Donald Back

I currently serve as director or the Language and Culture Institute (LCI) at Virginia Tech, where I have been employed for the last 15 years.  In my role as a leader in international affairs, I represent the university with EducationUSA offices, foreign universities, international aid organizations, scholarship offices and globally minded businesses. Over the last several years, I have visited nearly 20 countries and given presentations on Virginia Tech to over a dozen leading universities.


I founded the LCI, a unique office dedicated to international programs and engagement, early in my career at VT.  Our talented cadre of faculty and administrators source and develop leads, write proposals, implement programs, recruit internationally and otherwise help to support a common vision and goals. Comprised of individuals of many ethnicities and nationalities, the LCI is one of the most diverse and inclusive organizations in the university’s international affairs division.  The LCI has built educational and workforce capacity in those countries we have served and has helped to increase global awareness within the general student body.


I hold a doctorate in planning, governance and globalization from Virginia Tech and am an affiliate faculty member in the Institute of Policy and Governance.  Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, and after leaving CIE, I worked in management roles in proprietary English language training for 15 years. 


After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho, I came to work in international education through Greg Thompson, who was studying at CIE in the 1980s.  In 1990, I married Venecia Mercedes Fadul Martinez (M.Ed. 1989). David Evans was my advisor and role model.  Their influence is undeniable in my work, and I owe them, CIE and UMass not only a successful career, but a long and very happy marriage. [4-21]




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CIE Graduate