In the NIU strategic planning process, the overall goal for global/international programs is to increase and raise the global profile of NIU through a renewed international initiative in the areas of outreach, study abroad, and international enrollment.
This crucial goal relates to three of the four strategic planning imperatives in the following manner:
Preserve, strengthen, and extend NIU’s teaching and learning environment: Through providing greater opportunities in study abroad programs led by NIU faculty, as well as enrolling more undergraduates from other countries, NIU will develop a more thoroughly internationalized learning environment, which is crucial in order to help NIU students prepare for globalized competition.
Strengthen and extend NIU’s regional and global impact: By reaching out to provide global perspectives to secondary students in our region, by enrolling and graduating more students from other countries, and by providing NIU students more opportunities for global learning, NIU will strengthen institutional impact in the region and around the world.
Make NIU an institution of “first choice” for faculty, students, and staff: In this age of the global economy, raising our global involvement through outreach, enhanced study abroad opportunities, and greater international enrollment will make our institution much more attractive to all communities. These enhancements will make NIU a more exciting and rewarding environment for teaching, learning, and working.
Strategy 1: Design, offer and promote global issues camp for high school students from our region.
Activity: External Programs staff from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and International Programs staff will make plans and identify faculty for this camp to be offered in summer 2010 to regional secondary school students.
Anticipated Outcome: The global issues camp in summer 2010 will introduce regional high school students to current and historical issues around the world. This experience will provide these students with a broader and deeper understanding of the world. Additionally, these students and their families will become more aware of the significant strengths of NIU faculty in global studies and engagement and may therefore consider NIU as a destination institution.
Strategy 2: Support faculty in creating study abroad programs which they would lead for NIU and other university students.
Activity: We are conducting a process to select among competing proposals from NIU faculty and staff to conduct several site visits during Phase One to potential venues for NIU faculty-led study abroad programs. These visits will be conducted during summer 2009 with the resulting study abroad programs to take place for the first time in either summer 2010 or summer 2011. The Study Abroad Office will then provide support to assist faculty and staff in developing these programs for greatest success.
Anticipated Outcome: Faculty and staff will use the information gathered from the summer 2009 site visits to create short term faculty-led study abroad programs which will meet the needs of particular cohorts of students, such as Latino students, Honors students, and potentially students participating in NIU’s CHANCE program. Reaching out to such cohorts by providing programs tailored to their goals will increase the diversity, number, and percentage of NIU students participating in study abroad. Students taking advantage of new study abroad opportunities will become more marketable to employers and will develop existing personal strengths through the challenge of study abroad. Sending more students on study abroad programs will significantly enhance the global profile of NIU and could lead to requests for more global perspectives to be included in our curricula.
Strategy 3: Provide travel grants to students accepted to participate in for-credit study abroad programs.
Activity: In Phases Two and Three, we will conduct a competition among NIU students accepted into for-credit study abroad programs (either NIU or external), to identify students who could most benefit from grants to cover partial travel expenses. These awards will be made for study abroad taking place during fiscal years 2010 and 2011.
Anticipated Outcome: Publicizing this competition will increase interest in study abroad and should serve to increase our numbers and participation, as well as our diversity. With some of the financial burden removed, students who have not previously considered study abroad as a serious option should be more likely to participate. The travel grants will indicate to all students, parents, and faculty that NIU is fully committed to increasing the number of students who can study abroad. The grants will also underline our commitment to making it possible for students of all economic backgrounds to gain the most significant international experience possible.
Strategy 4: Initiate active recruiting for international undergraduate students in China and maintain this recruiting program for the three years of the strategic plan.
Activity: In March 2009 a representative from the International Student & Faculty Office of the Division of International Programs participated in a recruiting tour of China, a new and growing undergraduate market, with college fairs in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Nanjing, and Beijing. Because recruiting efforts of this nature cannot accurately be assessed before three years of results are obtained, we will continue this project in Phases Two and Three.
Anticipated Outcome: Significantly greater numbers of undergraduate students from China will apply to NIU and eventually enroll. These students will likely participate more fully than graduate students in the life of the campus. In addition, having more undergraduate international students on campus will allow more US students to interact productively with students from another culture. Enrolling more students from China will stimulate greater interest in that nation among faculty, staff and students and may lead to the inclusion of more global perspectives in our curricula.