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John Sunnygard

                                                                                                                                                          John Sunnygard

John Sunnygard, MIM

 Associate Provost for Global Learning and International Affairs

E-mail:  john.sunnygard@wku.edu 


"There are few things more gratifying for an educator than seeing students expand their life experience by deep engagement with another culture and people. Study abroad transforms students lives, not only while they are away but after they return and see themselves and their country with a new perspective and appreciation. International students on WKU's campus are a very special part of our community and a valuable link to the rest of the world. The success of our students is our success as an institution and I'm thrilled to help Toppers & WKU gain these invaluable international experiences.   


As the Associate Provost for Global Learning and International Affairs, John is responsible for WKU’s comprehensive international efforts including international student recruiting and support services, study abroad and exchange programs, international programs and scholar development, strategic partnerships and agreements, and other global engagement activities.  John also oversees partnerships and collaborations with sponsored international student agencies and government entities and serves as the liaison between ESLi and WKU.

A relentless explorer, John has over 25 years of experience in international education and has taught and lived in 4 countries including Belgium, Morocco, Japan and the United Kingdom. After receiving a bachelor's degree in French and international relations from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, John served as a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching English at a university in Morocco. Upon completion of his service, he received a master’s in international management from the Thunderbird-American Graduate School of International Management at Arizona State University.

Prior to his arrival at WKU, John has held leadership roles with IES Abroad, the University of Texas Austin and the University of Colorado.  During this time, he has organized student mobility programs on six continents involving more than 20,000 students living and learning on all continents.He has developed and co-led international programs in several countries and is very passionate about contributing to the personal and multicultural growth a student receives when living and learning in another country.

John has presented and written on student mobility, the impact of study abroad on American students, the value of international students in US communities, international education trends, cross-cultural development, study abroad program evaluation, international risk management and engaging faculty in short-term study abroad programs.  

He focuses on long-term, multi-level strategic engagement for Western Kentucky University students and academic departments with universities, governments and agencies around the world to provide high-value educational opportunities. His work centers around intercultural learning and student growth through international education program design, strategic partnership development, marketing, risk management, implementation and evaluation.

John is committed to preparing Toppers to successfully understand and engage in a complex, competitive global economy.






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 Last Modified 7/20/20