In recognition of their extraordinary global engagement efforts, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities named Arizona State University; the University of California, San Diego; The Ohio State University; and the University of Minnesota as finalists for its inaugural Institutional Award for Global Learning, Research & Engagement. The award recognizes institutions at the leading edge of inclusive and comprehensive efforts to internationalize their campuses. The winner will be announced during the 2016 APLU Annual Meeting November 13-15 in Austin, Texas.
The University of Minnesota has intentionally engaged its entire community in the world through teaching, learning, and mutual discovery. Like many universities, Minnesota’s faculty is engaged in research that circles the globe and its students are increasingly international, both in origin and in outlook. But it is the institution’s comprehensive integration of internationalization throughout the institution that distinguishes its efforts and inspires intense pride in its community.
Since its founding, the university’s land-grant tradition has been linked to the state’s history and culture of inclusion and support for immigrants and refugees. The impact of those traditions has convinced the institution that while internationalization may be an end in itself, it is also a vehicle by which we can achieve greater outcomes for our citizens and a deeper impact on the next generation of leaders.
The university has thus taken a critical look at internationalization. Under what circumstances does a meaningful exchange of ideas occur? How can it ensure that every student from every discipline graduates not only with a diploma attesting to substantive learning, but also the skills, knowledge, and perspectives necessary to understand the world and work effectively to improve it? How does the university provide the necessary training and opportunities to develop faculty and staff global competencies as well? Successful internationalization requires full participation, meaning there should be no limit to education and understanding.
With the implementation of a new strategic plan focusing on global grand challenges, the university is investing resources and incentives to more fully internationalize its academic and research work. And it will further advance the goal of comprehensive internationalization, with key partners collectively working to address the challenges of a diverse and changing world.