Begin With the Faculty

A report from NAFSA 2014.

May 27, 2014

For the next couple of days, I’ll be blogging from NAFSA 2014 in San Diego. The annual NAFSA Conference and Expo is the largest international education event in the world, attracting over 8,000 attendees. This year’s theme is Pathways to Global Competence, focusing on helping graduates become “global-ready.”

Earlier today I attended a session on Strategic Planning for Campus Internationalization. Presenters came from Beloit College and Northern Arizona University.

One recurring theme focused on tips and techniques for involving faculty in the strategic internationalization of the campus. I am always surprised to hear that including faculty is a challenge on our campuses. From my perspective, the entire infrastructure of the university is there to support and facilitate the process of teaching and learning that occurs between professors and students.

The faculty I know are deeply invested in campus internationalization. However, they most likely have very different views about which issues should be addressed and how they should be addressed. This is very different from a lack of engagement. Shared governance requires that we allow for process and create the space for different definitions and interpretations. This is messy and systems-oriented staff are often short on patience when it comes to implementation.

The best recommendations from today’s panel included the following:

  • Begin with a Charge to an advisory committee for comprehensive internationalization (up to 20 people)

  • The charge should come from the president to emphasize the institutional priority

  • A senior faculty member and a senior administrator (dean/vice provost) should co-chair the committee

  • The charge should be concise, achievable, and mission-driven

  • Create 4-6 key issues to be addressed and assign these to sub-committees

  • Sub-committees are key and should include additional members

My top  recommendation is:

  • Begin with the faculty, include them as vital framers, and end with the faculty

I’ll see you here tomorrow for another update.


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