Dr. Donald Back
Education: Doctorate in planning, governance, and globalization, Virginia Tech; master's degree in international education, University of Massachusetts; bachelor's degree in biological sciences, Wright State University;
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Dr. Donald Back is the director of the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute and senior fellow at the Institute for Policy and Governance.
A professional in the field of international education for over 30 years, Back has extensive management experience in international programs and partnerships, grants and contracts, project administration, strategic planning, financial oversight, and continuous quality assessment. His responsibilities include delivery and assessment of the institute’s programs, courses, and services throughout the United States and abroad.
He is responsible for creating reciprocal public and private partnerships that reinforce the institute’s position as a leader in global engagement and Virginia Tech’s position as a world-class research institution. He represents the university’s endeavors in language and cross‐cultural training both on and off campus, and he works to strengthen sponsorships, enhance revenue, and improve the institute’s visibility.
Under Back’s leadership, the institute has engaged in capacity-building projects in such diverse countries as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Haiti, Chile, Senegal, Malaysia, Tanzania, and China. He has served as a consultant to universities in Iraqi Kurdistan for IREX and the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. He has taught and presented on financing higher education in developing contexts, internationalization in higher education, civic leadership, higher-education leadership, and the question of Kurdish independence.
Back began his career in as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho in southern Africa. He has served at the national level in NAFSA: Association of International Educators and is former president of the American Association of Intensive English Programs.
Back earned his doctorate in planning, governance, and globalization through the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. He received his master’s degree in international education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.