Network Innovation Spotlight / August 26, 2021

HBCU-Based CBM Provides Exchange Participants Unique Perspective

By Sreenath Panchagnula, Graduate Assistant, International Visitors Center of Jackson

The International Visitors Center of Jackson (IVCJ) was initially founded in the late 1980s by Ally Mack, Ph.D., retired Dean of International Programs at Jackson State University (JSU), to further internationalize Mississippi. A public urban research university, JSU is proud to have the only university-based Community-Based Member (CBM) located at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU).  

As the only CBM at an HBCU, we pride ourselves on showcasing our staff, faculty, and students’ work to our numerous visitors from around the world. We have been fortunate enough to enjoy great support from the administration.  

Our previous university president hosted a home hospitality for a visiting group of multiregional Women Leaders, and our current administration met with a group of Honduran educators visiting to learn about U.S. Higher Education and Opportunities for Future Partnerships. In both circumstances, our administrators were able to accommodate meeting with International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) participants through careful planning. In addition, we have also given our students and scholars an opportunity to network with IVLP participants through classroom presentations and luncheons—an engaging experience for both our scholars and the IVLP participants.  

JSU faculty and staff host IVLP participants for a home hospitality dinner. Photo provided by Sreenath Panchagnula.

As a university-based CBM, we are just able to create and maintain strong ties with our many community interlocutors, who look towards JSU as a positive driving force for the community. Many of our speakers are excited and humbled to share their knowledge with our IVLP participants, sometimes going out of their way to arrange for firsthand experiences like participating in volunteer activities or allowing our IVLP participants to access spaces usually restricted to the public. Overall, as a university-based CBM, we take great pride in the experiences we deliver to our domestic and international constituents. 

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