University Comprehensive Internationalization (CI): Faculty Meaning-Making, Motivations, and Perceptions for Engaging Globally

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Virginia Tech

American universities have been internationalizing for decades, and their leaders often contend they must engage globally to stay relevant and prepare students adequately for a rapidly changing work environment. Faculty members, as keepers of the curricula and pivotal university actors, are critical to global engagement efforts on their campuses. However, many university leaders have yet to engage individual professors in ways that have resulted in securing their sustainable support for comprehensive internationalization (CI). A similar weakness of CI related research to date has been its failure to include a broad group of voices when investigating faculty engagement in internationalization.

Following Childress’ framework (2010), this study explored the meaning-making, motivations, and perceptions attached to CI through individual interviews with a sample from all ranks of U.S. civil and environmental engineering faculty members from three Land Grant universities. Interviewees highlighted a variety of barriers and motivations linked to internationalization including, historical constructs, personal and professional values, and perceptions of potential outcomes of CI engagement. The analysis highlights and explores these factors and their connections to the international outlook ranking for interviewees’ institutions.

faculty engagement, comprehensive internationalization, global engagement, Education, Higher, university