUB, and holds a master’s degree in language education from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in foreign language and literature from Southwest China Normal University. LeBeau also has earned certificates in applied linguistics and in teaching English as a second language.
Her research interests include student global learning, curriculum internationalization and international mobility, and her dissertation is focused on campus internationalization assessment. Her published work has explored topics including teaching the Chinese language in the United States, international mobility of U.S. faculty, computer-assisted foreign language instruction and cross-cultural communication. This year, she presented “The Role of Critical Language Teaching and Learning in Creating Global Professionals” at the annual conference of the Association of International Education Administrators in Washington, D.C.
In addition, she has won awards for teaching and research, as well as the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Fellowship at Indiana University.
Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar said she is delighted LeBeau has joined the WCU community.
“Ling brings a wealth of experience and connections to WCU that will foster and strengthen our international opportunities for students, staff and faculty,” said Morrison-Shetlar.
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.”