As higher education institutions seek to internationalize their campuses, it is critical that faculty members not only participate in these endeavors, but also offer guidance and leadership. What kind of environment promotes faculty commitment to, and engagement in, comprehensive internationalization? What institutional barriers hinder faculty motivation in internationalizing their curriculum?

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These selections provide a sample of current research on this complex topic. Articles are listed with the most recent year first, then alphabetically.

Finkelstein, Martin J., and Elaine Walker, and Rong Chen 2013. "The American Faculty in an Age of Globalization: Predictors of Internationalization of Research Content and Professional Networks." Higher Education 66 (3): 325–340. doi:10.1007/s10734-012-9607-3. Abstract
Finkelstein et al. conducted a survey of more than 1,100 respondents nationwide to identify the characteristics of faculty members and their institutions that lead them to internationalize. They concluded that the main motivating factors included: campuses where faculty themselves are the instigators of internationalization efforts; faculty members who themselves have lived abroad as adults for at least one year; and age – older faculty members reported that their research is more internationally collaborative than more junior faculty members.
O'Connor, Gavin C., et al. 2013. "Internationalization of General Education Curricula in Community Colleges: A Faculty Perspective." Community College Journal of Research and Practice 37 (12): 966–978. doi:10.1080/10668926.2010.515512. Abstract
This article reports the results of a study of faculty members at 18 community colleges across Missouri. O'Connor et al. questioned 243 faculty members about their impressions, experience, and attitude toward internationalization. While most of the results were not surprising, the conclusions contradict Finkelstein's results in one important way. Finkelstein showed that individual faculty willingness to internationalize has the greatest impact on internationalization, while this study showed that even if faculty members are eager to internationalize, they cannot follow through on their initiatives without institutional support.
Toral, Sergio Luis, Nik Bessis, and María del Rocio Martínez-Torres. 2013. "External Collaboration Patterns of Research Institutions Using Shared Publications in the Web of Science." Program: Electronic Library and Information Systems 47 (2): 170–187. doi:10.1108/00330331311313753. Abstract
Using quantitative data extracted from Thomson Reuters' Web of Science research platform, Sergio Toral et al. identify patterns in international collaboration among research institutions in the United Kingdom. The research analyzes co-authorship of published works between universities and research institutions in England with institutions outside England. Co-authorship indicates collaborations, and the Web of Science data reveal the quantity, quality, intensity, and scope of such work. The researchers propose to use their data to design policies that encourage and reward internationalization.
Agnew, Melanie. 2012. "Strategic Planning: An Examination of the Role of Disciplines in Sustaining Internationalization of the University." Journal of Studies in International Education 17 (2): 183–202. doi:10.1177/1028315312464655. Abstract
Agnew explores the ways in which faculty in different disciplines (pure sciences, humanities, technologies, and applied social sciences) and in different types of institutions (land grant, comprehensive university, and urban university) interpret and express the importance of internationalization in their respective areas. Through focus groups and document analysis, Agnew identifies very different ways in which the disciplines and the university category determine views of internationalization. The results lead Agnew to suggest that universities need to consider disciplines and their university context when they work on strategic planning.
Friesen, Rhonda. 2012. "Faculty Member Engagement in Canadian University Internationalization: A Consideration of Understanding, Motivations and Rationales." Journal of Studies in International Education 17 (3): 209–227. doi:10.1177/1028315312451132. Abstract
With a sample size of five faculty members who work at five different Canadian universities, all of whom were nominated for an award for their contributions to internationalization, Friesen explores how these faculty members view internationalization, how they believe their institutions view internationalization, and how much they contributed to their institution's progress in internationalizing the campus. The majority of her respondents point to personal experiences as their reason for being interested in internationalization, and the faculty members offer different examples of how they engage, or do not engage, with their institution's goal in this area. Friesen recommends that institutions spend more time explaining their internationalization efforts and provide more administrative help in the form of tenure and promotion; special awards; and financial assistance.

Additional Resources

  • Clark, Bonnie M. 2013. Faculty Perceptions of the Importance of Internationalizing the General Education Curriculum in the Florida College System. PhD diss. University of South Florida. Full Text