The IU School of Global and International Studies has promoted a longtime faculty member to a new role focused on enhancing student learning and opportunities. Olga Kalentzidou, who has been Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of International Studies at IU since 2013, takes over the role of Director of Academic Initiatives and Experiential Learning. Kalentzidou began her new position at the start of 2016.
The role contains a large and varied portfolio for Kalentzidou, one which focuses largely on the student experience and undergraduate curriculum development. “Among the things I will be doing is working closely with the Assistant Dean of Planning and Growth, Doug Goldstein (who started his position last November) to expand opportunities for our students and cultivate a strong school identity,” Kalentzidou said. “Some specific responsibilities have to do with coordinating events with student organizations in SGIS and working with the students closely—particularly Sigma Iota Rho, the international studies honor society.”
Kalentzidou said she hopes to revive the Undergraduate Journal of International Studies, a publication designed to publish undergraduate research on international studies. She’ll also coordinate the Global Service and Peace Corps Prep Certificate. She’ll be a liaison for scholarships and co-curricular initiatives in the school’s different units. A veteran teacher of experiential learning courses, Kalentzidou will help support and expand such class offerings in SGIS. “I usually teach a food security course, which is experiential in nature,” she said. That course was recently featured in a video produced by IU. “I would like to be a resource to faculty who intend on developing these courses domestically and abroad”.
A key part of her work will focus on helping to develop and implement an international internship program in collaboration with SGIS advising and career services. She anticipates fostering collaboration between different student groups throughout SGIS leading to new initiatives for student engagement. “Having a person or office to go to with issues that pertain to future employment, career options, or their curriculum needs at large is important.”
Kalentzidou is originally from Greece, but has been in Bloomington and at IU since the early 1990s. She has a BA from the University of Thessaloniki and three degrees from IU: M.A. degrees in Classical Archaeology and Anthropology, and a PhD in Anthropology. She said she considers herself an anthropologist of material culture. “My interests have always been on the migration of people and ideas, so that has informed my work and teaching through the different phases of my career,” she said. She is particularly interested in issues regarding ethnic conflict and ethnicity in general, as well as nationalism and the cultural politics of food.
Her portfolio includes a variety of teaching, and administrative roles at IU. She has taught Modern Greek as a foreign language as well as anthropology and international studies courses, and has carried out research abroad. Before becoming Director of Undergraduate Studies in International Studies, she was Associate Director for the international Studies Program and, prior to that, an academic advisor at IU.