College and university leaders from 10 countries met during NAFSA's 5th annual Campus Presidents' Day on Monday and Tuesday this week to explore the challenges of promoting comprehensive internationalization. The program opened on Monday evening with a dinner featuring David Wheeler, editor-at-large, global, for The Chronicle of Higher Education. His key lesson: if U.S. higher education doesn't adapt to the international competition for talent--and rapidly--it will lose reputation and credibility around the world. According to Wheeler, institutions need to expand their capacities to recruit the best faculty and staff from around the world and strategically manage their international partnerships at the highest level.
On Tuesday, Tom Melcher, chairman of Zinch China, shared some essential lessons on international engagement with China. To demonstrate the need for overcoming resistance to internationalization, he pulled out his iPhone and reminded everyone "this is a global device," both in terms of production and use, and students need to be able to discuss that reality intelligently. In keeping with our advocacy theme this week, Melcher also reminded the audience that broken federal immigration policy, along with state governments defunding higher education, will cause higher education to fail at opening minds. Clara Lovett, president emerita at Northern Arizona University, turned the focus to how presidents can manage up to their boards of trustees, to provide strategic guidance to both strategizing and sustaining internationalization.
Campus Presidents' Day was hosted by Renu Khator, chancellor and president of the University of Houston, and Mary Spangler, chancellor of Houston Community College, who each provided insights into international efforts at their truly global institutions. The day also featured a networking and strategy session facilitated by Waded Cruzado, president of Montana State University, who led participants in creating a model action plan for advancing internationalization.