Empowering Culture Change: Internationalization in the Academic Department

Jim Perry (University of Minnesota)
Amanda Sames (University of Minnesota)
Susan Galatowitsch (University of Minnesota)


Internationalization of higher education has widespread benefit to society and has become the expected norm. The literature offers many calls for and models of comprehensive internationalization. Society expects higher education graduates to be global ready when they graduate. Responsible citizenship and professional life require that people be inclusive and sensitive to the worldviews of others. Those calls for change raise an opportunity: a model for culture change to be followed by others. University programming is centered at the department, which is the center of faculty life (e.g., teaching, curricular change, interaction with peers, promotion and tenure). The academic department is the center of institutional change. We used a three-year, inclusive process, to develop a strategic, international, intercultural plan for a department in a comprehensive US university. Our plan includes four themes, complemented by 12 goals. Each goal has actions with time frames (i.e., 1-3 years, 5-7 years, 10-12 years). There are 49 total actions. Among those, 28 are in the 1-3 year time frame, and each of those has a responsible actor (e.g., individual or committee). The plan is adaptive, and includes assessment to advance accountability and transparency. We began implementation coincident with the pandemic, and with significant social unrest in our community and nation. The year of experience provided both affirmation and redirection. Our model guides departmental change, empowering necessary growth and offering a model for others wishing to advance internationalization.


Internationalization; Strategic Planning; Inclusivity; Educational Planning; Study Abroad; Intercultural; International Education

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30564/jiep.v4i1&2.3501


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