The internationalization of U.S. higher education
Poole, Leigh Anne
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The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions held by international educators and senior international officers within the southeastern United States regarding on-campus internationalization initiatives. Members of NAFSA: Association of International Educators’ Region VII and the Association of International Education Administrators working at institutions in the southeastern United States were invited to participate. The study focused on elements of internationalization including organization and governance, institutional culture, institutional systems of support, professional roles and responsibilities, and internationalization and globalization. The researcher used a locally developed instrument to answer the following four research questions: 1. What are the perceptions held by international educators and senior international officers in the Southeast regarding the strength of their campus’ internationalization initiatives? 2. To what extent do professionals in international education in the Southeast perceive the presence of the elements of internationalization at their current institutions? 3. What are the differences in perceptions of the elements of internationalization based on group type (international educators versus senior international officers)? 4. What are the differences in perceptions of the elements of internationalization based on institutional type (i.e., public, private, two-year, four-year)? Results indicated an association between participants’ roles as international educators and senior international officers and their perceptions regarding the strength of campus internationalization initiatives. Descriptive statistics provided information regarding the extent to which international educators and senior international officers perceived the presence of the elements of internationalization at their current institutions. Results also indicated significant differences among the perceptions of the elements of internationalization based on participants’ roles as international educators or senior international officers. Additionally, participants did not use the terms internationalization and globalization interchangeably. The findings supported the premise that institutions of higher education in the U.S. need to clearly articulate goals and establish common terminology for their campuses prior to implementing internationalization initiatives. The results also illustrated that greater attention and focus should be directed toward exploring what internationalization is and how best to implement it on college and university campuses in the U.S.