IIE also awarded successful initiatives with its 2015 Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education in four categories: study abroad, internationalising the campus, international partnerships, and internationalising the community college.
IIE President and CEO Allan Goodman said the changing nature of the international education field and the size of the US system demands cross-campus advice.
“Our field is changing so much that there’s never enough best practices and there’s never enough opportunities to share”
“Our field is changing so much that there’s never enough best practices and there’s never enough opportunities to share… our field depends on a lot of that sharing so that we anticipate the problems that don’t work and the challenges that we need to overcome,” he told The PIE News.
“The common challenge is US higher education and institutions need their own foreign policies and everyone has a different foreign policy– some are global, some want to focus on one region or one discipline on a regional or global basis– but thinking it through as if you had a global foreign policy is a really good start,” he added.
“We will end up with 4,000 different foreign policies but that’s the nature of our system.”
Opening the event, James Milliken, Chancellor of The City University of New York, reminded delegates of the barriers to study abroad many US students face.
“A semester abroad is difficult if not impossible for many CUNY students,” he said, citing work and family obligations as the most common roadblocks.
Not suprsingly, how to expand a global education to more than just a select few dominated the day’s discussions.
At SUNY New Paltz, winner of the Heiskell award for Study Abroad, the Center for International Programs has partnered with the Educational Opportunity Program to support economically and academically disadvantaged students to study abroad.
Christian Wilwohl, study abroad programme director at New Paltz, underlined the need for scholarships and academic strongholds to ensure graduation dates aren’t delayed. He added that students need to understand that benefits go beyond just a global experience as EOP students who study abroad graduate faster than those who don’t.
Similarly, Martha Johnson, assistant dean at the University of Minnesota’s Learning Abroad Center and honourable mention for the award, argued that educators “need to align conversations around study abroad with career opportunities”.
“If you really believe that an institution should internationalise everyone should be international”
Johnson added that building ties on campus has been a key component to UM’s success in increasing study abroad numbers from 700 in 2000 to 3,500 in 2015.
Engaging partners across campus, including faculty, staff and domestic students, to set internationalisation strategies in motion was mentioned by several speakers.
“If you really believe that an institution should internationalise, everyone should be international,” John Singleton director of international student services at Texas Christian University, winner of the Heiskell Award for Internationalizing the Campus, argued.
TCU has launched a Discovering Global Citizenship initiative targeting the 70% of the campus community who aren’t engaged in global pursuits. Faculty exchange programmes are a central component.
“It speaks to a paradigm problem we have with the ivory tower and the faculty,” Singleton told The PIE News. “In recognising their [the staff’s] value we’re not just doing it for all the noble reasons. You can’t be international and only have a few little communities being that.”
Singleton went on to say that institutions have the responsibility to integrate all players on campus in their internationalisation objectives, including international students. “If the only people that deliver education are in those classrooms and we don’t recognise other voices, that doesn’t seem to follow the world very closely.”
“If the only people that deliver education are in those classrooms and we don’t recognise other voices, that doesn’t seem to follow the world very closely”
Madison College was given an award for Internationalizing the Community College and also focuses on enlisting faculty to expand study abroad. The college has established the Community College Sustainable Development Network, which brings together 24 community colleges to collaborate in faculty-led training programmes abroad.
With around 50% of higher education students in the US studying at a community college, Geoff Bradshaw, director of the CCSDN, said if the US wants to expand study abroad it’s essential to target these institutions. “It’s gratifying to see the profound impact study abroad programmes have on students as well as communities,” he added.
Other winners of Heiskill awards include Auburn University for its partnership with Keimyung University in South Korea, which saw the establishment of the Auburn-Keimyung Korea Center. The initiative provides Korean language and cultural programming for students and aims to promote interaction with the growing Korean community attracted to the region’s booming automobile industry.
The full list of winners and honourable mentions can be found here.