Strategic Plan for Internationalization

January 2020


Executive summary

“The business of universities is ideas: the creation of ideas through research and the dissemination of ideas through education and application. Increasingly, the business of universities is as much across as it is within borders, and not just in the free flow of ideas but in the global flow of students and scholars who generate them. There are fewer workable restrictions on the global circulation of ideas than in almost any other area of trade…

…Comprehensive internationalization is a commitment, confirmed through action, to infuse international and comparative perspectives throughout the teaching, research and service missions of higher education. It shapes institutional ethos and values and touches the entire higher education enterprise. It is essential that it be embraced by institutional leadership, governance, students and all academic service and support unites. It is an institutional imperative, not just a desirable possibility.

Comprehensive internationalization not only impacts all of campus life, but the institution’s external frames of reference, partnerships and relations. The global reconfiguration of economies, systems of trade, research and communication, and the impact of global forces on local life, dramatically expand the need for comprehensive internationalization and the motivations and purposes driving it” (Hudzik, 2011).

In the fall of 2019, MU Provost Latha Ramchand convened the University of Missouri Internationalization Strategic Planning Committee (Appendix A), with the following charge:

“The goal is to provide a comprehensive plan for internationalization that supports the compacts with the MU Strategic Plan. Areas for consideration within the plan include student mobility, university collaborations and partnerships, faculty engagement, global learning in curriculum, and institutional commitment.

As we work to expand our international reach and reputation, we must be strategic in where we invest our time and resources. Identifying priority partnerships, collaborations and countries where we expect growth in student mobility, research and other types of global engagement, will enable us to focus our efforts.”

Committee process

Our committee members discussed and agreed upon a transparent, evidence-based and systematic process to create a comprehensive strategic plan (see Appendix B: Strategic planning process). The committee members also authored a statement of values related to internationalization, derived from the four values that serve as the foundation for the university (Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, Excellence). The committee then conducted an assessment phase regarding the current state of internationalization at MU, combining existing data and collecting additional data via surveys and stakeholder input from across the university community. Our findings from this phase are presented in Appendix D: SWOT analysis, where we summarize the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats specific to internationalization at MU, and in Appendix E, which presents longer narrative-form summaries of assessment phase findings. Finally, we identified a comprehensive set of strategic priorities for internationalization, based on assessment phase findings.

Strategic priorities

The committee identified four priority areas for comprehensive institutional internationalization.

  1. Achieving excellence in global education for all students.
  2. Attracting and supporting international students.
  3. Supporting faculty internationalization.
  4. Strengthening MU’s key strategic international partnerships and collaborations

Our committee next identified a set of goals related to these four priority areas. We aimed to describe goals that were specific, motivating, achievable, realistic and measurable, and were clearly linked to compacts of the larger MU Strategic Plan.

The goals identified by the committee describe actionable strategies to:

  • Increase and diversify access to study abroad participation, a high-impact experiential learning practice.
  • Design innovative interdisciplinary study abroad programs to address society’s grand challenges and leverage MU’s research capabilities.
  • Provide meaningful global experiences and global learning pathways for all MU students, to enable students to develop essential global perspectives without leaving Columbia.
  • Develop a comprehensive recruitment plan for international student recruitment, particularly the undergraduate population, which has significant growth potential.
  • Improve the international student experience, so they can thrive across all aspects of academic and campus life.
  • Promote a greater sense of safety and security for international students and visiting scholars.
  • Catalog the existing significant international research and collaborations occurring on campus, to identify and capitalize on areas where further collaboration can drive excellence.
  • Support and incentivize international work and collaboration, via faculty development, more accessible information regarding existing programs and opportunities for collaboration, and support for international grant identification, proposal writing, logistics and making connections/networking.
  • Clearly signal that the institution values international work in faculty-facing communications (a low-cost intervention to promote internationalization).
  • Streamline and standardize the international MOU process, cataloging existing IMOUs and developing and disseminating IMOU templates.
  • Proactively advance strategic and legacy partnerships, with input from the Council on International Initiatives and the deans.

We also identified the resources needed and estimated costs (where possible) to achieve these goals.

Looking ahead

The members of the MU Internationalization Strategic Planning Committee are pleased to submit this strategic plan to the university community.

As with the larger institutional strategic plan, the internationalization strategic plan is meant to be a living document. We welcome and encourage input and feedback from members of the community.

Internationalization Strategic Planning Committee co-chairs

Mary Stegmaier, Ph.D.
Interim vice provost for International Programs and interim director, International Center

Tina Bloom, Ph.D., MPH, RN
Faculty fellow for International Programs

Statement of values: Internationalization at the University of Missouri

The University of Missouri is an internationalization institution that creates solutions for society’s grand challenges. MU engages with students, faculty, staff, visitors and partners around the world to build enduring, strategic and respectful international relationships for education, research, service and economic development.

We provide comprehensive services, support and expertise related to the global context. These include policies, procedures and a higher education curriculum infused with global perspectives, experiences and awareness of other cultures and practices; international cultural and academic support programming; and advocacy for international education at local, state and national levels. We foster educational, learning, service and research experiences for MU students and faculty abroad, and for international students and scholars in our midst.

As a flagship of the future, MU recognizes that global contexts are more important now than ever before to Missourians and Missouri industries. We train future leaders for agriculture, education, health care, the military, sciences and other key sectors in the state’s economy to expand their worldviews and understand, anticipate and thrive in rapidly changing, fast-moving global contexts.

Respect: Respect for self and others is the foundation of honor and the basis of integrity and ethical action. Respect means we seek to learn about the rest of the world. We foster a welcoming and safe home for all of our visitors, students, staff and faculty, wherever they are from. We are a place where international relationships are built and strengthened. Our partnerships around the world are based upon mutual respect, mutual benefit and knowledge exchange. We recognize and highly value the significant positive scholarly and economic benefits international students bring to our campus and to the state of Missouri.

Responsibility: MU is a priceless state resource with a unique physical infrastructure and scholarly environment in which our missions of education, research, service and economic development are interwoven. Responsibility requires us to be thoughtful stewards — accountable to ourselves, each other and the public that we serve. Responsibility means we reflect on our moral obligations, and we consider the economic development of the state. We must train future leaders for the military, academics, agriculture, the sciences, health care and other disciplines to understand, anticipate and thrive in complex global contexts, strengthening state industries and providing a key service on behalf of Missouri’s citizens.

Discovery: The distinct mission of the University of Missouri is to provide all Missourians the benefits of a world-class research university and to advance the arts and humanities, the sciences and the professions. We stand for lifelong learning and the discovery of knowledge. We recognize scientific discovery also takes place in a fast-changing and complex global context, and is facilitated by strategic and collaborative partnerships. Therefore, we serve the state of Missouri by building key international partnerships, designing innovative international programs and by supporting faculty international research and collaboration with partners around the world.

Excellence: Our work is driven by our commitment to public service — the obligation to produce and disseminate knowledge that will improve the quality of life in Missouri, the nation and the world. Excellence is approached through diligent effort, both individual and collective, and is informed by regional, national and global standards.

Strategic priorities for internationalization

The following section presents the priority strategic goals for internationalization. These goals were identified based upon our SWOT analysis and discussions with stakeholders, in the process outlined in Appendix B. Goals are not presented in a ranked order and should be considered to be of equal importance.

Each goal includes the following information:

  • Alignment with the larger institutional strategic plan for MU.
  • Specific actionable strategies to reach the goal.
  • Estimated resources needed to achieve the goal.

Priority: Excellence in global education for all students

Study abroad is a cornerstone high-impact experiential learning practice that has been demonstrated in research to promote student recruitment, retention and academic success, including improving time to graduation (particularly for vulnerable students). These goals are directly related to MU’s strategic commitment to excellence in student success.

Goal: Increase total study abroad participation to 2,000 students (undergraduate, graduate, professional) by 2025.
With the recent number of 1,298 study abroad participants per year, MU is currently ranked #56 in the nation for universities sending students abroad (IIE’s Open Doors report). There are 29 Association of American Universities schools ahead of us in study abroad rankings. Within the Southern Educational Conference, MU ranks #7 (out of 14) for sending students abroad on credit-bearing programs. Increasing our study abroad participation to 2,000 students will place us among the top 25 U.S. institutions sending students abroad.

Alignment with institutional strategic plan
  • Aligns with numerous goals, e.g., to make Mizzou a first-choice destination for high-achieving students through campuswide and college-specific signature programs for undergraduate students; to increase first-year undergraduate student retention to 93% and number of annual degree completions to 10,000 by 2023; to cultivate a stronger transfer-friendly environment and increase enrollment of transfer students; increase student thriving, engagement, and sense of belonging through accessible support, community, and mentorship; and to decrease time to degree completion (Strategic Plan, page 13–14).
  • Strategic actions taken to meet this goal also support larger institutional goals to ensure that all students participate in experiential learning opportunities (e.g., internships, undergraduate research, study abroad, alternative spring breaks, and student employment) (Strategic Plan, page 18); to increase study abroad participation for underrepresented students through marketing efforts, events and collaborations across MU and to improve the onboarding and general experience of first-time and transfer students (Strategic Plan, page 34); to strive to ensure a safe learning, living, and working environment (Strategic Plan, page 39); and goals to create centers of expertise to develop and execute strategy, policies, and procedures, evaluate variations across processes, programs, and operations to identify common approaches and mitigate risk, and standardize and leverage economies of scale across all divisions, with savings directed toward the academic mission (Strategic Plan, page 42).
  • Actions taken under this goal also align with institutional aims to recognize and value teaching excellence through promotion and tenure process and campus awards and to recognize, reward, and retain advisors who excel at promoting student success (Strategic Plan, page 15).
Strategic actions to meet this goal
  • Establish clear learning outcomes for study abroad at MU across the disciplines.
  • Design five high enrollment, short-term intensive (10-14 days), credit bearing, affordable faculty-led programs for freshmen and sophomore students based at strategic partner institutions — University of the Western Cape (South Africa), Ghent University (Belgium), Chonnam National University (South Korea), University of Manchester (England), Monash University (Australia), and UNIMINUTO (Colombia) among others — to introduce students to a “global Mizzou” and help students find their academic, professional, and personal vocation early in their careers.
  • Create a study abroad pathway program for admission of new MU transfer students where they can participate in a short-term, credit bearing, intensive winter-break or summer program before their first semester of on-campus studies at MU. Participation in this intensive study abroad program will allow new transfer students to find quickly a faculty mentor and student cohort at MU (even before the regular semester begins).
  • Develop a first semester/first year semester abroad program at trusted partner universities to attract high-achieving students and to alleviate projected shortage of on-campus housing. Start program by fall 2021 and expect to send a total of 50 students by 2025. These programs will include a service-learning, research, and/or internship experience abroad.
  • Develop strategic collaborations with MU’s foreign language academic programs to create signature freshmen and sophomore level experiential learning programs where study abroad can dramatically increase their foreign language proficiency. Consequently, these programs can significantly boost enrollment numbers of MU students adding a second major or minor in a foreign language.
  • Create an MU Global Accelerator Program where students can earn up to 9–12 hours of MU credit during study abroad summer school (8–9 weeks) in global capitals such as London, Dublin, Prague, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, etc. These courses can be open to international students in the area for free or at a very competitive rate so we can recruit them for degree-seeking programs at MU.
  • Design and offer at least five study abroad embedded spring/spring break faculty-led programs starting spring break 2021 with a minimum enrollment of 20 students per program. These courses will be open to all students (undergraduate/graduate/professional). The courses should fulfill core requirements of student programs (humanities/social sciences/general education requirements).
  • Design a plan to provide study abroad experiences to online and distance students through strategic promotion of short-term intensive study abroad experiences and embedded spring break study abroad courses.
  • Partner with Mizzou Athletics to design short-term customized study abroad programs for student athletes to increase their academic retention and success. These programs could include athletic exhibition games in strategic locations of the world and service/sport clinics in developing parts of the world.
  • Campuswide training and site visits for academic advisors so they actively promote study abroad opportunities among students. Total budget of $15,000 per year to send four to five academic advisors to national conferences or familiarization trips/site visits of MU strategic study abroad programs and partners.
  • Double the Council on International Initiatives scholarship annual fund from $10,000 to $20,000 by December 2020 to provide ten $2,000 scholarships for high-achieving first generation freshmen and sophomore students.
  • Establish the Study Abroad Teaching Excellence Award by May 2020 to recognize outstanding faculty work in the design and leadership of study abroad programs.
  • Improve the management and coordination of the decentralized study abroad model at MU (seven different study abroad offices) through the following principles:
    • Students first: Create a one-stop-shop study abroad experience and application process for all Mizzou students.
    • Business efficiency: Substantially alleviate workload of the following units with new, streamlined approach: Cashiers, Financial Aid, academic advisors, International Admissions, Business Services, General Counsel, etc.
    • Academic excellence: Place academic units and faculty at the center of curriculum design.
    • Affordability: Develop programs with competitive rates for students. Leverage campus resources to cut costs for students, reduce bureaucratic redundancies for students, and maximize revenue for administering units.
  • Maximize health, safety, and security of all students participating in for credit and non-credit bearing international activities through a reliable online registration database to keep track of student travels and 24/7 real-time crisis management support (in the event of natural disasters, terror attacks, etc.).
  • Work with academic departments and department chairs to ensure that all MU academic disciplines offer international experiential learning opportunities for students to the extent that is feasible for the discipline (e.g., internships, research, service-learning).
  • Collaborate and coordinate study abroad efforts across the UM System study abroad offices. As a system, we currently send 1,677 students abroad per year: MU 1,298 | UMKC 202 | UMSL 126 | Missouri S&T 51. MU could serve as central study abroad provider for the system and assist other UM System universities with management, development, and delivery of study abroad programs.
  • Strengthen student exchange programs; for example, strengthen University of the Western Cape (South Africa) UM System student exchange program and improve marketing of Henry Mitchell scholarship.
  • Designate three short-term, faculty-led study abroad programs open to all UM System students with at least five participants from each campus by summer 2021.
  • Provide open study abroad enrollment for UM System students.
  • Honor Missouri residency status across all campuses.
Goal: Design transdisciplinary study abroad programs (for undergraduate/graduate/professional students) that create solutions that solve the grand challenges facing Missouri and the world (use study abroad and internationalization of the curriculum to leverage MU's research capabilities).
Through this goal, MU can directly connect study abroad efforts and internationalization of the curriculum efforts with its outstanding research capabilities and networks. Under this goal, we can recruit faculty and graduate students from different disciplines to design multidisciplinary study abroad programs that give students the opportunity to solve real world issues (e.g., UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals), in addition to breaking our campus academic and administrative silos. With this goal, we seek to pursue national grant funding opportunities and design student-led active research projects (e.g., NSF International Research Experiences for Students-IREX; 100,0000 Strong in the Americas Grants) and produce future publications.

Alignment with institutional strategic plan
  • Aligns with numerous goals, including to launch the Mizzou Innovates program to focus on engaging students, faculty, and staff from all colleges and schools in identifying and solving grand challenges in Missouri and the world (Strategic Plan, page 28); support programs that assist faculty and staff in creating inclusive learning environments (Strategic Plan, page 14); increase utilization of summer and intersession courses and system-wide courses sharing to enhance timely completions and to develop approaches to help students connect out-of-classroom experiences to career exploration (Strategic Plan, page 17-18); expand interdisciplinary, international partnerships, such as the Hidden Treasure of Rome initiative that engages multiple university and industry partners to advance our understanding of culture and history (Strategic Plan, page 23).
  • Supports other student-focused goals, including to make Mizzou a first-choice destination for high-achieving students through campuswide and college-specific signature programs for undergraduate students; to increase first-year undergraduate student retention to 93% and number of annual degree completions to 10,000 by 2023; to cultivate a stronger transfer-friendly environment and increase enrollment of transfer students; increase student thriving, engagement, and sense of belonging through accessible support, community, and mentorship; and to decrease time to degree completion (Strategic Plan, page 13–14).
Strategic actions to meet this goal
  • Offer five $5,000 grants per year to motivate faculty to design multi-disciplinary study abroad or global academic experiences with a clear plan to tackle grand challenges facing Missouri and the world. (E.g., Create a credit bearing “Zero Hunger” study abroad course where students from different disciplines can spend a summer in a developing country and use their skills to partner with local communities to solve this issue).
  • Partner with signature Deaton Scholars Program, Office of Undergraduate Research, and Fellowships Office to co-design transdisciplinary study abroad and global learning experiences for students.
  • Partner with academic and leadership-oriented student organizations/programs such as Engineers without Borders, Mizzou for Malawi, Mizzou Alternative Breaks, Society of Women in Engineering, and others to identify grand projects and recruit student teams.
  • Create study abroad programs that can lead to future NSF funding for research projects.
Goal: Provide meaningful global experiences and global learning pathways (credit bearing and non-credit bearing) for all MU students without leaving Columbia.
While not all MU students are able to study abroad, our campus offers outstanding global experiences where students can develop a global perspective of their academic field and careers. MU is home to 2,247 students from 107 different countries. We also host more than 895 scholars from 67 different countries. MU is home to a robust English learning center for international students, and engages MU students in one-on-one interactions with their students. MU offers more than 100 international-oriented courses and hosts more than 70 international events annually. The city of Columbia also hosts several international-oriented activities every year.

Alignment with institutional strategic plan
  • In addition to aligning with many of the same larger institutional goals as the previous two study abroad goals (e.g., goals related to student success, goals to ensure that all students participate in experiential learning opportunities like internships, undergraduate research, study abroad, alternative spring breaks, and student employment: increase opportunities for students to learn varied perspectives of domestic and international diversity and inclusion from faculty who are engaged in robust research in these areas, etc.), this goal aligns with the goal to make Mizzou a first-choice destination for high-achieving students through campuswide and college-specific signature programs for undergraduate students (Strategic Plan, page 14).
Strategic actions to meet this goal
  • Complete inventory of all international-oriented courses, non-credit bearing activities, and events taking place on campus and the city of Columbia.
  • Create a Global Leadership or Global Education Certificate by fall 2021 to micro-credential students’ international engagement and accelerate degree completion. This certificate should be open to all undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Actively promote the Comprehensive Learner Record and integrate into the academic and co-curricular student experience.

Priority: Attracting and supporting international students

Goal: Develop a comprehensive recruitment plan for international undergraduate and graduate students, tailored to the priorities and objectives of MU colleges and schools, benchmarked with selected AAU peer institutions, to increase international undergraduate student enrollment to no less than 7% of total enrollment by 2025.
Worldwide international student enrollment in higher education is forecasted to grow from about 4 million to about 7 million by 2030. At the same time, the Western Instate Commission for Higher Education projects U.S. high school graduation numbers to decrease by 4.6% across the U.S. by 2030. With a comprehensive international student recruitment plan, MU can remain competitive, culturally diverse, and inclusive to advance the institution’s stature as a world-class research institution. The strategies to reach this goal will allow the institution to develop a comprehensive plan that will address the realities of a dynamic international educational market, taking into account increased competition, dramatic shifts in economic and immigration policies, and increased value expectations by prospective international students. In addition, each MU college and school will establish international undergraduate (if applicable) and graduate student enrollment plans with specific enrollment targets for 2025, benchmarking with comparable and aspirational AAU peers.

Alignment with institutional strategic plan
  • Aligns with numerous goals in the MU plan, e.g., to enhance student access and increase the annual size of our new incoming undergraduates to 6,000 by 2023; to shape graduate and professional student enrollment to align with MU’s strategic goals and meet, state, regional, national, and international student and employment demands (Strategic Plan, page 13–14).
Strategic actions to meet this goal
  • Develop a comprehensive plan for enrollment management of undergraduate and graduate international students aligned with MU divisions, colleges, and departmental student enrollment plans under new RAM budget model. Create a dashboard that will be used across all colleges, schools, and departments to better monitor and track international student enrollment trends.
  • Establish an MU gateway recruiter position assigned to key international cities.
  • Promote MU’s academic and research rankings and reputation through aggressive marketing in key overseas media outlets.
  • Increase nonresident scholarships and financial aid to nonresident undergraduate international students, including pathway scholarship students through the Intensive English Program and sponsored student programs.
  • Continue MU investment in federally-funded sponsored student programs such as the prestigious Foreign Fulbright Student Fellowships.
  • Facilitate faculty, student, staff, and alumni involvement in international student recruitment through development of a stakeholder-incentives program.
    • Develop an online recruitment training module for faculty, staff, and students to compliment and support international student recruitment.
    • Develop international recruitment e-packets, e.g., USB key chains, etc. for use by any international traveler, including alumni, to share with overseas connections.
    • Provide one-year of post-graduation complimentary Alumni Association membership to international graduates through new international alumni e-platforms, e.g. LinkedIn.
Goal: Improve the international student experience at MU through greater understanding about what students need to thrive across all aspects of academic and campus life and implement campuswide, cross-functional approaches to meeting those needs.
Similar to their domestic peers, many factors influence the degree to which international students may be engaged in the campus community, as well as the sociocultural barriers that may prevent them from engaging. In order to support international student success, MU will strive to understand the unique challenges faced by its international student community and seek to reduce the barriers that impede positive experiences.

Alignment with institutional strategic plan
  • This aligns with larger institutional goals to improve the onboarding and general experience of first-time and transfer students (Strategic Plan, page 34); to increase first-year undergraduate student retention; to enhance the experience of every first-year student to create an individualized path to personal and academic success; to support first-year students throughout their first year with information and resources at developmentally critical times to ensure student success; to implement web-based and non-academic orientations to welcome graduate and professional students; to increase student thriving, engagement, and sense of belonging through accessible support, community, and mentorship (Strategic Plan, page 15); to increase annual number of degree completions to 10,000 by 2023; to increase enrollment of transfer students; to cultivate a stronger transfer-friendly environment; and to decrease time to completion (Strategic Plan, page 13–14).
  • These strategies support institutional goals to develop approaches to help students connect out-of-classroom experiences to career exploration and build on a culture of career readiness to ensure that 95% of undergraduate and graduate professional students are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation by 2023 (Strategic Plan, page 18).
  • These strategies also align with goals to support programs that assist faculty and staff in creating inclusive learning environments and to recognize, reward, and retain advisors who excel at promoting student success (Strategic Plan, page 15).
Strategic actions to meet this goal
  • Utilize existing assessments (e.g., NSSE, IFCS, AAU Campus Climate, etc.) and implement new assessments to establish consistent benchmarks regarding the international student experience at MU.
  • Establish campuswide assessment platform (iGrad ISB) to be used to identify reliable measures for student engagement, success, and satisfaction.
  • Sustain and develop programs that strengthen the sense of belonging and reduce sociocultural challenges.
  • Build on the culture of career readiness, by streamlining access to on-campus employment and pre- and post-completion training opportunities.
  • Establish an international student lounge space. Identify existing space options, pilot an open lounge space in Memorial Union (Hawthorne Lounge) — decorate to display international items, exhibits, etc.
  • Coordinate on-boarding, welcome, and interaction programs with domestic students.
  • Develop virtual, online Summer Welcome for international students to provide a seamless arrival/fall welcome connection.
    • Ensure that web-based and non-academic orientations to welcome students include modules that incorporate the unique issues for international students.
  • Develop a fall welcome airport pickup charter service for newly arriving international students.
  • Continue development of international food accommodation and food security. Expand halal/kosher food services and options and enhance promotion of Tiger Food Pantry for international students and families.
  • Develop a program of cross-cultural communication and understanding and advertise its availability to units across campus, both academic and support units.
  • Improve Residential Life on-campus housing utilization by first-semester international students through improved early communication timetables in coordination with International Admissions, Graduate Admissions, and International Programs.
  • Improve visibility of the international community through campuswide strategic communication.
  • Streamline international undergraduate student access to on-campus employment.
    • Build on International Student and Scholar Services’ $mart Work Mizzou fellowship project.
    • Develop international student on-campus employment dashboard, e.g., who, how many, what employers, duration of employment, etc.
    • Develop e-pubs and training modules for campus employers and international students regarding best practices, expectations, and value of on-campus employment.
  • Improve international student access and utilization of training and career readiness resources.
    • Continue funding international student focused online career resources, GoinGlobal.
    • Provide guidance for international students to utilize LinkedIn-style platforms.
    • Connect with career networking resources in Missouri and other U.S. cities that are aggressively recruiting international talent, e.g., St. Louis Mosaic Project, etc.
  • Enhance international student alumni connections and development.
    • Complimentary one-year membership for all international graduates, through a LinkedIn international alumni platform.
    • Plan and implement a series of virtual international alumni events.
    • Plan and implement a series of physical alumni events in selected regions of the world in collaboration with international student recruitment events.
Goal: Improve international student and visiting scholar safety and security at MU.
Based on national media reports and limited survey data, evidence suggest international students, visiting scholars, and their families are becoming increasingly concerned about personal safety and security at American college campuses. Stakeholder feedback suggests international students at MU also share these concerns. The campus does regularly communicate to the entire student body about these issues, but the messages may not be understood or translate very well due to cultural context. MU must not only strive to ensure a safe learning and work environment, but also understand cultural differences and perceptions about safety to provide effective outreach and support to the international community. Additionally, MU must redouble efforts to ensure protection of intellectual property, academic freedom, and technology transfer, while fostering its core values of discovery and excellence through international educational and cultural engagement with students and scholars from all over the world.

Alignment with institutional strategic plan
  • Aligns with institutional goal to ensure a safe learning, living, and working environment (Strategic Plan, page 39).
Strategic actions to meet this goal
  • Regularly assess and identify the primary safety concerns of international students at MU and coordinate programs and outreach to address these concerns.
  • Improve safety and security communications to the international student community and their families.
  • Improve sexual violence education to the international student community.
  • Improve the campuswide coordination of international student and scholar visitors in support of academic freedom, intellectual property, and technology transfer protocols.
  • Develop a series of public safety messages directed to international student community.
  • Develop an annual calendar of public safety messages directed to the international student community.
  • Provide cross-cultural training to existing peer advising teams with an emphasis on sexual violence and personal safety issues. Ensure international representation on peer advising teams.
  • Improve sexual violence webpage and app resources to support the unique needs of international students.
  • Support campus security through compliance with all federal regulations in facilitation of international student and scholar mobility.
    • Continue delivery of professional visa and immigration services to students, scholars, dependents, and campus stakeholders.
    • Ensure adequate resources necessary to achieve an ISSS advising caseload of no higher than 350:1.
    • Establish a cross-campus working group to discuss, monitor, and share information regarding immigration and visa related concerns and good practices.
    • Improve campuswide coordination of visiting international students and scholars to address safety and security concerns.
    • Continue incorporating best practices and suggested security strategies to protect academic freedom, intellectual property, and technology transfer, without impeding the hosting or exchange of international students and scholars involved in legitimate educational and cultural exchanges.

Priority: Supporting faculty internationalization

Goal: Catalog existing faculty/unit international expertise.
There is significant existing expertise among the MU faculty and some academic units specific to internationalization, and a great deal of international research and collaboration already occurring organically. However, these data are hard to come by, with no systematic data source (as one stakeholder put it, “We have no idea where faculty go”); therefore, finding this expertise or potential collaborators, or sharing resources, is challenging.

Alignment with institutional strategic plan
  • Supports research goals to identify and capitalize on areas where collaboration can drive excellence, including resource-sharing, seeking out opportunities to work with other universities across Missouri and across the globe, and expanding interdisciplinary, international partnerships (Strategic Plan, page 23) and supports data-driven decision-making (Strategic Plan, page 45).
Strategic actions to meet this goal
  • Systematically catalog where international existing partnerships and strong unit-level programs and expertise exists, and identify/develop real-time systems to track faculty-led international programs, research, relationships, and work-related travel by faculty (without significantly increasing burden of shadow work on faculty; for example, including the keyword “international” in myVita and details about international work).
  • Develop and promote mechanisms to make this information readily available to faculty and academic units.
Resources required
  • Buy-in from upper-level administration; coordination between Office of the Provost/Chancellor, International Programs, Office of Research; additional intramural funding for international research (amount TBD).
Goal: Support and incentivize international work and collaboration by faculty and consultation and collaborative work and expertise-sharing across academic units.
Alignment with institutional strategic plan
  • Supports goals to identify and capitalize on areas where collaboration can drive excellence, including resource-sharing, seeking out opportunities to work with other universities across Missouri and across the globe, and expanding interdisciplinary, international partnerships (Strategic Plan, page 23), with goals to create centers of expertise to develop and execute strategy, policies, and procedures; evaluate variations across processes, programs, and operations to identify common approaches and mitigate risk; and standardize and leverage economies of scale across all divisions, with savings directed toward the academic mission (Strategic Plan, page 42) and supports data-driven decision-making (Strategic Plan, page 45).
Strategic actions to meet this goal
  • Develop and provide faculty development specific to internationalization (e.g., offer workshops, informational sessions; consider reinstatement of the Global Scholars Program).
  • Improve accessibility of information about internationalization by strengthening and updating the information available on the International Programs website that is geared specifically toward faculty, including linkages to learn about existing programs and opportunities for collaboration; professional development opportunities; funding sources; international student recruitment; International Travel Registry; support information for MU international faculty.
  • Provide campus-level support and/or cross-unit consultation specific to international grant identification, proposal-writing, logistics, and making connections/networking.
  • Provide campus-level intramural research funding specific to internationalization and/or clarify/highlight when campus-level intramural funding can be used for international research.
  • Hold academic units accountable for transparency in the distribution of international travel funding provided by the Office of Research.
Goal: Clearly signal to faculty that internationalization is an institutional value.
The institution and its faculty already do significant international work, but stakeholders report the value of this is not always clear in faculty-facing communications. Consistent messaging in this regard supports internationalization at relatively little added cost to the institution.

Alignment with institutional strategic plan
  • Supports the emphasis on increasing focused, consistent messaging in communications as an opportunity for the institution (Strategic Plan, page 9) and to create a culture of excellence related to scholarship through incentive, recognition, and advancement programs for faculty, staff, and students (Strategic Plan, page 21).
Strategic actions to meet this goal
  • Revise MU’s mission/vision statement to include internationalization as a core element, and note the university’s participation in the Declaration of University Global Engagement.
  • Encourage valuation of internationalization in unit-level faculty evaluations, promotion and tenure decisions, and salary adjustments.
  • Include evidence of faculty international scholarship, teaching, research, service, recognition, and collaboration as a potential criterion to be considered for promotion and tenure in the provost’s call letter.
  • Clarify issues in the new budget model relevant to faculty concerns specific to recruitment of international students, study abroad, etc.
Resources required
  • Buy-in from upper-level administration; coordination between Office of the Provost/Chancellor, International Programs, Office of Research; funding for workshops, faculty development TBD.

Priority: Strengthening strategic international partnerships and collaborations

International partnerships and collaborations provide the foundation for everything we do related to students, faculty, and staff international engagement. MU has more than 200 active international Memorandums of Understanding with partners in 35 countries. These agreements establish various types of cooperation, including faculty research cooperation, cooperative degree programs that draw international students to MU, and opportunities for MU students to study and conduct research abroad.

MU has long-standing legacy partnerships in countries such as Korea, South Africa, and Thailand. These partnerships have provided a range of opportunities to faculty and students over the years, and are an important asset as MU expands its global engagement. We also have partnerships with some of world’s top-ranked universities (per 2020 QS World Rankings; MU is ranked #551-560), including the University of Manchester (#27), Seoul National University (#37), Monash University (#58), Universidade de Sao Paulo (#116), and Ghent University (#130). Such partnerships enhance MU’s international reputation, particularly when MU and the partner university provide support for faculty and graduate student research.

International partnerships provide the basis for achieving many of the strategic priorities in faculty research, international student enrollment, and study abroad opportunities. Therefore, the foundation of internationalization strategic planning is facilitating the creation, maintenance, and expansion of active IMOUs.

Goal: Streamline and standardize the IMOU process.
Alignment with institutional strategic plan
  • Supports multiple goals, including goals related to research, student success, and inclusive excellence, depending on the type of MOU; across the board, this goal supports research goals to identify and capitalize on areas where collaboration can drive excellence, including resource-sharing, seeking out opportunities to work with other universities across Missouri and around the globe, and expanding interdisciplinary, international partnerships (Strategic Plan, page 23).
Strategic actions to meet this goal
  • Identify and catalog existing IMOUs (general visiting student, exchange, 2+2, 3+2, etc.).
  • Coordinate with the Contracts Office on language that must appear in all IMOUs (such as intellectual property, termination, etc).
  • Develop templates for schools to use for each IMOU type.
  • Present IMOU templates to review committee for refinement and adoption.
  • Post templates on the website and notify schools/department chairs.
Goal: Proactively advance strategic and legacy partnerships.
Alignment with institutional strategic plan
  • Supports multiple goals, including research, student success, inclusive excellence, and engagement and outreach. These include the goal to develop effective programs for educational, scientific, health, cultural, economic, and social outreach with local, state, and global communities (Strategic Plan, page 28) and research goals to identify and capitalize on areas where collaboration can drive excellence, including resource-sharing, seeking out opportunities to work with other universities across Missouri and around the globe, and expanding interdisciplinary, international partnerships (Strategic Plan, page 23).
Strategic actions to meet this goal
  • Identify strategic partnerships with input from the Council on International Initiatives and deans. Considerations to include whether multiple MU schools have an interest and are willing to commit to the partnership and how the partnership impacts MU in terms of enhancing MU’s reputation or revenue, or if the partnership is relevant to MU in other ways.
  • Reach out to partners to gauge their interest.
  • Representatives of MU visit partners — familiarization with their research/resources/opportunities.
  • Necessary to have a point-person or advocate in the MU schools and seek financial resources for recruitment/research/faculty exchange to support the partnership.


Appendix A: Committee members

Mary Stegmaier, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Truman School of Public Affairs
Interim vice provost for International Programs and interim director, International Center

Tina Bloom, Ph.D., MPH, RN
Associate professor, Sinclair School of Nursing and faculty fellow for International Programs

Committee members

Mark Algren
Executive director, Center for English Language Learning

Miguel Ayllon, Ph.D.
Director of study abroad and assistant director, International Center

David Currey
Director of international student and scholar services and assistant director, International Center

Sheena Greitens, Ph.D.
Assistant professor, Department of Political Science and co-director, Institute for Korean Studies Senior fellow, Center for East Policy Studies, Brookings Institution and research associate, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University

Michael Marlo, Ph.D. Associate professor, Department of English

John Middleton, DVM, Ph.D., DACVIM
Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine and vice chair of MU Faculty Council on University Policy

Rajiv Mohan, Ph.D.
Professor, School of Medicine and member, MU Council on International Initiatives

David Mendoza-Cózatl, Ph.D.
Associate professor and director of graduate studies, Plant Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

Randall Smith
Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Chair of Business Journalism, Missouri School of Journalism

Tipparat Udmuangpia, Ph.D., MSN, RN
Instructor, Boromarajonani College of Nursing Khon Kaen (Thailand); MU international graduate student (class of 2019)

Corinne Valdivia, Ph.D.
Professor and Doane Professor of Agricultural Economics and director, Interdisciplinary International Development Minor, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

Ajay Vinzé, Ph.D.
Professor and dean, Trulaske College of Business

Dong Xu, Ph.D.
Professor, director of information technology and Paul K. and Diane Schumaker Endowment in Bioinformatics, College of Engineering

Mansoo Yu, Ph.D., MSW, MA
Associate professor, School of Social Work, School of Public Health and associate director, Center for Children and Families Across Cultures

Contact information

MU Internationalization Strategic Planning Committee
N52 Memorial Union
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: 573-882-6007

Appendix B: Strategic planning process

The committee was convened Oct. 1, 2019, with members appointed by the provost. The committee formed four subcommittees (Global Education for Students, Faculty Policy and Procedures, International Student Recruitment and Experience, and Collaboration and Partnerships) to address priority areas as described in the charge.

The committee agreed upon a three-phase process:

  • Phase I: Fact analysis — beginning Oct. 1, 2019
    • Data collection
    • Process of developing, documenting and agreeing on a commonly-accepted set of information, with stakeholder input
    • Evidence-based
    • SWOT format
  • Phase II: Planning and decision-making — ending Dec. 19, 2019
    • Vision/mission articulation
    • Identify strategic imperatives and goals based on phase I findings and stakeholder input
    • Identify resources, people, facilitating materials needed
    • Establish timelines, metrics
    • “Living document” to provost by Dec. 19
  • Phase III: Execution
    • Implementation phase
    • Provide opportunities for additional stakeholder input
    • “Living document” can be revised as needed
Principles and goals

The committee also agreed upon the following principles:

  • We aimed to produce a comprehensive institution internationalization plan driven by the vision and expert input of the university community, including students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
  • Our plan should align with the university strategic plan.
  • Our strategies should promote and facilitate faculty and student international interactions, and be motivating, achievable, realistic, and measurable.
  • Our plan should underscore the importance of approaching international partnerships and programs strategically, with clearly defined objectives, and provide a set of guiding principles for doing so, e.g., partnerships should be:
    • Mutually beneficial,
    • Capacity-building (contribute to society),
    • Synergistic,
    • Sustainable, and
    • Sufficiently limited in number/congruent with resources.
  • Our plan will identify the structures, resources, policies, and incentives needed to implement strategies successfully and sustainably.

The committee agreed upon the following process goals:

  • A process that is sequential, logical, thorough, involving and aligning for you, practical, and confidence-building.
  • A right-sized committee with the right number of subcommittees.
  • Objective decision-making criteria.
  • Alignment among stakeholders around the key facts, assumptions, and decisions.
  • A useful tool to set priorities, that is internally consistent and lays out a reasonable portfolio of strategic actions and initiatives for the future.

Finally, the committee also agreed upon the following process assumptions:

  • Process matters.
  • Participants should have a clear model for strategy development.
  • Participants should be empowered to participate meaningfully.
  • Executive alignment and a vision of the future is important.
  • Strategic planning and budgeting are not the same thing.
  • Need to understand the current state, but also balance between analysis and planning.
  • Need inclusiveness in input.
  • Need criteria for decisions.
  • Need to set goals and targets that are motivating, but also realistic, achievable, and measurable.
  • Need an achievable number of goals.

The committee endeavored to obtain stakeholder input from across the university community, but also viewed this is an ongoing obligation, particularly given that internationalization is a complex topic where important factors can change. Therefore, committee members agreed that the internationalization strategic plan should be considered a living document, open to additional stakeholder input and revisions, in the same fashion that the university’s strategic plan is considered a living document.

The larger committee met every other week. Each subcommittee also met regularly and identified current programs, trends, and issues and collected data specific to their topical area, using a SWOT format with a narrative report appended. Each subcommittee identified key stakeholders and solicited input, identified highest priority items and strategic imperatives, and drafted recommendations.

Subcommittee members were encouraged to consider the following questions during phase I (fact analysis) and when collecting stakeholder input:

  • Where do we have existing international relationships and collaborations?
  • What programs, policies, resources, incentives, funding, structures, facilitators, and barriers exist for work in this area? (Are they adequate?)
  • Who are the key stakeholders and contact people with institutional knowledge? What are their perspectives on:
    • Things that are working well.
    • Promising areas, areas for growth, trends.
    • Areas of concern or problems.
  • Where would stakeholders like to see the institution in five years, ten years in this area? (And how do we get there? What concrete steps would they like to see? How to get buy-in?)

Each subcommittee submitted interim reports to the larger committee. The co-chairs provided reporting templates, facilitated meetings of the larger committee, synthesized subcommittee reports, and provided iterative reports to the committee members for review and input.

Appendix C: Stakeholders consulted
Feedback was obtained via email outreach, surveys, personal meetings, and/or attending committee meetings or asking stakeholders to attend our meetings.

On Oct. 17, 2019, a questionnaire was distributed to over 200 MU campus stakeholders using the CampusLabs online platform. Additionally, on Nov. 1, 2019 a randomized list of 249 currently enrolled international students was sent the CampusLabs online questionnaire. Next, on Nov., 4, 2019, the questionnaire was distributed to the directors of graduate studies email distribution group with assistance from the Graduate School. On Nov. 6, 2019, the Strategic Planning Committee and sub-committee chairs gave a brief presentation and Q&A session with the MU Council on International Initiatives. Staff from international programs in academic units also attended this meeting. Other sources included results from the iGRAD International Student Barometer surveys conducted in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Recent results from the National Survey of Student Engagement was reviewed. Finally, MU participated in the International Student Friendly Campus research conducted by Dr. Kenneth Wang, in late November 2019.

Other persons consulted for input during the assessment phase and/or feedback on various aspects of the strategic plan include: the CAFNR International Committee, including Ken Schneeberger (international training coordinator, CAFNR International Training Programs), Kerry Clark (director, CAFNR International Programs), Lindsey Saunders (project manager, CAFNR International Programs); members of the Council on International Initiatives; study abroad campus managers/directors, including Shanon Breske (College of Business), Cassandra Siela (College of Engineering), Lindsey Wisnewski (College of Engineering), Yvonne Binfield (Service Learning), Shanon Dickerson (CAFNR), Shannon Ferguson (School of Accountancy), Gabrielle Malfatti (College of Education), and Tami Custard (School of Journalism); Jamie Szabo (director of research analytics, Office of Research and Economic Development); Chris Riley-Tillman (associate provost for institutional effectiveness); John Walker (director, Division of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Science); Chris Pires (associate dean for research, College of Arts and Science); Rod Uphoff (director, University of Missouri South Africa Educational Program); Sang Kim (director, MU Asian Affairs Center and Missouri International Training Institute); Joseph Hobbs (professor emeritus, Geography and director, Vietnam Institute); Jerry Nelson (professor emeritus, Plant Sciences and co-director, Vietnam Institute); Mike Alden (former athletic director); Anne-Marie Foley (director, Office of Service-Learning); Zac March (director, Mizzou Academy); Ryan Griffin (director, International Admissions); Terrence Grus (director, Graduate Admissions and Records); Tanya Haeussler (coordinator and chief business development officer, Mizzou Academy). Committee members also met with Gabrielle Malfatti (director, Global Engagement, College of Education, James Spain (vice provost for undergraduate studies) and Jeni Hart (dean of the Graduate School) during the months of October and November to gain further insights into the global education needs for undergraduate and graduate students. (Our apologies if we inadvertently forgot to list someone we consulted with, and we hope that our colleagues will reach out to us to let us know if that is the case so we can correct our mistake.)

Internationalization of the campus is a goal that reaches across many constituencies, and the committee recognizes that there is substantial expertise on the campus related to this issue. We will continue to seek feedback on the strategic plan iteratively, as a living document.

Appendix D: SWOT analysis
  • MU’s administration has signaled support for internationalization as a priority, e.g., this strategic planning task force, Chancellor’s faculty dinner for faculty working internationally, investment in faculty fellow for Office of International Programs, International Education Week.
  • MU is a signatory to the international Declaration on University Global Engagement.
  • MU has more than 2,000 international students from 107 different countries, enriching the campus culture and diversity, as well as the domestic student experience.
  • MU is one of very few universities with an NGO in Africa (UM Assistance Program).
  • MU has significant international expertise, particularly in some units. (E.g., CAFNR International Programs office administers multi-year grants and exchange programs. CAFNR also provides support to help faculty internationalize, including grant identification and proposal writing support.)
  • MU demonstrates willingness to respond to changing market demands and the needs of incoming international students and the language-teaching program environment across the U.S. (e.g., change in TOEFL scores, development of an in-house pathway program — AIM: Academic Integration @Mizzou).
  • MU has strong, centralized international undergraduate student recruitment and admissions processing, effective, centralized international graduate admissions processing, strong enrollment management processes.
International Center
  • MU has well-established institutional partnerships through the International Center and many academic units (with more than 200 international MOUs); some long-standing relationships with international universities such as the University of the Western Cape (South Africa), Chonnam University (South Korea), and Prince of Songkla University (Thailand); partnerships with top world universities such as University of Ghent (Belgium), Monash University (Australia), University of Manchester (U.K.), and Seoul National University; 2+2, 3+2, 4+1, feeder-style programs, particularly in East Asia; and student exchange programs with prestigious institutions.
  • Mizzou is well-regarded by U.S. government sponsors (such as Fulbright, USAID, etc.) thanks to excellent cultivation of these relationships over the years and an ongoing commitment of time/travel for face-to-face meetings.
  • The MU Council on International Initiatives is an active group on campus, and serves as a potential resource to guide future MU decisions on strategic partner universities and countries.
  • Campus international units work well together, and we enjoy strong relationships and coordination of efforts between International Student and Scholar Services and the Sponsored Student Program, the Center for English Language Learning, and the Office of International Undergraduate Admissions.
Office of International Students and Scholars Services
  • MU provides accurate, effective and responsive compliance with federal regulations governing F and J student visa programs, facilitating student mobility and employment opportunities for international students.
Office of Study Abroad
  • The Office of Study Abroad provides leadership and management for study abroad operations at MU.
  • The Office of Study Abroad serves MU academic units through delivering customized student support services, strategic enrollment management support, expert program management, professional development, and 24/7 crisis management and emergency response.
  • The Office of Study Abroad provides strong management and support for both in-bound exchange students, and outbound exchange and study abroad program students and faculty program leaders.
  • MU has a dedicated Office of International Health, Safety, and Security providing 24/7 support to outbound students, faculty and scholars.
International opportunities for MU students
  • MU students have substantial international educational opportunities. MU has more than 35 experienced study abroad staff campuswide; offers 243 study abroad programs in more than 40 countries on five continents.
  • MU consistently sends 1,500-1,600 students abroad every year, with strong customized academic options through Journalism, Engineering, CAFNR, Business, Education, Health Sciences, and Nursing and on strong global internships in Journalism, Education, Business. These study abroad programs also encourage faculty internationalization.
International students
  • International students at the University of Missouri campus in Columbia have a significant economic impact on the state, contributing an estimated $75.7 million dollars and supporting 1,080 jobs.
  • MU is attractive to international students because of good academic reputation, AAU status, affordability compared to similar peer institutions (particularly cost of living), safety (one of the safest college campuses in the country with an accredited campus police force), beauty, character, and history (Midwestern, culturally rich, historic, iconic, and quintessentially American university with notable alumni, botanical gardens, elegant architecture, and grand landscapes).
  • MU is also attractive to international students because of strong STEM academic fields offered at all educational levels as well as post-program training and professional opportunities (OPT and OPT-STEM).
  • MU is attractive to international students as a comprehensive university; very, very few institutions have in the same campus biological sciences (BioSci, Biochem, Plant Sci, MMI), engineering, schools of medicine, nursing, health professions, public health, veterinary medicine, journalism, and law. MU has some of the best research facilities in the nation: state of the art facilities in the metabolomics, proteomics and genomics cores; the most powerful nuclear reactor (MURR) for radiochemistry research in chemistry, and biomedical and plant sciences; the most advanced plant growth facility in the nation; and an NIH-funded center for swine research.
  • The nationally accredited Intensive English Program is a pipeline for students to enter MU.
  • Many MU faculty are engaged in international work and projects, primarily driven by faculty interests.
  • MU supports faculty internationalization by providing:
    • Automatic health insurance coverage for faculty traveling internationally on university business;
    • International Travel Registry and AlertTraveler for faculty traveling with students;
    • An institutional subscription to PIVOT, which includes mechanisms for international research funding;
    • Online information about resources regarding study abroad programs, faculty-led study abroad, hiring/hosting international faculty, international agreements, faculty development/internationalization, and the South Africa Education Program;
    • Support for export control issues through the MU Office of Research;
    • Visa support for faculty traveling overseas for academic projects;
    • Awards for excellence in internationalization such as the International Engagement Awards and the Provost Award for Faculty Leadership in International Education.
  • MU’s Sustainability Office is able to provide support for faculty to integrate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into curricula.
  • MU incentivizes faculty internationalization with international travel/research support distributed by the Office of Research to academic units, who are responsible for making this funding available to faculty.
  • UM Research Council/Research Board funding applications may support international research (Research Board limited to non-STEM fields).
  • International recognition is generally an expectation for faculty advancement, often recognized in annual evaluations/P&T process.
  • MU offers unique and innovative certificate programs that can attract international students; for example, an MS-Business degree using a stackable certificate format, allowing students to stack certificates from almost any college at MU with a Business Certificate that results in this degree — a true differentiator for MU.
  • MU also has a top-ranked School of Journalism, both College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Medicine, strong programs in CAFNR, Constitutional Democracy in Kinder, and other strong attractors for international students.
  • Internationalization as a value at MU is not always clear (e.g., it is not mentioned in MU strategic plan or mission and values statement; not widely known the institution is a signatory to Declaration on University Global Engagement).
  • MU tends to be reactive rather than proactive in developing and deepening our international partnerships, i.e., our partners or new partners come to us with ideas, rather than MU strategically seeking opportunities for institutional collaboration and partnerships.
  • MU’s university rankings have been declining.
  • MU lacks connection/coordination between academic units/programs on international endeavors, and offers minimal to no incentives for cross-departmental or interdisciplinary international collaborations.
  • Some academic units at MU lack expertise to help faculty internationalize.
  • Not all academic departments promote study abroad.
  • MU stakeholders lack clarity related to new budget model and its impact on international recruitment, study abroad, etc.; there are significant faculty and staff concerns on this issue.
  • “We don’t really know where faculty go” — there is no systematic data source at MU regarding faculty international research, travel, etc.; no evident way for MU faculty to find/engage with expertise of other faculty or with unit-level expertise across campus.
  • MU lacks a coherent campuswide objective regarding international student recruitment.
  • MU has made insufficient financial investment to competitively recruit international students, including limited scholarship (tuition discount) offerings to prospective undergraduate international students and inadequate support for international graduate student recruitment.
  • Faculty are largely unaware of international student recruitment efforts or how to support these when traveling. (see also: Faculty)
  • MU international students lack visibility as a part of regular campus media, websites, promotions, celebrations, etc.; lack inclusion into campuswide traditions and programs. There is insufficient support to provide year-round programming that facilitates greater interaction between the international and the host communities. International students perceive the campus is minimally supportive of their community. (see also: International students)
  • MU has not taken advantage of the existing strong and long-standing established research collaborations of individual faculty or academic units with scientists in various universities and hospitals around the world. (see also: Faculty)
International Center
  • MU has not attended NAFSA Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. and has missed opportunities to make a case for international education before Missouri state legislators.
  • MU International Programs has been left without leadership or with interim leadership for too long.
  • Decentralization of international engagements means there is no central repository of information about all that is happening internationally on campus, with limited information sharing and coordination of international activities.
  • Lack of IMOU templates for schools to use. Some schools have their own templates, while other schools seek guidance from the International Center. Templates would streamline the process and, while schools could use their own approved formats, key provisions need to be included in them (such as agreement termination and intellectual property language).
  • MU lacks a well-developed centralized information site/source to support internationalization; unclear where to find relevant resources for specific issues; existing web pages are scattered, out of date, and incomplete.
  • Inability to improve or change federal visa processing and work authorization processing times.
Study Abroad
  • MU lacks a campuswide study abroad strategy.
  • MU has too many study abroad programs, too many options, which overwhelms students.
  • There is internal competition across academic units for study abroad. The new funding model promotes competition and “cannibalization” of MU short-term study abroad programs.
  • Most MU study abroad programs are English speaking, short-term, and have a Western Europe focus. We offer very few study abroad programs to Asia, compared to the number of international students from and partnerships that we have in Asia.
  • Lack of information for faculty regarding how to engage in existing programs or initiate new programs, when the need arises. (see also: Faculty)
  • Currently there are inconsistencies in the quality of programs and their deliverables. MU needs to develop clear learning outcomes for study abroad. MU lacks study abroad opportunities for graduate students. (see also: Domestic students)
Domestic students
  • Financial support for faculty/student engagement activities (research, study, faculty presentations, etc.) is lacking for existing MOUs. Need to provide support for existing MOUs and activities. (See also: Faculty)
  • MU students face financial barriers to study abroad — it is expensive to study abroad, adds to student debt, and appears to be mainly for affluent undergraduate students.
  • MU lacks study abroad opportunities for graduate students. (see also: Study Abroad)
International students
  • MU timelines for on-campus housing commitments and on-boarding processes for new undergraduate international students are difficult to navigate.
  • Insufficient local public transportation options.
  • MU international students lack visibility as a part of regular campus media, websites, promotion, celebrations, etc.; lack inclusion into campuswide traditions and programs. There is insufficient support to provide year-round programming that facilitates greater interaction between the international and host communities. At times, international students perceive the campus could be more supportive and inclusive of their community. (see also: Institutional)
  • Although campus safety is a strength, some MU international students perceive the campus may not be safe or welcoming for them and that campus concern for their safety could be demonstrated more clearly.
  • Lack of incentives/rewards for faculty international activity.
  • Financial support for faculty/student engagement activities (research, study, faculty presentations, etc.) is lacking for existing MOUs. Need to provide support for existing MOUs and activities. (See also: Domestic students)
  • MU lacks faculty development for internationalization; the Global Scholars Program was discontinued in 2015.
  • MU lacks campus-level incentives for faculty internationalization, e.g., release time (sabbatical), salary or bonus pay, profit-sharing, support for application for prestigious honors or awards, recognition of collaboration and international work in promotion and tenure.
  • MU lacks a dedicated office to support international research efforts, which are often more complex logistically. Campus-level resources/help specific to international grant identification, writing international proposals, logistics, connections, money transfers, fiscal/administrative concerns of international research are either non-existent or difficult to find at MU.
  • Limited internal funding to kick-start international research — MU lacks campus-level intramural research funding specifically for international work, and it is not explicitly obvious that existing campus-level intramural funding sources (UMRB, UMRC) may support international research; can be difficult to find information about unit-level funding for international travel/research. UMRB research support is available only to non-STEM disciplines.
  • Unclear what (if any) support or information is available specifically for MU international faculty and visiting scholars.
  • Lack of information on how to engage in existing programs or initiate new programs, when the need arises. (see also: Study abroad)
  • Faculty are unaware of international student recruitment efforts or how to support these when traveling. (see also: Institutional)
  • Leverage our AAU reputation to gain access to world-class partner universities to develop study abroad relationships.
  • Leverage our strong institutional partnership with the University of the Western Cape to increase student mobility and provide MU and UWC with outstanding global learning opportunities.
  • New budget model is an opportunity to promote cooperation and efficiency in MU internationalization.
  • Establish an MU International Summer School study abroad model in strategic countries of interest involving key MU academic units to accelerate degree completion and provide students with customized global learning relevant to their academic majors. These programs can be established in countries where we are trying to recruit international students and we can open these programs/courses up for free (or at a competitive rate) for international students in these countries so they get a “taste of MU” and encourage them to apply for a degree-seeking program.
  • Build strategic partnerships within the UM System (collaborative system-wide approaches for study abroad).
  • Increase partnerships between academic departments to enhance academic curriculum, increase research connections, and reward productive faculty.
  • Facilitate the development of partnerships between academic departments and local industry to create robust internship programs for all academic majors (see Journalism and Business models).
  • Enhance connections with international alumni as well as American alumni working internationally.
  • Increase alumni involvement and engagement, donor cultivation, and fundraising for internationalization, study abroad, and student recruitment.
  • Worldwide student mobility is anticipated to grow from 3 million to 7 million by 2025, and half of all international students now major in a STEM field. Approximately 37% of MU undergraduate international students pursue majors in the STEM fields. Build effective institutional partnership models to facilitate the recruitment of international students for undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Study the use of “gateway” recruiters in Asia and other international markets to enhance international student recruitment.
  • Engage faculty in international student recruitment.
  • While strengthening our Midwestern hospitality, MU can highlight and promote the university’s safe and welcoming campus using more social media and educational recruitment platforms.
  • MU has some long-standing partnerships with international universities — we could devote more energy to strengthening them.
  • MU has some partnerships with top universities around the world, even though these are often with just one or two schools at MU. We could encourage those MU schools to collaborate with other MU units to be more strategic in these partnerships by supporting the inclusion of MU schools/units in the relationship, and foster MU faculty research with collaborators at these schools. We could work with other MU schools to see if they would benefit from participating in the partnership.
  • Decentralized model offers opportunities to decide how we leverage our MU strengths; also, we need to recognize that not every college will internationalize in the same way — for example business schools globalize differently than CAFNR or Engineering. Opportunity to identify at MU what each college intends to lead with — this is different from deciding who are strategically better partners.
  • Identify strategic partnerships in which to invest. What makes a strategic partnership? Relevance, revenue, and/or reputation — and multiple MU schools interested in engagement. Could use the Council on International Initiatives to discuss/identify these partnerships.
International Programs
  • Establish and foster best practices for safety and security for the international community, including streamlined reporting processes and follow-up during crisis or emergency situations.
  • Several world regions offer opportunities for MU to meet new educational needs (e.g., English teacher training). Some opportunities are routed through nongovernmental organizations, while others are managed by ministries of education (e.g., Ecuador and Saudi Arabia). We could be nimble in our campus collaborations across schools/programs and support services to respond to these new opportunities.
  • Opportunities to invest in strategic relationships and coordinate efforts across offices in selected countries (Brazil, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, South Africa, China, Iraq, et al.), both in those countries and through their representatives in the U.S. (embassies and consulates).
  • Opportunities to strengthen already-good relationships with nongovernmental organizations (IIE, American Councils for International Education, LASPAU, et al.) and U.S. government agencies (Department of State, Fulbright Commission, EducationUSA, etc.)
  • New laws in India and China are changing who and how we partner. For example, autonomous universities in India; Chinese limitations on the number of agreements any U.S. university can sign with Chinese universities.

Domestic Students

  • Design study abroad programs for freshmen and sophomore students to increase student retention rates and help students quickly find faculty mentors and student cohort for their time at MU.
  • Use study abroad programs to accelerate student degree completion, increase student retention and graduation rates.
  • Facilitate global internship opportunities for graduate students.
  • Provide funding for graduate students pursuing dissertations with international focus.
  • Partner with MU Graduate School to actively promote the John D. Bies International Travel Award for doctoral students.
  • Provide global experiences on campus or in Missouri for students that cannot study abroad. Add study away opportunities within the United States.
International students
  • Partner with ISSS to provide short-term study abroad programs for international students to the Unites States.
  • Promote training and career opportunities currently available to international students in Missouri and the United States.
  • Build inventory of international experiences available to students and promote to faculty with ideas on how to encourage student international participation.
  • Increase internationalization of the curriculum, language learning and dual degrees.
  • Build on existing data collection efforts (e.g., myVita, International Travel Registry) to catalog “where faculty go” internationally and find areas of potential cross-campus coordination/collaborations.
  • Develop faculty incentive/reward system for teaching and design excellence in study abroad programs.
  • Leverage international faculty members’ connections to their home countries and institutions there to develop opportunities for recruiting, research collaborations, and student exchange/study programs.
  • Rising costs of education in the U.S., flights, and costs of living abroad.
  • Rise of non-credit bearing international activities without an adequate funding model to serve students participating in these experiences.
  • In countries such as China, most universities of MU’s stature have many partners today so that a partnership with MU is no longer the only partnership or their top partnership. This means that there is much more competition in 2+2 and 3+2 programs and faculty have multiple options of international research. Also, establishing new partnerships is proving more challenging due to the limitations on the number of partnerships allowed, and the competition for establishing partnerships with Chinese institutions.
  • Changing laws in India and China affect how we partner, and with whom. For example, autonomous universities in India and limiting the number of Chinese-U.S. university agreements.
  • Negative perceptions by some external constituents regarding sustainable development goals as political.
  • Loss of revenue due to declining international student enrollments impacts the financial health of the university and local community.
Domestic students
  • Proliferation of study abroad providers and other university competitors.
International Students
  • Increasing competition from other countries leading to a declining U.S. market share, and increasing competition from other U.S. institutions for a shrinking pool of students.
  • Increasingly restrictive federal policies on international student visa processing and employment/training authorizations that increasingly restrict training and career opportunities.
  • Lack of action by the U.S. government to reach a consensus and craft a comprehensive immigration reform policy supportive of international student mobility.
  • International perceptions of the U.S. political and social environment impacts international student mobility to the United States.
  • Economic conditions and political environment in other countries; health, safety, and security challenges around the world related to terrorism, diseases.
  • Diminishing resources that could limit providing more scholarships or tuition discounts to prospective undergraduate international students.
  • Declining foreign government investment in higher education scholarships for their students and labor force.
  • Perceptions of increasing gun violence and crime across the U.S. and on U.S. campuses.
  • Increasing number of U.S. institutions are awarding credit for concurrent-enrollment English courses in pathway programs (pathway = concurrent enrollment in academic and English as second language courses; MU does not award credit for ESL courses, only S/U), and students are looking to get credit for highly advanced language study (earning credits toward graduation while in pathway programs).
Appendix E: Narrative findings from subcommittees
Students studying abroad

MU has successfully run study abroad programs for more than 20 years and serves 1500-1600 study abroad participants per year (24% of our student population is a current or past study abroad participant) — including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, offering close to 243 study abroad program in more than 40 different countries; 65 of these programs are MU faculty-led programs. Summer is the most popular term. Most MU students study abroad in Western Europe. Costa Rica and Peru are currently the most popular locations outside of Europe. The vast majority of study abroad participants are undergraduate juniors and senior students.

Overall, the MU International Center approves and provides general administrative support to all MU global education programs. The MU International Center also provides 24/7 health, safety, security support for students and faculty leaders participating of study abroad programs. The International Center also provides this 24/7 support for non-credit bearing MU sponsored activities.

The International Center provides the following core support services for study abroad for the MU campus:

  • Study abroad advising
  • Extensive study abroad software management and support
  • Study abroad enrollment management support for academic units
  • Training for academic advisers and study abroad professionals
  • Course transfer and course mapping support
  • Billing and fiscal support
  • Financial aid and scholarships support
  • Agreement reviews and approvals
  • International relationship management
  • Visa and passport support services
  • 24/7 Health, safety and security services (crisis management)
  • Communications, marketing and promotion
  • Non-credit bearing programs support
  • Advanced Terra Dotta Software support

In addition to the International Center, MU has six study abroad offices (Business, Engineering, Journalism, Service Learning, CAFNR, Education). The Law School, Nutrition and Exercise Physiology Dept., Executive MBA, Crosby MBA, and School of Accountancy also run their own smaller programs.

Benefits and drawbacks of current service models

The decentralized model of study abroad at MU provides students with customized credit-bearing global learning experiences specific for their academic interest. However, the decentralized model and lack of campuswide coordination for study abroad program design and offerings are fiscally and operationally inefficient, and therefore presents financial and logistical challenges and barriers to study abroad for students, including increasing their costs.

Most study abroad offices on campus (including the International Center) generate revenue through credit bearing study abroad programs (tuition and administrative fees) to cover the cost of program operations, logistics, staffing. It is still uncertain how the new campus budget model will affect the financial model for study abroad programs.

Opportunities for improving study abroad at MU

With more open communication and advanced coordination, MU can improve the study abroad academic experience of students, make study abroad more affordable, and ensure the financial sustainability of study abroad offices. Additionally, academic units such as Journalism, Business, and Education already offer outstanding global internship opportunities for students. We can work together to use these successful global internship models across the disciplines. MU is also well-positioned to lead study abroad system wide initiatives to increase system wide student participation, maximize resources, and alleviate challenges of staffing and limited resources in other UM campuses.

There is a growing trend of universities offering first semester or first year freshmen programs abroad, which can be an opportunity to attract new students and sustain enrollment growth. We could work with emeritus or teaching faculty to design this type of semester long programs. Additional opportunities include creating more study abroad programs in South Africa and Belgium through long standing partnerships with the University of Western Cape and Ghent University, designing cross-disciplinary study abroad programs in strategic locations for MU in partnership with key academic units, and providing campus seed funding/grants to design study abroad programs with future oriented topics such as UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals that can promote cross-departmental collaborations.

International students at MU

MU has more than 2,000 international students from 107 countries, enriching the campus culture and diversity, as well as the domestic student experience. International students at the University of Missouri-Columbia campus have a significant economic impact on the state, contributing an estimated $75.7 million dollars and supporting 1,080 jobs (NAFSA International Student Economic Value Tool).

International student recruitment

International graduate recruitment is primarily the purview of each academic department, though administratively supported through a centralized admissions and records framework under the coordination of the Graduate School. Conversely, undergraduate international student recruitment is centralized, and MU initiated concerted efforts beginning in 2010 to recruit international students by participating in overseas college fairs, meeting with international high school counselors, and engaging with U.S. embassies and EducationUSA events. International Student Ambassadors connect directly with prospective undergraduate students via email, a messaging platform, or a video chat. This opportunity for direct interaction personalizes the admissions process and provides prospective students with insight to the international student experience. The international admissions office also coordinates travel with Sponsored Programs and the Center for English Language Learning (CELL) to strategically engage in key markets while maximizing resources. Although most international travel targets prospective undergraduate students, MU recruiters represent the entire university while abroad and frequently engages with prospective graduate students and English program students. These offices also support to academic units when aware of their international outreach efforts. Unit-level recruitment efforts also exist. For example, the College of Education’s International Programs Task Force Report (2018) recently identified college-level strategies to improve international students, developing study abroad programs, with a goal of doubling their undergraduate international student enrollment.

The Asian Affairs Center has also engaged extensively in East Asia, with a focus on partnership and collaborations with institutions in China, South Korea and Vietnam. Additionally, AAC facilitates a variety of student experience opportunities through internships, non-degree educational and cultural programs. Since 1998 AAC has served as a key facilitator to help connect the MU campus to Asia and and Asia to MU. AAC has been collaboratively involved with International Admissions and Graduate Admission for many years, recruiting prospective students and engaging with MU international alumni in East Asia.

The Center for English Language Learning has also been an essential collaborator in international student recruitment and experiences at MU since 1979. CELL provides a critical gateway and pipeline for prospective undergraduate and graduate international students. Through its Intensive English Program, it provides high quality English language instruction to non-native speakers of English. It also provides language testing and coursework to assist MU international students with the English proficiency standards required of their degree programs. CELL has long been an active collaborator and partner with all of the admissions offices in efforts to recruit undergraduate and graduate international students.

The MU International Center’s International Sponsored Student Program also has actively engaged in collaborative international student recruitment over the past decade, working closely with International Admissions and CELL. International sponsored students are funded by U.S. or foreign governmental scholarships and represent about 7.5% of all international students studying in the U.S. At MU, international sponsored students represent about 12% of the total international student enrollment and are primarily from underrepresented countries, including, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Malaysia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Panama, Pakistan, Qatar, Serbia and the United Arab Emirates. Recruiting international sponsored students is a particularly important component of the University’s internationalization efforts by diversifying the international student body and enriching the cultural learning opportunities for our faculty, staff and students.

Despite the efforts described above, it is worth noting that overall, the University’s recruitment resources are weighted heavily toward domestic students, particularly domestic non-resident students, and the university has no specific enrollment goals for the number of international students. It is similarly worth noting that the domestic market is forecasted to produce less fewer high school graduates over the next ten years; meanwhile, student mobility is forecasted to grow from four million annually to seven million by 2025. Yet stakeholders at the institution note that MU’s current investment in the larger and growing global market is inadequate to meet the challenges of increased world-wide competition. Resources within colleges for recruiting are generally sparse, and the campus international undergraduate recruitment and admissions office is a small department and spread thin when trying to cover many international markets.

Stakeholders further note that university financial aid resources are also insufficient to attract or support larger numbers of undergraduate and graduate international students. Some countries, such as China, provides scholarships to support graduate studies up to 4 years, which covers stipends and health insurance. However, a faculty supervisor still needs to provide tuition fees — a dollar amount which is still substantial. Some other universities (for example, UC Davis (UC-Riverside, UNL) waive the tuition so that their faculty members can recruit international graduate students. If MU did the same, many international students could come to MU, as stipends and health insurance account for majority of the cost of hiring a graduate student. Some students and some governments are willing to pay all expenses including stipend, health insurance, and tuitions. However, strategic planning committee members have been told by stakeholders that MU and departments have not been encouraged to recruit these types of self-sponsored students. By contrast, some other universities do welcome and recruit these types of students.

Current challenges: enrollment declines

MU international undergraduate student enrollment climbed from 2,023 in 2011 to 2,569 in 2015, a 27% increase. Recruitment efforts expanded, additional international recruiters were hired, and a new CRM system, SLATE, was incorporated to enhance international student recruitment. Over the past year, MU’s International Admissions office, in partnership with MU stakeholders, recruited in 30 countries, participated in 300 visits and events, and made over 9,000 prospective student contacts. However, despite these efforts and MU’s well-organized, professionally staffed, and strong programs, the university has experienced a steady decline of international students since 2015, showing a 50% enrollment decrease in international undergraduates and a 23% decrease in international graduate students. Similarly, MU graduate enrollment showed mostly positive growth from 2009 to 2014, peaking at 3,960. However, by fall of 2018, graduate enrollment decreased to 3,404 or -14%. During the same period, MU international student graduate enrollment decreased 23%, from approximately 1,340 to 1,027.

It is very important to note that of all the units within International Programs, CELL has experienced the most substantial decline in student enrollment. After surging to a high of nearly 135 students in Fall 2015, its enrollment sank to a low of 35 students in Fall 2019. Nationwide intensive English programs (IEPs) enrollments are down 42% from their record highs in Spring 2015. According to many in the field of international student recruitment, IEPs are the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” for U.S. international student recruitment.

The decline in international student enrollments is attributable to many factors; many mid-western peer institutions of similar size and caliber are mirroring the same trends. IIE Open Doors 2018 reported that “states in the (geographic) center of the United States saw the steepest drops in enrollment in 2017/18 (-5.6%), compared to coastal states, which experienced growth or very small declines.” Similarly, the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) survey of Graduate Enrollment Degrees 2018 reported overall applications for admission to graduate school in Fall 2018 increased 2.2% over the previous year, with a total graduate enrollment increase of 1.5%. Yet first-time graduate enrollment of international students decreased 1.3% between fall 2017 and fall 2018. The CGS report also indicated that while it was the third decrease since 2003, the average rates of change over a five (+2.3%) and ten-year (+4.9%) period remained high.

Factors influencing these changes may include highly dynamic educational markets with increased competition around the globe, dramatic shifts in U.S. economic and immigration policies, and increased expectations by prospective students for an educational experience that provides an affordable, inclusive, and safe campus environment, in addition to predictable vocational outcomes that include training and employment opportunities in the U.S. before and after graduation. Additional external factors may include perceptions of safety, visa issues (perceived and real), perceptions of U.S. culture, particularly in this region (i.e. openness to international populations), increased competition for students (including external markets such as Canada, UK, and regional academic hubs), the development of English-medium universities and academic programs in non-English speaking countries, the strong U.S. currency valuation, and recent issues with College Board/SAT.

International students from China

The changing nature of U.S.-China relations represents another likely factor in international student declines. U.S. international student enrollment increases over the past ten years are largely attributable to Chinese students. Specifically, from 2007 to 2017, Chinese student enrollment at U.S. institutions of higher education increased 348%, from 81,127 to 363,341, and Chinese students represent 1/3 of the nearly one million international students currently studying in the U.S. Similarly dramatic, MU’s Chinese student enrollment grew from 382 in 2007 to 1330 in 2015 (a 248% increase). For three years, 2014-2016, undergraduate Chinese enrollment exceeded graduate Chinese enrollment for the first time. However, since 2015, MU has experienced a substantial decline in overall Chinese student enrollment, dropping 51%, to approximately 650. Within three years, MU lost as many Chinese students as it took nearly a decade to gain.

U.S. experts from intelligence agencies to academia are drawing attention to issues with U.S.-China relations. For example, the report, “Engagement with China: Recommendations for American College and Universities,” (2019; Friedman, Minzner, Greitens, & Uretsky) highlighted five areas of concern, including 1) research access in China, 2) lack of core and consistent academic principles among U.S. institutions in engagement with China, 3) inadequate coordination of campus China initiatives, as well as insufficient integration of China expertise, 4) potential risks to campus climate, and 5) minimal integration of Chinese students into campus life. The report also provides an array of campus life recommendations that will be helpful in reviewing MU’s international student experience, not only for students from China, but students from all over the world.

The MU International Center embarked in several collaborative efforts from 2014 to present, to support international students from China. Campus partners included MU Alumni Association, International Admissions, College of Engineering, Center for English Language Learning and the MU Chinese Student and Scholar Association. Programs included the Meet Mizzou-China pre-arrival orientations and alumni receptions, which were also conducted at the facilities with Chinese institutional partners with active MOUs. Additionally, mid-semester orientation seminars were offered to assist new undergraduate Chinese students in their adjustment to the MU campus. The program focused on safety and student success. For the past three years a new project was launched to facilitate “summer camp,” “short course” visits by prospective Chinese students through institutional partners. The most recent program hosted over 50 Chinese students for two weeks. These efforts may inform practices for other international student markets as student mobility trends shift or national policies confine the university’s options.

Measuring and monitoring MU international student satisfaction

MU serves the state of Missouri’s human resource needs for quality talent in support of economic prosperity by attracting talented students from all over the world. MU must continually seek ways to improve international student recruitment and experiences at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in order to remain academically competitive, culturally diverse and inclusive, and advance the institution’s national and international stature as a world-class research institution.

When attempting to answer the question, “why undergraduate international students in the U.S. leave their institution of first enrollment before completing a degree,” Choudaha and Schulmann (2017) made three recommendations for U.S. institutions: “1) understand the diverse needs and expectations of international students, 2) collaborate on internationalization efforts across departments, and 3) invest in campus programs and services that improve student experiences.” However, the university has not had consistent measures to identify the experiences of the international student community. The MU International Center, in partnership with International Admissions and the Center for English Language Learning (CELL), facilitated a series of campuswide assessments of international student satisfaction (2013, 2014, 2015) conducted by iGraduate, using a proprietary on-line survey instrument, the International Student Barometer. Overall, MU international students expressed high levels of satisfaction within the general categories of Arrival, Living, Support and Learning, particularly within “support services” (academic advising, career services, clubs or societies, dining services, health center, international student/scholar services, IT support, student union, etc.) where 90% or higher of international students reported they were highly satisfied. Yet, the iGraduate assessments also underscored the need to attend to “good practices” (Choudaha and Schulmann) in other areas, i.e., attention to campus integration, resource programming, compliance, intercultural learning opportunities for faculty and staff, interdepartmental coordination, and setting realistic expectations.

Additionally, in 2018, the MU International Center established the director of international analytics position to analyze international student experiences and interactions specifically through the center’s international student and scholar services (ISSS) team. One of the first projects developed was an instant feedback process for students to evaluate ISSS student advising services. During 2018-2019 academic year 1,424 international students received an email requesting their feedback on their student advising experience. 158 participants from forty-one countries completed the survey and rated their experience on a 10-point Likert scale. The results indicated an overall advising experience of 9.26 out of 10. ISSS will continue to utilize and develop similar assessment tools, not only to measure quantity of student interactions, but also quality. However, the ISSS team is limited primarily to maintaining federal compliance and providing the advising and document support services needed by the international community for their administrative and immigration needs.

There are numerous examples of efforts to be responsive to the international student experience. For example, International Admissions has been increasing collaboration across campus to facilitate integration and support of the international student community, and increasing efforts to accommodate the unique needs of international students, e.g. early arrival housing, early registration, dining options, etc. The International Center has developed robust compliance operations with accurate, efficient and responsive immigration services to international students, scholars and their family members. The IC has also developed several student-centered programs that are working well, including fall/spring student welcome/orientation programs and picnics, international friendship program, K12 Kaleidoscope, and holiday hospitality events, implementation of virtual advising (allows for face-to-face communication with students before they even arrive in the U.S., dependents who may not be able to come to campus, students on OPT, etc.) and the recent development of $mart Work Mizzou fellowship project that links first-semester undergraduate international students with on-campus employers.

In other examples, in 2018, the Dean of Students and Office of Student Engagement initiated a series of collaboration meetings between the MU International Center and the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX. The group has met regularly for the past three semesters, discussing opportunities for program and event collaboration and addressing concerns specifically related to the international student community. As a result, with the collaboration of Student Engagement, Missouri International Student Council, IDE and the MU International Center, International Undergraduate Admissions, and the Center for English Language Learning, international students have been invited to participate in an alcohol-free tailgate during homecoming. In the fall of 2019, over 150 international students participated in the Tailgate event. Similarly, The College of Business has two opportunities for international students to engage with all MU Trulaske students: (1) Each semester International Week highlights speakers on international topics, provides opportunities for students to engage in fun competition (soccer, trivia, etc.), and recognizes international students; (2) the student organization “Global Professionals” was specifically charted to provide opportunities for domestic and international students to come together to explore business topics.

However, gaps still remain. For example, issues identified by the strategic planning committee include a need for welcome week activities to facilitate greater engagement of the international community, an overall lack of infrastructure to ensure international student success and support, and a need for more fluid communication regarding international student success among campus stakeholders, particularly for CoE’s unique population of dual degree (transfer) students. Expertise in international student success is unevenly distributed throughout campus. This can lead to gaps in student support, errors in communication, and lack of context for establishing policies and procedures that are inclusive of international students’ needs. Our international students need to be a part of the MU traditions and domestic student experiences, but there remains a general lack of coordination between units/depts on international student programming and a need for more intentional programming for international students (ex: global leader retreat) to better serve all international students and enhance their experience and that of domestic students. Stakeholders experience challenges training up international students as GRAs who have not had work experiences, and there is frustration among some units regarding the state law governing international teaching assistants. Clearer limits and policies about work and pay are also needed; if international students are working, they should be compensated equitably for their time. Grievance procedures and processes to prevent retribution are also necessary protections.

Other ideas stakeholders have offered to better support our international students include:

  • Collaborative student programming with MISC, Asian Affairs and the International Center (we have begun but have some distance to go).
  • Collaboration with Tiger Pantry and work to make sure that students have support and resources.
  • Supporting international students in developing their English skills outside the classroom.
  • International student admissions are managed outside of units, in partnership with the International Center. Units don’t know until Census Day who our new international students are, limiting opportunities to reach out, welcome, and support students.
  • Encourage and provide training for faculty to facilitate cultural exchange starting in the classroom.
  • We want international students to be excited about their MU experience and tell others about it. Several plans above will help us achieve this. I would like to see all international student programming be developed a year in advance where we can tell a student in South Korea about out of classroom activities that will take place while they are at MU.
  • Food resources for students that fit their cultural needs. Many of these students don’t eat canned and pre-packaged food, and so they end up eating once a day because they can’t afford food that they eat.
  • Lack of public transportation and other infrastructure in the Columbia community outside of campus.
  • Create a true “international space” where international students can hang out and relax. For example, the Women’s Center, Multicultural Center, and Black Culture Center each have an inviting atmosphere where students know they can go to hang out. That doesn’t exist at the International Center. Stakeholder have shared hearing comments from students like, “that’s where you go to get paperwork done.”
Safety concerns of international students

International students and their families share many of the same concerns of our domestic families related to safety. In a recent NAFSA report, “International student recruitment and the perception of U.S. gun violence,” William Pruitt stated, “there is an overshadowing concern that plagues the minds of many parents and prospective international students who are looking to attend U.S. institutions of higher education, and a reality that recruitment officers must accept: the perception of gun violence in the United States.”

MU strives to provide a safe learning environment. The MU campus has a professional police force – one of the few campus law enforcement organizations accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which requires rigorous state-of-the-art standards. Still, international students express surprise and dismay when they are subjected to criminal incidents. MU must ensure that safety messages and outreach are understood by the international community, and strengthen campus and local community safety through proactive communication, training, outreach and neighborhood “watch” community engagement.

Promising areas, areas for growth, local/regional/national/and/or global trends

Expanding professional development to include programs specifically designed to meet the needs of international graduate students.

Expanding professional development for MU faculty and staff to learn about intercultural communication and strategies for effective communication with non-native speakers.

Creating spaces for international students and domestic students to engage in meaningful interactions.

Emphasizing career outcomes for international students – highlight success stories of MU international alumni, develop visual mapping of companies, national and international locations, where they are and what they are doing.

Expansion of on-campus employment experiences that support affordability, student engagement and career skill development.

Enhancement of on-campus housing and dining options that accommodate cultural aspects and preferences of the international student communities.

Faculty internationalization

Existing relationships which involve faculty are widespread. The most institutionalized, large, and/or long-standing include those in South Africa (University of Western Cape), Ghana (UMAP), and Belgium (Gent University), but there are numerous smaller programs that are faculty-led in many areas, including sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and India. There are 7 study abroad offices (including the International Center and six offices based in individual academic units), often led by faculty.

In general, feedback from stakeholders suggests there is not always a clear or consistent message that internationalization of faculty is a priority for the institution, and it is not well-incentivized at the campus level or consistently reinforced in faculty evaluations/P&T or in salary adjustments. At the level of individual academic units, some strong programs exist which provide resources and help facilitate international work by faculty. However, not all units have these resources, and consultation/collaboration across units is generally lacking. No centralized programs for faculty development related to internationalization exist. The International Center offers strong support for faculty in terms of study abroad programs, hosting J1 and H1-B scholars, and some informational resources online, but the information available here could be strengthened and updated, with missing content areas added (e.g., information specific to support of international faculty). New policies related to the new budget model are unclear and therefore causing faculty concern about the impacts on internationalization.
College of Engineering established the International Programs Committee (2019). This committee provides a faculty voice on matters related to internationalization in the College of Engineering, as well as communicating the initiatives of International Programs to the faculty of the college.

In CAFNR’s International Development, Innovation and Food Security the Innovation Labs (research collaboration programs funded by USAID Feed the Future are an opportunity to build research and training (grads and undergrads) and strengthen collaborations in Africa and Asia in particular. Like this, we need to learn of other opportunities that can build long term collaborations. Through these programs in the past we have built relationships in Kenya, Indonesia, Peru, Bolivia, Morocco, which resulted in other opportunities for our faculty and students for research and graduate student research. These are opportunities that we are not currently pursuing in a systematic way. The Deaton Institute of Leadership is at the center of change and adaptation, and could represent another opportunity for growth.

The institution has significant strengths in research and in internationalization already, but much that is happening is disconnected on campus (“if you happen to know the right person, you know something is available”). The institution could do more to capitalize on the strengths of existing knowledge and expertise held by individual faculty members and within academic units by:

  • Developing real-time systems to track international programs and work by faculty at the institution (without increasing burden of shadow work on faculty), and make that information widely available to promote collaborations;
  • Creating an inventory of international activities on campus educating students on global topics – including global courses and package on a website. Include courses, but also non-credit bearing activities and experiential learning (also Newman center activities) which are more difficult to track.
  • Recognizing and cataloging where strong unit-level programs and expertise exists, and make that information widely available;
  • Promoting consultation and collaborative work and expertise-sharing across academic units;
  • Strengthening and updating the information available on the International Center website that is geared specifically towards faculty concerns;

The institution could also do more to support internationalization – including:

  • Recognizing this value explicitly in mission/values statements;
    • Addressing why we want to be a global campus and how is this is of value to Missourians; and
    • Defining our footprint and cross-connecting internationalization with compacts.
  • Becoming more strategically proactive in developing relations with top universities/beneficial relationships for schools by:
    • Investing in strategic relationships and coordinating efforts across offices in regions (Brazil, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, South Africa, China).
    • Assisting schools in reaching out to potential partners – MOU templates, listing of ways in which we can engage internationally.
  • Increasing students going abroad by:
    • Developing cross-disciplinary study abroad courses.
    • Harnessing existing international groups on campus (doctors from Latin America or Engineers without Borders, for example), who could increase our footprint – recruiting information, offering programs abroad, etc.; and
    • Giving recruitment materials to departments so faculty could easily get it if they are traveling.
  • Addressing declining international student enrollment by:
    • Setting specific goals for how many international students we should have and clarifying how this fits into the enrollment plans;
    • Increasing our presence in recruitment abroad;
    • Including strategies such as utilizing the untapped resource of faculty traveling/researching internationally – ways to connect with prospective students when faculty are traveling internationally;
    • Building of better international alumni relationships;
    • Clarifying issues in new budget model relevant to faculty and staff concerns specific to recruitment of international students; and
    • Addressing student concerns about their experience on campus, including safety of international students.
  • Supporting faculty in research endeavors by
    • Promoting faculty exchange to facilitate research;
    • Encouraging valuation of internationalization in faculty evaluations, promotion and tenure, and salary;
    • Increasing intramural support to seed research;
    • Holding academic units accountable for transparency in the distribution of international travel funding; and
    • Investing in faculty development specific to internationalization.
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