University of Virginia Executive Vice President and Provost John D. Simon has named Justin O’Jack director of U.Va.’s first overseas office, which will be located in Shanghai to extend U.Va.’s presence in China.
O’Jack is fluent in Mandarin and has more than 10 years of experience in senior managerial roles with U.S. educational organizations based in China. Most recently, he was the director for Greater China at the Council on International Educational Exchange, the largest and oldest U.S. non-profit, non-governmental international exchange organization.
Simon said O’Jack’s experience puts him in a unique position to help advance U.Va.’s presence in China and, more broadly, in Asia.
“Justin’s background is a wonderful complement to our efforts to engage further in Asia,” he said. “I am excited by the possibilities that lie ahead for U.Va., and I look forward to working with Justin.”
O’Jack will provide additional outreach to Beijing, Hong Kong and other cities in China. His responsibilities will include:
• creating new research/educational partnerships and maintaining existing ones;
• supporting advancement, admissions and alumni engagement; and
• developing internships and contributing to career placement efforts.
O’Jack will report to the provost via Jeffrey W. Legro, U.Va.’s vice provost for global affairs.
“The uptick in engagement between U.Va. and China is truly impressive and a testament to the vision of University leadership and to the dedication and passion of numerous faculty who are deeply involved with China,” O’Jack said. “During the 2012-13 academic year, 166 U.Va. students abroad studied in mainland China, making it one of the most popular destinations outside of Europe. We hope to build on that record and enlarge the number of students who gain experience in China, because their lives will be shaped by what happens there.”
O’Jack said he is also impressed by the high numbers of Chinese students and scholars at U.Va.
“With such extensive engagement between U.Va. and China, there is ample opportunity for the U.Va. China Office to support ongoing activities, strengthen existing relationships, forge new ones and facilitate new forms of collaboration between schools and departments.”
O’Jack said he plans to form an advisory group that will help him establish an appropriate set of priorities for the first three years. He said those priorities will be aligned with the University’s global affairs mission “to enhance the University’s relationships and reputation abroad, advance global research and further internationalize the student experience and curriculum as it relates to our presence in and engagement with China.”
O’Jack received his B.A. in history from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1993. In 2002, he received his M.A. in religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he researched late medieval Chinese pilgrimage traditions and religious geography.