The Executive summary of the Internationalization of Higher Education: Growing expectations, fundamental value IAU 4th Global Survey and ACE’s Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses are two very informative surveys that bring up a number of interesting and supporting facts about internationalization in Higher Education in the US and around the world.

The surveys present different points about the change and progress of Internationalization in Higher Ed institutions, some of which are supported by the data from both surveys, making those facts even stronger to believe and the need to be addressed by institutions. Since the number of them strongly stood out for me, I will list and discuss some of them below with my perspective on the topics and questions that have arisen:

  • One of the most noticeable points that were mentioned in both reports is the fact that internationalization strategies and activities seem to be driven by senior levels of leadership, and as most of the institutions reported by president of the institution. Per our discussion in class, the institution should not be waiting for the change of leadership to create and implement global strategic plan, but what if the leadership is the one holding it off?
  • Outgoing mobility is the most prioritized activity, while content of curriculum seems to be far from priority. As already discussed, creating international curriculum seems to be the best way to reach majority of the students on campus, rather than through outgoing mobility or research. On the other hand it makes sense why this is not a priority for the faculty, as they are not being recognized for working on internationalization curriculum and most institutions don’t provide funds, resources or tenure for doing it. As a result faculty’s motivation is not focused on creating international curriculum.
  • Institutions claim the lack of funding as the biggest obstacle in internationalization, while overall funding has been increasing over the years. So where are those funds being allocated? This leads to the next points:
  • Revenue generation as an expected benefit of internationalization ranked lowest in IAU 4th Global Survey, it might be true for the rest of the world, but in the US it seems to be one of the priorities in the most recent years (although not being claimed as one in the survey and stated to be the most important risk for North America). Even ACE Mapping Report states that the funding for international paying student recruitment has increased significantly, proving that US institutions are targeting tuition revenue from international students who have ability to pay. In addition Hanover Research states, “International student enrollments in the U.S. for 2012‐2013 increased by nearly 10 percent over the prior year, with some of the biggest changes coming from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, China, and Brazil”. Higher Education institutions seem to prioritize bringing international paying students to increase tuition revenue, while leaving internationalization at home as the least priority activity.
  • Doctorate institutions seem to be the most active in leading internationalization in Higher Education. It is possible that it is due to the fact that doctorate institutions are also research institutions, and according to the IAU 4th Global Survey research is a number two priority activity in the internationalization of Higher Education. As a result, these institutions receive most amount of funding and spend most amount of resources on internationalization.

Overall, I really enjoyed these surveys, which triggered a lot of different thoughts about the statistics versus reality of internationalization in higher education around the world, but especially in the United States.

Natallia Kolbun

4 thoughts on “W11 – Internationalization Surveys – Leadership, Funding, and Priorities

  1. Thank you Natallia for such an excellent post that really wrapped together what we have been reading and learning in class all semester. It does appear that the 10 % increase in international enrollment is funding doctoral institutions that probably already get funding from being a research institution. This is something interesting to look into further. And I also agree that internationalization is lacking at home through our curriculum because faculty have no incentive to do so. Perhaps there should be courses required other than foreign language at the undergrad level to help students learn a culture rather than just the language. I for one finished my undergrad as an adult and was required to take French for two years which was a joke. I would have been served much better had I been able to take a course to help me understand another part of the world, rather than learning nothing for 2 years in a French class that was very difficult.
    Thank you,

  2. Hello,
    Thank you for your post. Your perspective on the topic was clear and succinct. In the report as you mentioned, institutions claim the lack of funding as the biggest obstacle in internationalization, however, I think it is also important to look at the college’s mission and strategic pan to fully understand what the institutions need and if financially they are putting in the funding towards their goals. You question where are those funds being allocated and I think the best way is to examine institutions financial statements.

  3. Hi Natallia,

    Thanks for your post. I like how you succinctly review a number of interesting topics presented in the readings. As you noted, revenue generation was not ranked as a top benefit globally. However, in the “Values and Principles” section of the IAU reading, the regional results do note that “North American respondents are the only ones to rank recruiting fee paying international undergraduates as one of the top three internationalization activities” (p 13). I agree that commodification of education through viewing students strictly as sources of revenue is a risk. However, if the funding realities make this a necessity, then it will continue to happen. While internationalizing the curriculum with diverse viewpoints is important, internationalization at home could also happen through specific, targeted activities arranged to increase interaction between international and domestic students. I was surprised to read in the ACE publication that some sectors saw a decrease in support services for international students. If institutions are investing all this effort to recruit international students, they also need to invest time and resources into ensuring these students succeed once they arrive. This not only means making sure they are engaged on campus, but also that domestic students take advantage of the international presence and diverse viewpoints.

  4. You bring up an interesting paradox: the most efficient way to bring internationalization to the student body as a whole (curriculum), receives the least support (incentives/support for faculty research). In addition to this, change in higher education tends to happen at a glacial pace. In this environment, it would seem that even motivated faculty and academic administrators face a lengthy process implementing a new curriculum. This relates to your point on top-down leadership. While there may be faculty support for an internationalized curriculum, without the support of senior leadership, it is unlikely to be implemented.

    Regarding the additional tuition revenue brought in by international students, it is more likely that this will be used in the more direct manner of support services. At my institution, the International Student Services staff was increased from 3 to 6 in response to the growing international student population to assure that they maintain F1 status. I understand your point that some of this revenue should go into funding internationalization efforts for the college as a whole. But do institutions divvy up revenue from tuition based on the student body? While the international student population should be a consideration for an institution looking to increase internationalization on campus, this does not appear to be the practice.

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