Illinois State is making efforts to ensure graduates become global citizens.
Leading the charge is Assistant Provost Rita Bailey, who is overseeing work on the University’s first-ever international strategic plan. The creation of the plan was made a priority in Educating Illinois 2013-2018: Individualized Attention, Shared Aspirations.
“We are living in a global society,” Bailey said. “We are interacting on a daily basis with individuals around the world. It is important that our students are able to learn about and experience that world as a part of their education at Illinois State.”
A committee made up of faculty and staff members is analyzing practices and efforts already in place. After the analysis is complete, a recommendation will be created that will guide future efforts for embedding global issues into the curriculum and culture of Illinois State.
“Like other universities, we have limited resources to work with,” Bailey said. “We want to be sure we are investing those limited resources in places where they will be most effective for our students and faculty.”
Illinois State has been making strides toward become a global campus for years. Longstanding relationships with universities such as Srinakharinwirot University in Thailand, which has continued for nearly 30 years, have been maintained thanks to the efforts of faculty, administration, and students from both campuses as well as the support of the Office of International Programs and Studies (OISP). The International Fair has become a major draw for students and the community. The International Linkages unit of OISP provides on-campus informational programs, including an international speaker series and a weekly forum where global issues can be discussed. A new program through the Center of Teaching, Learning and Technology assists faculty in reinventing their courses by infusing global perspectives into an existing course curriculum.
“What we haven’t had until now is a campuswide cohesive strategic plan for growing internationalization,” Bailey said.
She hopes that by developing a strategic plan, barriers to international study can be identified and eliminated. Some obstacles, while seemingly small, can mean the difference between international students choosing Illinois State over another university. Larger barriers, such as rigid plans of study, can deter domestic students from studying internationally.
“I hope we will see global issues become a meaningful part of the curriculum of every department, school, and unit across campus,” Bailey said. “As a parent I value it, and as a citizen I value it. These intercultural competencies add strength to our diverse nation and help us thrive in the world.”