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Colleges May Face Challenges in Realizing Greater Internationalization [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

February 21, 2008

by Karen Fischer, The Chronicle of Higher Education

There’s much buzz in academic circles about creating more-global college campuses, but to strengthen campuswide internationalization by capitalizing on often-disparate activities— such as study abroad, international research by faculty members, and overseas-development work — can be challenging.

That theme was echoed throughout a conference, “Globalization: Implications for International Education,” held here this week by the Association of International Education Administrators.

The three-day event also featured panels and presentations on learning outcomes for overseas study, global student mobility, and the impact of federal policy on international education, among other issues. But several speakers and session participants returned to the idea of how to better integrate various international activities to realize institutions’ more ambitious internationalization goals. Colleges do not always take full advantage of the relationships they have established to build additional partnerships, said M. Peter McPherson, president of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges in a speech to participants on Tuesday. In particular, Mr. McPherson, who is also chairman of the board of the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Commission, a federally appointed panel, urged participants to expand on existing agreements their institutions may have to allow students to study on foreign campuses to build other associations, like faculty exchanges and joint research programs.

“I think universities can take better advantage of those connections than they are,” Mr. McPherson said in an interview.

The goal of better leveraging current international ties was also reflected in a survey of campus chief officials for international research and development, conducted by the land-grant-college group, in conjunction with the Association of International Education Administrators, and released at the meeting.

Nearly half of those surveyed cited enhancing campus internationalization as the principal desired outcome of engagement in international research and development—a response rate far higher than that for any other stated goal. [Click here to read the entire story (subscription only)]

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