Cheryl Matherly, vice president and vice provost for international affairs, now in the fifth year of her initial appointment, has been reappointed for another five years.
Matherly arrived at Lehigh in 2016 with a clear vision for expanding international education and engagement at Lehigh. Since then she has overseen the university’s international programming, including study-abroad programs, international internships, English-language programs, international student services, Fulbright scholarship programs, the Iacocca Institute and Lehigh’s United Nations partnership programs.
Under Matherly’s leadership, the Office of International Affairs created and implemented in 2018 the Global Lehigh Strategic Plan, the university's plan for comprehensive internationalization. Among the plan’s six focus areas is the development of strategic partnerships with global institutions, organizations and companies to advance teaching, research and service in new directions. Work toward this goal has included partnerships with Ashoka University, India’s premier multi-disciplinary liberal arts university, and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), a globally ranked technical and research university. These partnerships allow for academic and student exchanges, cross-institutional research opportunities and expanded entrepreneurial opportunities, among other collaborative efforts. Lehigh also added two India-based advisors to lead efforts to expand student recruiting, activate and engage alumni, and develop additional institutional partnerships.
The Global Lehigh plan also calls for increased cooperation with the colleges and offices across campus. OIA has partnered with the College of Education to support the Global Citizenship Program and the nascent Center for Global Citizenship Education, and with the College of Health through an expansion of the university’s United Nations partnership. OIA has also partnered with the Center for Student Access and Success to create the Passport to Success program, which expands access to study-abroad and high-impact learning experiences for low-income and first-generation students, including a free passport, study-abroad scholarships, career coaching and educational trips in New York City and Canada.
In response to the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international students and those studying abroad, Matherly oversaw wide-ranging efforts to ensure that students’ needs were met and that they were able to remain connected to the university while away from campus. To address the problem of COVID travel restrictions, she developed the Lehigh in Residence program, which allowed first-year international students unable to travel to Lehigh’s campus in Fall 2020 to enroll as Lehigh students through partners in Shanghai and Seoul.
Matherly’s efforts have resulted in important national recognition for Lehigh. In 2020, Lehigh was one of eight U.S. universities and colleges to receive the NAFSA: Association of International Education's Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization for overall excellence in integrating international education throughout all facets of a university or college campus. This award represents one of the highest achievements for universities in their internationalization efforts. That same year, Matherly was invited to the National Academy for International Education and was named Senior International Officer of the Year by the Institute for International Education (IIE), which is presented to a senior international officer for remarkable and sustained leadership in international education.
“Cheryl’s deep expertise and commitment to the continued growth of international education at Lehigh benefits the university community as well as our partners around the world,” said Nathan Urban, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Under Cheryl, Lehigh has undertaken a distinctive approach to international engagement that reflects Lehigh’s focus on the idea that students learn best by immersing themselves in new experiences and by having the opportunity to apply their learning beyond the classroom.”
Matherly said she is looking forward to the days ahead.
"I am very proud of the team that we have built in the Office of International Affairs over the last five years,” she said. “I also appreciate Lehigh's commitment to international education, especially after such a challenging year. I am optimistic about the directions we are heading with the ways in which we work with students, staff and faculty to advance global learning at Lehigh."