Black Colleges Face Challenges in Their Global Efforts, Report Says

Chronicle of Higher Education, September 16, 2014

Report: “Creating Global Citizens: Challenges and Opportunities for Internationalization at HBCUs”

Organization: American Council on Education

Summary: As global learning becomes a top priority in American higher education, historically black colleges and universities may face challenges that are common to other institutions but in a more pronounced manner, according to a report released on Monday by the American Council on Education.

The report highlights the experiences of seven HBCUs that worked with the council to develop campuswide internationalization strategies. The three-year study, which was financed in part by the U.S. Department of Education, sought to find what factors were aiding or impeding the internationalization process at HBCUs.

The report says that senior leaders at HBCUs play a central role in creating global learning environments. In order to sustain momentum for internationalization strategies, such leaders must develop clear policies to support their global goals.

Among the report’s other findings:

  • Institutional stakeholders need a clear understanding of the importance of internationalization on HBCU campuses and how to reach those goals.
  • The success of global strategies hangs on clearly written policies and practices that support colleges’ plans. Uncertainty is the enemy.
  • HBCUs must develop action plans with benchmarks to determine effective strategies. By reviewing their progress, HBCUs can gauge the effectiveness of their internationalization activities and assess the attitudes of their campus members.
  • Comprehensive internationalization requires long-term vision. HBCUs should start with short-term goals as they carry out strategies to achieve the long-term picture.

Bottom Line: HBCUs must make strategic efforts–starting with the core mission of the institution–to keep up with the goal of internationalizing their campuses. Sparse resources and unclear policies can thwart those efforts, but HBCUs can succeed by creating action plans with long-term goals.

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