“Internationalizing” at Valencia

By Jennifer Robertson, Director, Study Abroad and Global Experiences

In 2010, Valencia made a commitment to internationalization through the development of a strategic plan for international education. The International Education Steering Committee was formed along with a number of subcommittees to move this work forward. Multiple departments and divisions worked in collaboration to define our vision: To create globally competent citizens of the 21st century with the necessary knowledge, abilities, and opportunities to thrive in an ever-increasing, interdependent world.

In order to achieve this vision, the groups agreed to use Knight’s 2004 definition of “internationalization” as the foundation upon which all of our future work would be based and six goals were developed.

The next stage of this work required us to identify what it meant to be a “globally competent citizen.” Working collaboratively with the subcommittees, we created a survey to identify the competencies of a global citizen and sent it to staff, faculty, and students in April 2012. The survey included the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that a student would need to be considered “globally minded.” We had 1,311 students and 185 staff and faculty respond to the survey. Click here to learn about the competencies.

In June 2012, the College Learning Council approved the next steps in this work, which is to review the course learning outcomes in the top enrolled general education courses and to engage in open dialogue with faculty, allowing us to determine to what extent our curricula is already internationalized. From there we will need to identify what program development is required to help students achieve the attitudes, knowledge, and skills identified above, along with assessment methods to evaluate this work.

As we embark on the next stages of internationalizing of our campus and curricula at Valencia, we should continue to stay abreast of the current literature and use what we can learn from other institutions that are further along on this path. At the same time, we need to celebrate our achievements over the last two years. We have seen increased faculty interest in internationalizing the curriculum and participating in overseas exchange opportunities, including international projects for sabbaticals and endowed chair applications. We have developed relationships with six overseas institutions to promote both credit and non-credit programs.

Continuing Education has experienced steady growth in its international student recruitment for the Intensive English program and the Disney International College program. We have had 172 students participant in short-term study abroad trips and nine students in semester study abroad trips over the last two years.

Work is being done at the Winter Park Campus to develop a Global Distinction program as part of the Seneff Honors College Jeffersonian Track, which will also have a study abroad component to it. We have had a number of international guest speakers, and we have a planning committee for International Education Week involving staff and faculty across the college. Finally, we are working on an International Education Annual Report that will capture all of the activities going on college-wide in order to report out and share ideas on all aspects of internationalization.

It is the hope of all involved with this work that the implementation of the strategic plan for international education over the next five years and beyond will engage all areas of the college, involving both faculty and staff at every level.

To read the full article, “Internationalizing” at Valencia, click on the icon below.

If you’re interested in learning more about internationalizing, check out the upcoming conference at Valencia, Classrooms without Borders: Internationalizing the Curricula. Learn more by clicking here.

If you have questions about this work or want to know how you can get involved, contact Jennifer Robertson at jroberston@valenciacollege.edu or at extension 3404.

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