Global Engagement



Global Engagement at the University of Michigan


Global Engagement at the University of Michigan: Conclusion

The University of Michigan is already a premier global university. However, we must continue to commit our energy and resources to advance the internationalization of the curriculum, our research, and the campus. The University must continue to build on its ability to compete for the best and brightest students and faculty members from around the country and the world. Through a new commitment to global engagement, the University will provide its students with a wide range of international educational opportunities to prepare them to be global citizens. Our students represent the next generation of leaders, inventors, problem solvers and teachers, and for them to be successful it is essential to understand the interconnectedness of our world. By enabling students, staff, and faculty to work collaboratively with partners across the globe, more informed, creative and incisive contributions will be made to the campus and the world. Therefore, the University must bring the same level of excellence to global engagement as it does to other University-wide initiatives, such as diversity and interdisciplinarity.

Centralized campus strategies are organized under (1) click-and-mortar and (2) people. Click represents the electronic world, and particularly an interactive database and information portal for international experiences. Mortar represents the campus footprint of internationalization, advancing the creation of an academic, service, and cultural center with recognizable international focus. It also focuses on the opportunities and removal of cost barriers for international experiences, both short and long; on growing the stream of international students, researcher, and visitors to campus; and on leveraging the extensive international character of our alumni.

Embedded within our evolving conversations, as expressed in this report, is a belief that every student who completes a University degree should have at least a minimum of exposure to the international dimensions of his or her field of study, that the University should encourage students to seek more than a minimum level of exposure, and that the University should increase the scope, quality and depth of the opportunities available to students and faculty members seeking to engage more fully with international themes and issues.

Our focus on internationalization should start with our applications process and emphasize “when” rather than “if ” our students have international experiences. Early exposure to international people, issues, and cultures, both on and off campus, are key toward a more international University of Michigan. Throughout the curriculum we should emphasize the intercultural and international dimensions of our education. We are already uniquely positioned to leverage our international students and faculty members, as well as our international alumni and friends, for this purpose.

Some of the observations and perspectives in this report are by necessity general and sometimes bold. Additional work will be needed to determine whether and how each one of the recommendations might best be implemented. Some of this future work can be undertaken by a presidential or provost-appointed task force on internationalization, comparable to the presidential task force on multidisciplinary learning and team teaching that was established to address issues of implementation associated with interdisciplinarity--the focus of the University’s special emphasis study for reaccreditation review in 2000. A campus-wide effort as part of a presidential internationalization initiative that includes educational, research, and engagement elements has great potential to quickly elevate the University of Michigan among the leaders in this important area.