International Education as an Institutional Priority

How Can Trustees Help Make “International” a Part of Everyone’s Education

To remain competitive, our nation’s higher education must keep pace with the rapid globalization of our society over the last few decades, made possible by ever more rapid flows of ideas, technology, people, and information.

Leading higher education institutions have recognized this by “going global” and internationalizing their campuses. Yet surprisingly few colleges and universities make “international” a central part of what it means to become educated.

Now, more than ever before, higher education has a global mandate:

  • Our greatest challenges today are global—climate change, epidemic diseases, cybercrime, and violent extremism cannot be solved by or within a single country. Scholarly research to address these issues is also global and demands transnational collaboration.
  • As business and culture transcend national borders, our future workforce—even at the local level—will need to think globally. Today’s graduates must be prepared to work across communities and countries to succeed.
  • U.S. institutions will need to continue to draw globally mobile students and scholars to stay competitive—especially as global comparisons and rankings exert more influence. As important as growing the number of international students in the United States is increasing their diversity to enrich classrooms with multiple perspectives.

This paper distills some of the most essential information about international education that trustees need to know as they address their institutions’ strategic growth and planning, and help them formulate their institutional foreign policies.