Plan for Internationalization

2016 Heiskell Award Co-Winner: Internationalizing the Campus

Nomination submitted by: Molly Watkins, Executive Director for International Affairs

Program Overview

Case Western Reserve University’s (CWRU) comprehensive Plan for Internationalization has created a sweeping, organic change in the university’s culture. CWRU initially focused on university-wide internationalization in its 2008 strategic plan. As a result, the university hired a senior international officer, created an International Planning Committee, and began a formal international strategic planning process. The process was inclusive - driven by faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members. Implementation of Phase I began in 2012, with Phase II continuing the process in 2015.

As a result, internationalization is becoming embedded throughout the university’s thought and curriculum. The campus builds partnerships that extend the university’s reach and reputation; facilitates and engages individual and institutional connections between faculty, staff, students, and alumni with the larger world; assists students in enhancing their educational experience by going abroad; and provides comprehensive support to international students.

Since 2010, the university has increased its investment in internationalization by more than $4 million. The number of staff members in the Center for International Affairs has doubled. As a result, the university has increased the proportion of entering undergraduate international students from 3 to 15 percent and increased the total number of international students from just over 1,300 to more than 2,000. International students now make up about 19 percent of the total undergraduate and graduate student population and represent 90 different countries.

The university has also provided $130,000 to fund 20 Faculty Seed Grants to develop sustainable initiatives to create and implement new study abroad programs, international research projects, and cross-discipline curricula. Examples of successful outcomes include developing a dual PhD program with Brazilian universities in Macromolecular Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering establishing a partnership between CWRU and the Western University of Timisoara to establish Romania’s first post-Master certificate program in Adoption Mental Health, and creating partnerships between the Department of Women’s Studies at CWRU and women’s studies programs in Lebanon and Jordan.

These efforts have resulted in placing CWRU in the top 20 among the nation’s doctoral-granting institutions in the percentage of undergraduates studying abroad. In 2013/14, 45 percent of undergraduate students had an academic education abroad experience, up from 19 percent in 2010 (Open Doors, 2015). The campus has set a goal of sending 50 percent of its undergraduates abroad by the end of the decade, with a minimum of 20 percent engaging in a semester or academic year experience.

The university aims to raise $20 million for internationalization efforts by the end of the decade, which will enable it to increase funding opportunities to expand scholarships for study abroad and graduate student international research, to attract a breadth of international students to study, and to fund curriculum internationalization grants. Through the continuous pursuit of new international opportunities and the support of the entire community, Case Western Reserve is becoming one of the nation’s most recognized universities for comprehensive internationalization.

Learn more about the nomination and program objectives