Report: Internationalization efforts rise at colleges
- Internationalization has accelerated on college campuses in recent years, according to a new report from the American Council on Education’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement, which found that the practice was increasingly an administrative-led endeavor, often coordinated by a single office or individual.
- The CIGE defines "comprehensive internationalization" as “a strategic, coordinated process that seeks to align and integrate international policies, programs, and initiatives, and positions colleges and universities as more globally oriented and internationally connected institutions.” The study found funding increased for supporting education abroad and international student recruiting.
- The amount of support international students receive when arriving on campus still concerned researchers, and while the analysis found that more institutions were offering “internationally focused professional development opportunities” for faculty, international engagement was still considered in promotion and tenure decisions in only one out of ten institutions.
The political climate in the United States cannot be avoided when considering internationalization efforts on the parts of institutions. As the report indicates, many of President Donald Trump’s policy proposals, including a proposed ban on entry into the United States from certain countries and a reconsideration of the H-1B visa could significantly impact "student mobility," which included education abroad opportunities for current students as well as a robust application pool of international students. Respectively, these are the top two focuses for internationalization efforts in schools, according to the CIGE.
There are indications that White House policy may be having a negative effect on international student applications, with the New York Times reporting that 40% of schools said that they had seen a dip in their international enrollments in recent months. However, the gains in internationalization since the last report indicate that institutional support is continuing to catch up to the interest. If international student applications are suffering, institutions can turn to enhancing international professional development opportunities or elevating more faculty with backgrounds marked by international engagement. Schools could also look to the example of the University of Arizona, which is establishing ‘microcampuses’ with partner universities in foreign countries. The politics of a given situation can be temporary and change within months or years, and supporters of internationalization on campus can continue to build institutional frameworks and support so they can best take advantage of the situation if and when that does occur.
- American Council on Education Mapping internationalization on U.S. campuses