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Heather Ward Appointed Associate Provost for Global Affairs

April 4, 2021
UNC Global
Photo of Heather Ward

Photo by Kristen Chavez



The Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs (OVPGA) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is pleased to announce that Heather Ward, formerly associate dean for study abroad and international exchanges within the College of Arts & Sciences, is the new associate provost for global affairseffective April 5, 2021. 

“Heather is a remarkable leader with a talent for innovating and finding new avenues for global education and opportunities for students,” said Barbara Stephenson, vice provost for global affairs and chief global officer. “She brings unrivalled expertise and experience in comprehensive internationalization, which I plan to rely on heavily to carry out my office’s broad mandate to implement the global strategy outlined in Carolina Next. I am thrilled to have her as a partner in this transformative work. 

As associate provost, Ward will help manage OVPGA as well as spearhead key initiatives. As lead for 7.2 of Carolina Next  “Guarantee that a global education is available to all students” by offering “all Carolina students the best menu of global opportunities possible under challenging and changing times” — she will play an instrumental role in delivering the Global Guarantee, Carolina’s promise to provide all students access to a global education. 

In her previous role leading the Study Abroad Office (SAO), Ward was responsible for a dynamic portfolio of 360 study abroad programs and exchanges in 70 countries. In 2018-19, an estimated 43% of students studied abroad before graduation, making Carolina one of the top-20 U.S. institutions for study abroad participation each year. Under Ward’s leadership, the SAO has increased study abroad scholarship funding and introduced new programs to fit the changing needs of UNC-Chapel Hill’s diverse students. Ward was also responsible for the SAO’s professional staff, budget, and operations.

Prior to joining Carolina in 2019, Ward was the associate director for internationalization and global engagement at the American Council on Education (ACE) in Washington, D.C., where she worked with numerous U.S. and international universities to develop strategies for comprehensive internationalization—involving student mobility, global partnerships, faculty engagement, and curriculum. Ward led ACE’s efforts to promote global learning and partnerships through collaborative online international learning (COIL), a model she helped introduce at UNC-Chapel Hill this year as part of the OVPGA’s Connecting Carolina Classrooms with the World initiative. She also previously served as associate director for internationalization and outreach at George Mason University, where she was responsible for the support and integration of 1,800 international students, and as director of international programs at Mary Baldwin University. Ward has led internationalization and study abroad training sessions hosted by U.S. Embassies and Fulbright Commissions for higher education leaders in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Portugal. In 2012, she was selected to participate in the Fulbright International Education Administrators seminar in India. 

Prior to her career in international education, Ward worked in international affairs, criminal justice reform, and human rights with positions at the Vera Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, Americas Society, and U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies and Spanish from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University.


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