A photo of four people sitting in chairs in front of a projector screen.
(Left to right) Daniel Obst, president and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs; Jill E. Blondin, Ph.D., associate vice provost for global initiatives in VCU’s Global Education Office; Isaac Garcia-Sitton, executive director, international student enrollment, education & inclusion at Toronto Metropolitan University; and Janaka Ruwanpura, Ph.D., vice provost and associate vice president research (international) at the University of Calgary, at the PIE LIVE North America conference. (Contributed photo)

Jill Blondin of VCU’s Global Education Office named a 2023 top voice by industry group

She says the honor from the PIE Insider reflects VCU’s expanding support for students to study abroad.

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Jill Blondin, Ph.D., associate vice provost for global initiatives in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Global Education Office, has been named one of the PIE Insider’s 50 Voices of North America for 2023. Its parent, the PIE News, focuses on developments and business analysis about international education.

Blondin said she was happily surprised about being included on the list – and excited about what it means for VCU.

“We’ve been working hard to expand our global footprint, so I’m glad to see recognition of my voice, because that indicates to me that the word is getting out there about how great VCU is,” she said.

Blondin also spoke at The PIE Live in Boston in November, joining a panel with three other educators from the U.S. and Canada. She discussed opportunities to mentor young people in the profession – a passion tied to the help she received over the years, and her faculty experience at VCU and being director of the former Globe program for five years.

“In some ways, I can’t stop helping people … because I know it’s the right thing to do,” Blondin said.

Since arriving at VCU in 2013, Blondin has helped restructure and expand the GEO to serve students better and broaden the university’s international impact and collaboration. She also started a masterclass workshop series for faculty and staff that brings in experts from other institutions who share best practices.

“I think the inter-institutional approach to internationalization, where I’ve actually brought in people from the outside who do my job at other institutions, has also been pretty innovative because at its very core, it’s collaborative – which is a hallmark of my leadership approach,” Blondin said.

She praises VCU’s leadership for supporting global education, which helps amplify her voice in the profession.

“It’s also an award for the Global Education Office, because I work with the most fabulous group of people who make some of the crazy ideas I have work,” Blondin said of the PIE honor. “I also feel really strongly that even though I am the person listed, [this award] is about the good work that we are doing at VCU together.”