Recruiting Internationally Minded Faculty and the Role of Visiting International Faculty

Recruiting permanent and visiting faculty members offers the opportunity to deeply connect faculty and students to global perspectives. Whether these professionals are tenure track or visitors, potential contributions to your campus and community are significant. Leadership and committees play an important role in ensuring that an aptitude for international perspectives is an integral part of any recruitment process.

Recruiting Internationally Minded Faculty

Seeking and hiring teacher educators who have international interests is one way to internationalize a teacher education program. Some institutions have begun to do just that. At the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES), candidates are asked what languages they speak and how their experiences and interests will assist the school in internationalizing the curriculum.  Other colleges of education are aligning their job descriptions with their internationalized strategic plans, thereby only considering candidates who can demonstrate a commitment to international interests.

Colleges of education may attract internationally minded faculty by creating an environment where international efforts are emphasized and where they feel supported to pursue international research agendas. Bowling Green State University hosts The Center for International Comparative Education (ICE) in its College of Education.  The Center provides opportunities for faculty to work together on research, seek funding, and collaborate with others interested in international issues.  Michigan State University sponsors an “Internationalization” section on the College of Education website that features the global research interest of faculty, international funding, international development projects, and internationalization efforts for courses.

Recruiting faculty from diverse backgrounds can also bring international and cross-cultural perspectives to a teacher education prorgram.  Bill McDiarmid, dean of the college of education at UNC Chapel Hill, notes that he actively seeks faculty with international experience or immigrant status.  In his presentation at the 2013 NAFSA Colloquium on Internationalizing Teacher Education, he noted that he does so by instructing search committees that he values that experience and asks them to take it into consideration during searches.  As a result, he has increased the number of faculty with from immigrant or international backgrounds.

The Role of Visiting Faculty

Most universities in the United States receive international visitors for stays of varying lengths. Visiting scholars can be excellent resources for their counterparts and relationships should continue beyond their visits. Indiana University offers a comprehensive toolkit on its website providing potential international scholars the necessary forms and information to apply and spend up to a full academic year on campus working with a faculty sponsor. The University hosts between 20 and 25 scholars from all over the world every year.  Visiting scholars are asked to present either their research or their approaches to education. Many of the visiting faculty enroll their children in local schools, offering learning opportunities for local teachers and students. To support these partnerships, students in the School of Education, many of whom are international students themselves, serve as Goodwill Ambassadors and offer tips on housing, courses, and the local area to incoming scholars.  The School's International Programs Committee also supports visiting faculty.

The Indiana model is replicated around the United States at campuses seeking to strengthen their expertise and build perspectives. A study from the University of Maryland (Niehaus & Williams, 2012) supports that the role of international faculty in curricular transformation and in representing international perspectives is crucial.

Niehaus, E and Williams, L.  (2012).  The Role of Faculty Development in Curricular Transformation for Internationalization.  Papaer presented at the American Educational Research Association Conference, Vancouver, Canada.  

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