Why universities must innovate in global engagement

How is the landscape of higher education shifting and what does global engagement mean for universities and colleges today? What innovative approaches are they taking and what are the lessons for other institutions aiming to internationalise?

These questions will be debated by a panel of university and college presidents who will share their experience of leading internationalisation in a webinar organised by StudyPortals on 1 November. University World News is the media partner for the event.

Click here to attend the live webinar or receive a video recording.

The debate is being framed and moderated by Rahul Choudaha, executive vice-president of global engagement, research and intelligence at StudyPortals, the global study choice platform, and a long-time commentator on University World News.

He cites the work of Sheila Embleton, who defines global engagement in a briefing paper by the Canadian Bureau for International Education as “a committed, meaningful interaction with the world as a whole”; and Lou Anna K Simon, who in a publication by the American Council on Education says global engagement is about “committing to meaningful relationships with partners in other parts of the world”.

Choudaha says both definitions assert that, at its core, internationalisation of higher education is about identifying and implementing opportunities for meaningful relationships and interactions around the world.

“Embedded in this approach is the rationale for developing global citizens who are positively contributing to make our world a better place in times of divisive politics, disruptive technologies and widening inequities,” he says.

He says the modes of engagement include international student recruitment and alumni engagement, education or work abroad and exchanges, internationalisation of the curriculum, internationalisation at home, and various forms of transnational education including joint or double degrees, foreign branch campuses, online learning and massive open online courses or MOOCs.

However, global engagement is also facing several barriers including rising nationalistic and anti-immigrant policies, de-funding of public higher education, the increasing cost of private higher education, widening gaps of access and equity and shifting demographics.

“Higher education leaders face a daunting task of resourcing their global engagement ambitions while ensuring its global relevance and local impact. In specific, institutional leaders must find innovative ways to prioritise, design and implement global engagement strategies.”

The panelists for the webinar include:

Ann Buller, president, Centennial College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ann Buller has led Centennial College since 2004 through major transformative changes and firmly established its impact and relevance. Centennial offers students an education embedded with the values of diversity, equity and social justice issues that affect our world. Previously, Buller served a three-year term as the chief learning officer of Nova Scotia Community College. Prior to that, Buller served for two years as the vice-president for students at Centennial.

Ashish K Vaidya, interim president, St Cloud State University, St Cloud, Minnesota, United States

Ashish Vaidya was named as interim president of St Cloud State University in 2016. He is leading the university as a campus community towards the ideals of ‘Our Husky Compact’ – a bond shared by the university and its students to engage as members of a diverse and multicultural world. Vaidya came to the university as provost and vice-president for academic affairs in 2015. Previously, he served as provost and vice-president for academic affairs at California State University, Los Angeles.

Elizabeth J Stroble, president, Webster University, St Louis, Missouri, United States

Elizabeth Stroble was named the 11th president of Webster University in 2009. During her tenure, Webster University, a global institution with a network of campus locations around the world, has solidified its reputation as a truly global university. Strengthening Webster’s academic profile and global outreach has attracted significant support from corporations, foundations, and government sources. Her career includes academic and administrative appointments at the University of Akron, the University of Louisville, and Northern Arizona University.

Rahul Choudaha, executive vice-president, StudyPortals (Moderator)

Rahul Choudaha is executive vice-president of global engagement, research and intelligence at StudyPortals. Choudaha is a recognised scholar practitioner with expertise on data-informed internationalisation strategies in the context of shifting student mobility trends and evolving transnational education models. Choudaha blogs and tweets on global higher education trends, including for University World News. He is also affiliated as a research associate with the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley, United States.

Click here to attend the live webinar or receive a video recording.