A look back with Dr. Ally Mack: 1st International Studies dean
By Bette Pearce
Long before the digital age of iPads and smartphones and social media sites that allow instant access to all corners of the globe, Jackson State University was on the forefront of what is now a commonly termed global economy.
Dr. Ally Mack, chairman of JSU’s political science department in the 1980s, was named the first dean of the Division of International Studies in 1993, which became the Office of International Programs and recently rebranded JSU Global.
“Initially,” Mack says, “students were from
countries like Nigeria and other parts of Africa. Through our efforts, we were able to enhance the enrollment of students in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.”
Now, as then, she holds the same view: “It’s crucial that we build relationships among people around the world. Getting students involved internationally is something that must take place, and I think there is a greater acknowledgement of that today.”
Mack, who retired in 2012, also headed a four-person committee whose effort led to the formal establishment of the International Visitors Center of Jackson at JSU in 1986.
Mack said she is proud of how the international programs at JSU have expanded, from English as a Second Language courses, translation services and learship forums to faculty exchanges and ancillary services for international students.
But she is especially proud of the way the students use their experience to help change the world.
“When some of our students who come here go home, and then move up in the upper echelons of government, they are able to really influence the state of the world from the positions they’ve been able to move into.”
It’s through those personal experiences, she says, that the world will become a better place.
Her ultimate goal, she says, “was always having the world as we know it become a better world, a world where we no longer have an Iraq, or an Afghanistan, but where we can go beyond that and, in humane fashion, address the issues that confront us.” ONEJSU