Engage Leadership

Discussions about engaging leadership can transpire within colleges of education, the broader campus setting, and within the policy arena. When conducting these efforts, it is critical to keep the message and strategy in mind – are you seeking to inform, influence, or recruit support? For the greatest impact, it is also almost always necessary to align your internationalization agenda to broader campus goals. Ensure your measurable objectives complement the broader strategic plan, internationalization efforts, and serve the community. Data collection on program impact and thoroughly planning decision points will allow you to make the case for support.

Deans and assistant deans can provide access to resources and use their “bully pulpits” to amplify messages and create a climate that supports the preparation of globally competent teachers. Indiana University is recognized nationally for its Cultural Immersions Program, which provides overseas student teaching experiences for its teacher candidates. Five years ago, Gerardo Gonzalez, Dean of the School of Education, established a $100,000 incentive fund to take internationalization to the next level. Activities supported by this fund included grants for faculty to build international or global themes into undergraduate education courses and the result is a transformed system.

Building faculty support and leadership for internationalization is also critical. According to Merry Merryfield, an early pioneer in global education for teachers at The Ohio State University who recently retired, “Faculty need to discuss what global/international means in their programs and agree on what they expect as an end product. Then they can build assessments and teaching/learning experiences to meet those goals.”  Heather Lattimer at the University of San Diego agrees and suggests a more preliminary step, “Faculty from different courses or programs can be using similar terms and meaning completely different things. It is important to invest the time to ensure everyone is using the same lexicon in order to set goals and accomplish work collectively.”

Ensuring systemic change that will result in an international education for all teacher candidates requires vision and a plan within a school, college, or department of education, ideally one that is supported by a campus-wide strategy as described above. Developing a plan maximizes resources and helps ensure that activities are coordinated and sustainable.

At Michigan State University’s College of Education, the Department of Teacher Education internationalized all of their programs through research, teaching, service, and outreach under the leadership of the previous dean and these efforts continue under the current leadership. They began by defining global competencies for all students and faculty, then redesigned courses within programs at all levels to develop those competencies. These efforts have resulted in the development of the Global Educators Cohort Program.  MSU has also extended partnerships and networks in their community and around the world to strengthen students’ experiences and faculty capacity, redesigning study abroad offerings and developing opportunities for research, teaching, and service.

In 2007, Paula Cordeiro, Dean of the University of San Diego’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES), led the institution in a strategic planning process. One of three goals identified by the school then included developing “highly effective, socially responsible, and marketable students through International Programs.” To achieve this goal SOLES identified three objectives:

  1. Expand opportunities for SOLES faculty to engage in international research projects, partnerships and/or professional development activities,
  2. Internationalize curricula across all programs, and
  3. Establish a requirement for all SOLES students to engage in an international experience before program completion.

Some of the activities implemented as part of SOLES’ plan build on the institution’s previous international work; others are new. Including internationalization in the school’s five-year plan highlights the importance of these activities to the institution and makes explicit the school’s commitment to developing others.  SOLES work has evolved as well – not only creating rich internationalized courses and experience for their students, but also placing them in classrooms that have been internationalized for their student teaching experiences. Their next challenge will be to ensure the level of global understanding they have integrated into their physical location will transition to their online learning programs under development.

Leaders engaging other leadership is a natural connection, but what about faculty interested in engaging their institution’s leadership? Many of the same principles apply – look for alignment and solution building within existing initiatives, seek out likeminded peers who share an interest in internationalization, and create opportunities to highlight successful practice. One of the advantages to a community like GTE is the access this resource provides to others who share your interest.  Find others who share your interests through our Member Directory.  Use the GTE Forums and the case studies to their fullest advantage.

Questions to Consider:

How connected are your internationalization efforts to the strategic plan in your department? College? Campus? System? Have you articulated this alignment to campus leadership?

Cultivating future leaders among current faculty is another topic worthy of consideration. What opportunities are there to serve on international committees, compete for research travel grants, or to present and contribute to peer groups on the topic of internationalization exists on your campus? What opportunities can be created?

Faculty and Campus Strategies: