American Council on Education Will Expand Efforts in International Education

November 07, 2011

The American Council on Education plans to increase its efforts as an advocate for international education and to help colleges and universities internationalize, according to a new report from the organization.

The report, "Strength Through Global Leadership and Engagement: U.S. Higher Education in the 21st Century," says that while American institutions have historically been the international leaders in attracting foreign students and producing research, the world is changing. With greater globalization of societies and increased scientific prowess in China and Europe, among other factors, the report says American institutions have to collaborate more with institutions abroad and find new ways of operating overseas to remain competitive.

In line with that, the council wants to help colleges forge global strategies, said Molly Corbett Broad, president of ACE. All too often, she said, colleges are "opportunistic" in their international efforts and fail to develop cohesive plans related to the institutions' fundamental mission and values. While different types of institutions will approach internationalization differently, she emphasized that there are a number of issues that most will have to contend with, like understanding how such efforts benefit the home campus and explaining the value to students, alumni, lawmakers, and others.

Last year ACE reorganized its international staff to offer more fee-based consulting services to individual institutions. Those efforts will continue, but ACE will also offer advice more broadly through Webinars, meetings, and other services, said Patti McGill Peterson, a former executive director of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars who will lead ACE's revamped international efforts.

Ms. Broad also said ACE expects to speak out more on international issues that affect higher education, like immigration policy and federal spending for foreign-language and area studies. "There's absolutely a void that needs to be filled, and we're going to put our oar in this water," she said.

The report's recommendations were developed by a panel of higher-education leaders and experts from the United States, Britain, and elsewhere. John Sexton, president of New York University, led the panel.


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