U.S. Colleges Show Trend Toward Internationalization
By CHRISTOPHER F. SCHUETZE
July 8, 2012
U.S. colleges and universities are becoming more international, even if second-language education is decreasing and funding is stagnating in some cases, according to a study released last month by the American Council on Education.
“Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses” examined funding, degree requirements, curriculums, admissions, hiring policies and self-perception to measure to what extent U.S. universities are looking outside the country.
“We are constantly reminded that in order to compete in the 21st century, the U.S. work force must be prepared to operate across borders,” said the council’s president, Molly Corbett Broad.
The report found that a majority of institutions reported an increase in internationalization in the last three years. When asked whether the trend had accelerated, 93 percent of doctoral institutions and 78 percent of master’s institutions said yes. However, only 47 percent of the schools that thought they were becoming more international had more money dedicated to the process now than five years ago.
In one of the sharpest increases, 68 percent of institutions claim that international background and experience were considered when hiring faculty, up from 32 percent in 2006.
Foreign language studies have become less commonplace. Only 37 percent of undergraduate students now have to learn a foreign language to graduate, down from nearly 53 percent in 2001.