Destination USF: Global University

Linda Whiteford

Associate Vice President for Global Strategies – Office of the President

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Strategic Initiatives – Office of the Provost




Much of Linda Whiteford’s work as a professor and medical anthropologist has focused on maternal, child and reproductive health, water scarcity, and water-borne diseases such as cholera and dengue fever. Consequently, her job has taken her around the globe. China. Argentina. Cameroon. Malaysia. England. Scotland. Costa Rica. Nicaragua. Cuba. Guatemala. She has studied the plight of migrant farm women from Mexico, poor families and single mothers in Ecuador, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic, and the conditions of refugee women in Darfur, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


And that’s just a glimpse into her extensive, international research.


Most recently Whiteford, along with co-primary investigator Graham Tobin, traveled to Ecuador with a team of graduate anthropology, health sciences and physical sciences students. Working closely with students from another “USF” — Universidad San Francisco de Quito — they crossed conceptual and linguistic boundaries in pursuit of a common goal: to study the impact of volcanic activity, prolonged exposure to danger and subsequent relocation on family health.


It’s this type of interdisciplinary and international collaboration that Whiteford, as USF’s associate vice president for global strategies, envisions becoming commonplace at USF.


“I see USF evolving into a ‘destination university’ — a university that is sought out by students, faculty, researchers and administrators who are committed to being globally engaged, who desire a global experience,” says Whiteford.


For students, this means not only increased opportunities to study abroad but to do service abroad, as well. For faculty, it means bringing experiences encountered at universities overseas back to USF classrooms. For researchers, it means competing for global funding as well as collaborating with international colleagues on critical universal issues such as water, poverty and pollution.


“Being a relatively young university with a strong strategic vision, we have an exciting opportunity to create something new, something different from other universities,” says Whiteford.




“Of course a global education provides students with a competitive advantage in the marketplace and enables them to be successful in a global economy,” says Whiteford. “But global experiences also make us more tolerant, more generous people. To know about the world outside our own borders by experiencing it first-hand and understanding how other people live enriches us as human beings.”


-- Mary Beth Erskine, University Communications & Marketing