Minnie Battle MayesBack to Excellence
For nearly a decade and a half, Minnie Battle Mayes has led the charge for globalizing the university through student and faculty mobility; the Global Studies Certificate program and curriculum integration; and global awareness.
“I pride myself in having built the office around the institution and not me as an individual,” said the director of The Office of International Programs.
“These experiences add to the intellectual climate on our campus, which is also one of our Preeminence 2020 strategic goals,” Mayes said.
“It is one thing to go to school and take classes and when you have taken enough classes, you get a degree. However, it is quite something else to be educated and being educated requires more than a series of classes.”
Mayes initially came to N.C. A&T in 1999 as a consultant to compile a report on the university’s global activities. The first six months, she visited all the departments, schools and colleges to talk about their international initiatives. As a result of her findings, then-Chancellor James C. Renick established the Office of International Programs.
Since then, Mayes and her staff have facilitated study abroad opportunities for A&T students looking to have those experiences in other countries and students from other countries looking to have those experiences at A&T.
“Often, exchange and study abroad partnerships lead to the development of other types of engagements, like training and research, with our overseas partners. I facilitate these collaborations bringing together the appropriate people,” she said.
Universities the world over are preparing tomorrow’s global leaders. Experiences like those offered in this program, have the potential to shape lives and careers of current and future students.
“I was fortunate to attend a university that allowed me the opportunity to study abroad over 40 years ago. I had no idea that the experience would change the trajectory of my life,” she said. “I discovered myself and my heritage while studying in Liberia and Nigeria. A&T students now have the same opportunity to discover themselves and another country and culture.”
Prior to A&T, Mayes had worked on six of the seven continents and had worked for the United Nations, CARE International, the Joint Voluntary Agency for Singapore and Indonesia and the U.S. State Department. Each of those experiences has been incorporated into her work and by proxy, her legacy at A&T.
“It is so rare to have an opportunity to be able to actually utilize all of your skills and experience in one place and that has been extremely rewarding,” she added.
As Mayes prepares for retirement, her hope remained that the university would continue to invest in the resources needed to keep the Office of International Programs viable and that students and parents take a more active role in making sure they get a comprehensive education that includes study abroad.
“What I like to tell students, and their parents, is to remember how much time and effort they put into preparing to come to study at A&T. They shopped for trunks, luggage, supplies, clothing, bedding, items to adorn their room in the residence hall, etc. – everything to make the student comfortable and successful,” Mayes said.
“Now that the trunk and suitcase is unpacked, they should begin to think about packing it to leave in 4 years. What experiences will you pack into your suitcase to take away with you when you leave A&T? Just as much effort at thinking through what you would need to be successful while here, should be poured into thinking through what experiences you will need to take away with you to succeed in the world.”