History of Dallas International University


Dallas International University (DIU) is a prominent academic institution located in Southwest Dallas. Since its inception in 1998, this graduate and undergraduate school has offered training for applied linguistics and language development work related to minority languages worldwide.

In this article, let’s discover the significant events that have defined the university’s history, and we spotlight the unique academic programs that make DIU a top choice for students worldwide. Whether you’re considering where to take your next educational step, reconnecting with your alma mater, or simply curious about the history behind one of Texas’s key educational landmarks, this exploration offers something for everyone.

History of DIU

Founding and Early History

Dallas International University was founded as the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL) in March 1998, situated at the International Linguistics Center in Dallas, Texas. Originally affiliated with the University of Texas at Arlington, the institute was established to provide specialized academic training in applied linguistics under the earlier name Texas-SIL, which had been offering classes since 1972.

Expansion and Academic Offerings

GIAL officially opened its doors in the fall of 1999, initially offering Master’s degrees in Applied Linguistics. This significant step was supported by a license from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The institution celebrated its first graduates in June 2000.

As the institute grew, it sought accreditation to further validate its programs. It became a candidate for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in 2003, achieved initial accreditation in 2005, and was reaffirmed in 2010.

Broadening of Scope and Rebranding

In 2017, the institute began offering a full three or four-year baccalaureate degree, broadening its academic scope beyond Applied Linguistics to include World Arts and Abrahamic Studies. This expansion reflected a shift in the institution’s focus and capabilities, accommodating a more diverse array of academic interests and research areas.

Institutional Growth and New Identity

In response to its expanded academic offerings and the broader educational mission, the institute was rebranded as Dallas International University on September 1, 2018. This change underscored its evolution from a linguistics-focused graduate school to a comprehensive university with a global impact.

After the rebranding, Dallas International University comprised four main departments: The College of International Studies, The Center for Excellence in World Arts, the original Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, and the Abraham Center. These departments, particularly the GIAL, were further subdivided to include specialized departments for Applied Linguistics and Applied Anthropology.

Campus Expansion

Over the years, Dallas International University has significantly expanded its campus and facilities to better serve its academic community and to accommodate its growth in student numbers and program offerings.

The campus offers a range of services and facilities shared with Center personnel. These include housing options for singles, couples, and families, with accommodations varying from shared rooms in the Guest House to private apartments and mobile homes. The Guest House also includes weekday lunches at the campus dining hall, which serves a variety of meal options during lunch hours. Additional amenities include internet access and utilities, making it a convenient option for both short-term visitors and long-term residents.

For recreation and other needs, students at Dallas International University have access to a health clinic, childcare facilities, and various recreational services, which contribute to a vibrant campus life and provide essential support for students and faculty alike.

Academic Programs and Degrees

Students with books sitting on university grounds

Dallas International University offers a diverse and unique array of academic programs and degrees that cater to various aspects of international studies, linguistics, cultural studies, and world arts. These programs are designed to prepare students for global engagement and effective cross-cultural communication. Here’s an overview of the current academic offerings and some standout programs that distinguish DIU from other institutions:

Undergraduate Programs

Bachelor of Arts in Global Affairs: This program is tailored for students interested in international relations, providing a robust foundation in political science, economics, geography, and anthropology. It includes a Global Impact Internship, ensuring practical experience.

Graduate Programs

Master of Arts in World Arts: This program focuses on the arts as a communication and cultural exchange. It combines ethnomusicology, visual arts, and storytelling studies aimed at community development and cultural preservation.

Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics: This program prepares students for language teaching, translation, and language policy planning careers. It emphasizes hands-on learning with fieldwork options in various countries.

Doctoral Programs

Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies: This doctoral program is designed for those looking to lead in academic, governmental, or nonprofit sectors, focusing on deep research into cultural dynamics and their implications for global interactions.

Standout Programs

Center for Excellence in World Arts: DIU’s Center for Excellence in World Arts is particularly notable. It offers specialized training in various forms of artistic expression and how they relate to cultural identity and communication. This center is one of the few places where students can engage deeply with world arts in a way that integrates cultural studies with artistic practice.

Applied Anthropology Department: Another unique aspect of DIU is its Applied Anthropology Department, which focuses on the practical application of anthropological research to address real-world issues, particularly in the contexts of development and humanitarian aid. This department offers both graduate and post-graduate opportunities for hands-on work in field settings.

Interdisciplinary Approach: What sets DIU apart is its interdisciplinary approach, integrating elements of faith and cultural understanding with academic rigor. This approach is evident across all its programs but is particularly emphasized in its dual enrollment and distance education offerings, which allow students to engage with complex global issues from wherever they are in the world.

Contributions to Local and Global Communities

Dallas International University (DIU) has made substantial contributions to both local and global communities through its educational programs and the initiatives of its alumni. These contributions reflect the university’s commitment to fostering intercultural understanding and cooperation.

Educational Outreach and Community Programs: DIU is deeply involved in community engagement and development. Locally, the university hosts cultural festivals and public seminars that aim to educate and integrate the broader Dallas community with global cultures. These events often include workshops on global arts, language preservation, and intercultural communication, enhancing local appreciation for cultural diversity.

Global Fieldwork and Research: Globally, DIU has established several fieldwork initiatives that allow students and faculty to participate in projects around the world. These projects often focus on language preservation, educational development, and health initiatives in underserved regions. By providing expertise in linguistics and cultural studies, DIU contributes directly to the sustainability and enrichment of global communities.

Partnerships with International Organizations: DIU collaborates with international organizations to provide research, training, and resources for development projects. These partnerships help facilitate various developmental programs to improve education, health, and economic conditions in various countries.

Notable Alumni Contributions

The alumni of DIU have gone on to work in over 80 different countries, mostly contributing to the fields of:

Nonprofit Leadership: Many DIU graduates have taken leadership roles in nonprofit organizations, where they apply their language development and cultural studies skills to manage and lead community-based programs. These alumni have initiated and directed projects that focus on literacy, health education, and community development, significantly impacting lives worldwide.

Academia and Research: DIU alumni are also prominent in academia, contributing to understanding cultural and linguistic diversity. Their research often leads to important insights into language preservation and the role of arts in social change, which are published and shared globally in educational and professional circles.

Governmental and International Agencies: Some graduates have joined governmental and international agencies, using their expertise to craft policies that support cultural preservation and sustainable development. These alumni work on policy development and strategic planning, ensuring that cultural and linguistic considerations are integrated into national and international initiatives.

Final Word

Dallas International University has evolved significantly since its founding, adapting and expanding its educational programs to meet the needs of a diverse, global student body. From its beginnings as the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics to its current status as a comprehensive university, DIU has profoundly impacted local and global communities.

Through its continued dedication to cultural education, Dallas International University remains a crucial institution in international education and cultural preservation.

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