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KNOXVILLE –- From directing the Center for International Studies at Wake Forest University to overseeing undergraduate international studies at Old Dominion University, Pia Christina Wood has built an extensive career in the international education arena.

Pia Wood
Pia Wood
Wood will bring that experience to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she will be associate vice provost and director of the Center for International Education.

“We’re excited to have Pia Wood at the helm of our Center for International Education. The center’s study-abroad programs and cultural events, as well as its work with international faculty and students are vital in creating an international and intercultural environment on our campus,” Chancellor Loren Crabtree said. “A strong CIE is key to our Ready for the World initiative, which is designed to make UT a vibrant training ground for the global environment where our graduates will live and work.”

Wood’s hiring is the latest in a series of appointments associated with the Ready for the World program. Former Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Mary Papke is now director of the program, and civil rights pioneer Rita Sanders Geier has joined UT to help administer Ready for the World and the university’s diversity programs.

Wood spent the past eight years as director for the Center for International Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. Prior to that, she spent six years as director of the International Studies undergraduate program at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.

“My own international experience began quite early as I grew up both in the United States and Switzerland. Later in my career, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study and work in numerous foreign countries,” Wood said. “Those valuable and enriching experiences led me into international education, where I can help develop international programs and opportunities for both students and faculty members.

“I am looking forward to working at UT for many reasons, including an outstanding faculty, a strong student body and a supportive administration. In particular, the administration has articulated and is supporting an innovative and ambitious international and intercultural vision for the university through the Ready for the World initiative.”

Prior to leading international education programs, Wood was an assistant professor and associate professor in the department of political science and geography at Old Dominion and a visiting professor in the Department of National Security Studies at the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. She taught at Bates Colleges in Lewiston, Maine, and at the Woodrow Wilson School for Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia.

Before to moving into international education, Wood was assistant to the chairman of the U.S. Organizing Committee of the ninth Inter-American Indian Congress.

She has participated in programs or lectured at events in Turkey, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany, as well as in Hawaii and Washington, D.C.

The co-editor of two books and a special journal issue on “North Africa,” Wood has written extensively about French politics and, in particular, France’s foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa. She also has written about politics within the European Union.

Wood speaks four languages besides English — French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

She received a doctorate in political science from the University of Geneva, Switzerland; a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico; a master’s of International Business Studies from the University of South Carolina; and a bachelor’s degree in Economics and French from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.


Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu