IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Task force broadens CU-Boulder's international horizons
CU-Boulder is currently engaged in an assessment of the university's internationalization, assisted by the American Council on Education's Internationalization Laboratory. The ACE laboratory provides a structure for a cross section of CU-Boulder faculty leaders to conduct an assessment of current international offerings, practices and resources, and a forum for discussion with other member institutions.
Participating institutions conduct a 12 to 16 month review of goals and internationalization strategies, develop strategic action plans and share their findings with other ACE collaborative institutions. As institutions assess their progress and share knowledge, they in turn help to further refine the ACE internationalization review process.
“Because we conduct the study ourselves, the task force has the benefit of familiarity with our past and current international missions and offerings, and can recommend changes best suited to our future goals,” said Larry Bell, director of the Office of International Education (OIE). Bell serves as co-chair on the task force along with John Stevenson, associate vice chancellor for graduate education and associate dean of the Graduate School.
In July 2008, then-Provost Phil DiStefano appointed Bell, Stevenson, and eleven other academic representatives to the task force, charging them with serving as the CU-Boulder leadership team for ACE, carrying out a review of the current state of internationalization, framing a new conversation on internationalization within the university community, and developing a strategic plan to further internationalization of CU-Boulder.
ACE uses the term “internationalization” because it represents an ongoing process that includes many different approaches and strategies. The term is widely used in other countries and has gained currency in the United States. It suggests a comprehensive approach, which fits well with the goals of ACE member institutions.
“The vision is to infuse international and intercultural dimensions into teaching, learning, research and service,” said co-chair John Stevenson. Internationalization includes, but is not limited to, study abroad, educational partnerships with other universities throughout the world, and opportunities for faculty and students to experience other cultures and viewpoints both abroad and on our campus with international visiting students and faculty.
Some of the possibilities being examined include meeting needs across disciplines through one to one faculty relationships, and collaboration of faculty who share interests in the same regions. “One idea is to develop databases to keep track of the various studies of faculty, so that someone with an interest in the history of medieval China could look through the database and coordinate efforts with another faculty member whose studies intersect,” Stevenson said. In this way, the scope of international connections can be expanded while condensing the efforts of separate faculty working toward similar goals.
This summer, task force subgroups will form drafts of strategic plans. CU-Boulder community members can learn more about the study and track progress by visiting the CU-Boulder Internationalization Laboratory Task Force website.
“It's a credit to Phil, who pursued this as provost,” said Stevenson. “Globalization has made all of us more open to the importance of international study as a form of diversity. It's the intellectual strength of coming together and sharing ideas.”
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