By TEONEI SALWA
Organizing cultural events and visits to foreign countries could soon become easier with a David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies project.
The Kennedy Center is conducting an International Activities Survey for all faculty and staff, the first campus-wide survey done over the Internet, as far as planners know, said Cory Leonard, assistant director of student programs at the Kennedy Center and a graduate student in public communications.
The survey, accessible through the Kennedy Center homepage (http://www.byu.edu/kennedy), takes about half an hour to complete, Leonard said.
“It’s pretty long,” he said. “We’re trying to make it better.”
The survey takes time to fill out so it can be more comprehensive. Once staff and faculty members submit the information to the Kennedy Center, it goes into a database to help people who need international contacts and expertise, Leonard said.
“We’re trying to find out what kind of experience we have on campus,” Leonard said.
Lanier Britsch, director of the Kennedy Center and on the performing arts advisory council, said the council is always looking for people to help the performers by talking to them about foreign countries or even traveling with them.
“Another reason for the survey is the discussion in the administration about possible expansion of BYU’s ability to serve The Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) through satellite campuses,” Britsch said.
The survey and database are also an attempt to reduce redundancy among departments and to serve as a resource for them, Leonard said.
For example, someone might be doing research in a country where the LDS Church or BYU already has contacts or even work on the same topic. By checking the Kennedy Center’s database, researchers could prevent reinventing the wheel, Leonard said.
“The Kennedy Center has a unique mission to coordinate international activities on campus,” Leonard said.
It is not feasible though, he said, to deal with all international issues on campus. The Marriott School of Management, for example, does a lot of work with international businesses, so there is no need to try to duplicate those efforts, Leonard said.
So far, approximately 400 surveys have been returned to the Kennedy Center, Leonard said. Some of these responses come over the Internet and others are turned in as hard copies and later entered into the computers.
The survey began in the beginning of May, and the large number of faculty and staff not on campus during the summer helps account for the small number of surveys returned, Leonard and Britsch agreed.
The deadline for returning completed surveys is still under discussion, but Britsch said he thinks it would be best to wait until Fall Semester, so more faculty and staff will be around to participate.
“We are hoping for 100 percent faculty and staff,” Britsch said. “We’ll be disappointed if we fall short of that because there are so many people on this campus who have international experience and talents, and we’re hoping to include them on the database.”
Though nothing is final yet, there has been talk of putting the data from the International Activities Survey onto the Internet, Leonard said.
“That hasn’t been decided yet,” Britsch said, “but we never intended this to be a closed survey.”
The information will be made available to those who need it, Britsch said