Lessons learned, pathways forward

Christine Ruth/UVU Review

On Nov. 5 Utah Valley University held the inaugural International Higher Education Summit for Utah entitled, “Lessons Learned, Pathways Forward.”

It was an all day event at UVU and was attended by officials from many of the well known schools in Utah including: BYU, SUU, UVU, Snow College, Salt Lake Community College, USU, University of Utah, Weber State, and Westminster.

The purpose of the day was to highlight how campuses around the nation have incorporated studies with an international flavor. It was also introduced on how a campus can start to improve or begin international education in their institutions.

At the opening session of the day, Dr. Barbara A. Hill, who is the senior associate for the Center for International Initiatives American Council of Education (ACE), spoke as the keynote speaker. Hill presented many of her experiences with mapping internationalization onto U.S. campuses. Hill also defined internationalization as adding an international aspect to teaching, learning and service to a university.

There were two ACE surveys done in 2001 and 2006 to come up with the information for a study done in the U.S. on international studies at campuses. The survey was done in attempts to discover whether universities have international foreign language, learning abroad or campuses abroad incorporated into their school system.

Hill presented that the number one finding according to the survey was that many students throughout the nation are interested in studying abroad programs, learning a different language and being informed on international learning opportunities.

Hill mentioned that half of the of students surveyed were actually interested in going to study abroad. Hill’s first recommendation for universities was to learn about student interests and backgrounds and build upon this information. The second finding was that very few students actually go abroad to study, and that half of the institutions surveyed do not have international/global course requirements.

Her recommendation was to focus on curriculum to ensure that all students engage in international/global learning.

The third finding was that institutions are investing in faculty development and funding. Hill’s recommendation was to invest more in faculty development to advance the research and development of international studies.

The fourth finding was that the data showed a mixed picture when it comes to integrating international studies for institutions in the planning and assessing stages. A recommendation for this was to create a strategy.

The fifth finding was that there are gaps between international rhetoric and reality. The recommendation for this was to ensure active leadership.

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