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Comprehensive Internationalisation in Buffalo

VU International News and Reviews No. 116 July 2 2018

July 2019

Comprehensive internationalisation has not featured in this VU IN&R for a long time – for lack of good examples. The University at Buffalo (past of the SUNY system) does provide such an example. Their report of the Provost’s Task Force for Inclusion and Engagement of International Students doesn’t explicitly refer to the concept of ‘comprehensive internationalisation’ but it does actually shows how to implement it in practice. The report speaks about inclusions and engagement of domestic and international students rather than about the inclusion of international students in the existing academic community. It uses a strong factual base of quantitative data as well as surveys among students and academics, with also comparative data on the situation elsewhere in the US. It takes a holistic look that ranges from recruitment & admission, orientation & arrival, the content and structure of the curriculum, the role of faculty, campus services, as well as employment opportunities and alumni involvement.

Their vision is that the whole university should emanate an atmosphere of welcome to international as well as domestic students, but they self-critically articulated as their starting point that “UB sends a powerful negative message to these students by assigning limited, inaccessible and frankly unattractive office space to International Student and Scholar Services.”

One of the interesting developments at the University at Buffalo is that they managed to align the strategic rethinking of their attitude to international students with a concurrent redesign of the academic core of their undergraduate curriculum. The result: international engagement and awareness as part of the core curriculum – not proposed by the international task force, but by the educational one.

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