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  Continuum Magazine

Up front

Global Crossing

by Jason Matthew Smith, editor

First, you’ve probably noticed something.

This issue of Continuum looks a little different because it kicks off a new era for the magazine—as it enters its 16th year and we inaugurate a new design, thanks to the U’s graphics department, including Dave Titensor, Scott Greer, and a host of other skilled designers both on and off campus.

Second, we’d like to thank the previous design team of Randy Royter and his talented stable of designers, photographers, and illustrators who, for the past 13 years, made sure that the magazine’s visual elements were engaging and appealing.
Third, as you thumb through the pages of this issue you’ll note that the over-arching theme is one of internationalization.

President Michael Young, himself a noted scholar on international issues, has been leading the charge to increase the U’s international offerings. Young served as Fuyo Professor of Japanese Law and Legal Institutions and was director of the Center for Japanese Legal Studies at Columbia University, as well as member and chair (twice) of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He got the global ball rolling by establishing the Presidential Task Force on Internationalization—and graciously penned the “And Finally” column starting on page 47. The task force’s four-pronged approach includes transnational research, study abroad, internships, and incentives to help faculty and students look beyond their own backyard.

To that end, the U of U’s international programs go well beyond foreign language instruction. The University compels students to rub shoulders with someone much different from themselves, not merely to rattle off a few phrases from a Frommer’s guide. There’s no better way to understand a culture than to live it, or learn directly through the experiences of those who have.

The lives of the individuals featured in this issue have been profoundly affected by logging time north of Montana, east of Maine, west of Oregon, and south of Texas. From overseas faculty (“The Human Connection,” page 18) to study abroad students (“Dive Right In,” page 14), the U is awash in multiple perspectives, cultures, and languages.

Walking across campus, you can hear snippets of Korean, Russian, Chinese, and at least a dozen other languages. But no matter what tongue is spoken, the linguistic symphony is made up of the voices of students and teachers all sharing horizon-broadening experiences, regardless of pedigree. Alumnus Jeffrey Herr’s piece (“Czech List,” page 40), for example, demonstrates that an American teacher can recharge and reconnect overseas, once he finds that the kids in the “foreign” classroom are just like those back home. And whether dealing with the past (“The Papyrus Code,” page 30), or crafting a new future (“Utah’s Belgrade B-baller,” page 10), the people, places, and programs here at the U cover the international spectrum, creating an institution that might easily be dubbed “The U.N. of the Intermountain West.”

Finally, apologies to all of the departments and colleges we just couldn’t cover in this issue. Everywhere we looked, there were appealing programs with an international bent. But with only 48 pages, Continuum isn’t able to accommodate all of the U’s international elements—and that’s a shining example of the vitality of the University’s global efforts.

I’m eager to hear what you think of our new look, or any of the stories in this issue. Please drop me a line at or call (801) 581-3862.