Portuguese scholar to lead WMU's international initiatives

Contact: Cheryl Roland
Photo of Dr. Paulo Zagalo-Melo.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A Portuguese political scientist with a long track record in international education has been appointed to lead Western Michigan University's Haenicke Institute for Global Education.

Dr. Paulo Zagalo-Melo, who served as associate provost for Global Century Education and director of the Global Engagement Office at the University of Montana, will take the reins of WMU's comprehensive international efforts on Sept. 1. His appointment as associate provost was announced by WMU Provost Timothy J. Greene. The appointment was made pending approval by the University's Board of Trustees.

"I am thrilled that Dr. Zagalo-Melo has joined us," said Greene. "He brings with him considerable recent experience in global education at the University of Montana, a commitment to best practices in the international arena, and extensive experience over many years with the Fulbright Program."


Zagalo-Melo had been at UM since 2013, serving as that university's senior international officer and as a faculty member in Educational Leadership. Prior to that, he spent seven years as director for science, technology and innovation at the Luso-American Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal. In that role, he negotiated and monitored grant programs and student and faculty exchange programs involving Portuguese and U.S. academic, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, including five U.S. federal research agencies.

Zagalo-Melo's background also includes extensive work with the U.S.-Portugal Fulbright Commission. He served as the commission's executive director in Portugal for 10 years, after a three-year period as the administrative officer with the commission. As executive director, he managed all Fulbright operations in Portugal and was involved in organizing three Fulbright Directors’ conferences. In addition, he was a member of the Executive Committee of Fulbright Directors from Europe and Israel, and he served as the European Union Project Coordinator for IMPACT, an ATLANTIS four-year political science exchange program.

"I am very excited with this opportunity to promote and improve comprehensive internationalization at WMU, and to work with the Haenicke Institute, which bears the name of a Fulbrighter who was a lifelong advocate of international education," says Zagalo-Melo. "WMU has a campuswide understanding of what it entails to internationalize a university and seems to be in a good position to face the current global challenges of international education through creativity, dedication and perseverance."

Having earned undergraduate degrees in accounting and business administration in Portugal, Zagalo-Melo traveled to the United States to earn a master's degree in public administration in 2004 from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He went on to earn a doctoral degree in political science from the Catholic University of Portugal, in collaboration with the University of Colorado at Boulder, in 2012.

He has served as a visiting scholar in political science at the University of Colorado-Boulder and a visiting professor at the Catholic University of Portugal. At UM, he taught a course in Best Practices in International Programs for both the master's and doctoral programs in International Education Leadership that he helped develop and implement at UM.

Zagalo-Melo has been active with the Association of International Education Administrators, was an AIEA Presidential Fellow and currently serves that organization as the vice chair of its Policy and Advocacy Committee. He was also a TEDx speaker on multilingual education, with a talk titled "Building Global Nations."

At WMU, He replaces Dr. Wolfgang Schlör, who accepted a position at Georgia State University earlier this year.