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Archive for the ‘Internationalization’ Category

Civil discourse and constructive dialogue seem to have vanished from our collective experience. As the political debates get uglier and become increasingly excruciating to even pay attention to, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the tips I have learned from my involvement in the field of international education.

The “other” in this post refers to someone who is markedly different from oneself – whether politically, economically, geographically, religiously, etc. The process of interacting with someone who is “other” can lead either to degraded, destructive interactions, or to insightful and constructive dialogues that are mutually enriching.

dialogue[1]

  • noun  di·a·logue \ˈdī-ə-ˌlȯg, -ˌläg\
  • a : a conversation between two or more persons
  • b : an exchange of ideas and opinions
  • c : a discussion between representatives of parties to a conflict that is aimed at resolution

Here are Some Tips to Help

1. Keep it civil.

Consider the definition of “civil”. Merriam-Webster includes “polite but not friendly” in its definition. This is important. You do not need to become best friends with the person you are in dialogue with. Respect your own beliefs and boundaries, but also respect their beliefs and boundaries.

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Last week, NAFSA published a Trends & Insights essay, Welcome to the Era of “Global Competition 2.0,” which described how rankings drive intense competition between research universities pursuing a global institutional model. The authors described several common features of these institutions, including global mission, research intensity, and worldwide recruitment. They also noted that “many strive toward [such] characteristics . . . regardless of the alignment between these features and their original missions (for example, providing quality teaching or service to local populations.)”

That same week, Times Higher Education announced its 2016 list of the most international universities in the world. Such lists always produce the usual range of pride and consternation. While I know the rankings are based on very specific published criteria, in this case, the proportions of international staff, international students, and research papers co-authored by scholars from different countries, they always leave me dissatisfied. Do such criteria truly reflect the values of internationalization?

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Internationalization is increasingly becoming a central tenet of university missions and successful institutions innovate unique solutions worthy of recognition. The NAFSA Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization is awarded each year to schools that set themselves apart with their efforts to increase international programming and offer global educational experiences to their students, faculty, and community. In 2014, NAFSA celebrated the 12th anniversary of the Simon Award, and in a panel held on Tuesday, November 18, in Washington, D.C., several presidents and chancellors discussed the ways in which their institutions rose above the rest to receive the award.


Ángel Cabrera is a former Fulbright scholar from Spain and the current president of George Mason University, a public university located in Fairfax, Virginia with more than 33,000 students. When asked about the internationalization successes that his university has seen, Cabrera said that his administration has placed emphasis on scaling up international education opportunities for a large number of students. “We had to make smart ways for students to study abroad,” he said. This has included many programs developed through the Global Problem Solving Consortium, an international partnership of eight universities that George Mason spearheaded.

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“Internationalization really is as much about our own backyard as it is across the oceans,” says Richard Carpenter, chancellor of Lone Star College System in Houston, Texas.

Lone Star was one of five institutions to win NAFSA’s 2013 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. The 2013 Spotlight Award was given to three other schools. All were recognized on November 12 in Washington, D.C., at NAFSA’s Presidential Panel Discussion and Awards Reception, the kickoff to NAFSA’s celebration of International Education Week.


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As institutions work to internationalize their campuses, gathering leaders from various offices to share ideas can be difficult. NAFSA webinars present a unique opportunity to bring multiple departments together to collaborate on university-wide issues related to international education.

“Your challenge on a big campus is how to get people involved and how to get them to take ownership of something that they don’t view as their responsibility,” said Joe Potts, associate dean of International Programs and director of International Students and Scholars at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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This week we go to Cincinnati to continue our blog series documenting the reflections of the inaugural cohort of the Connecting Our World Grassroots Leadership Program (GLP). Over the past year, Frank Merendino developed a new intercultural communication training program for faculty and staff at the University of Cincinnati. In his post, he shares the fun and hard work that became his advocacy story.


Frank MerendinoBy Frank Merendino
Being a part of the inaugural cohort of Connecting Our World’s Grassroots Leadership Program (GLP) was a lot of fun. I also learned quite a bit about how to advocate effectively for international education on a number of different fronts.

Being an advocate for international education can take on many different meanings. You can be an advocate by attending NAFSA’s Advocacy Day or writing a letter to your state representatives on the necessities of immigration reform. You can be an advocate in your community by developing a program that integrates international students with locals or shares your hometown traditions with students from across the world. You can be an advocate on your campus through policy development that affects the experience international students have at your institution. There are any number of ways that you can be an advocate for international education—and I strongly encourage you to do so even if you think it’s something small—do it! Be an advocate!

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