Options for Internationalizing the Curriculum

Resource Format:
Web Resource
Resource Title:
Education Abroad U-M Accred 2010

Graphic for Interantionalizing the Curriculum

The following categories suggest a range of options and effort, from tweaking existing courses to developing new international collaborations. Note that international experiences in higher education today give attention to equity and reciprocity, in strong contrast to the "occasional tourist" or "charity export" models that once characterized study abroad. Today's models demand deeper involvement by both instructors and students, yet yield much greater reward.

Embed international elements in existing courses
  • Incorporate international material into existing courses wherever relevant using examples, case studies, and guest lectures
  • Create components or modules based on international theme(s), as part of the course
  • Collaborate with faculty (at U.S. and international institutions) to develop and share international course content
  • Integrate an " international field trip", i.e. short-term international travel, into a course  
Expand course and curricular offerings
  • Develop discipline-specific, internationally focused courses
  • Develop interdisciplinary courses with international focus
  • Develop minors focused on issues spanning international contexts, or issues intersecting in a particular international context
  • Develop new concentrations
Create deeper and improved study abroad options

(See also a list of recommendations from the Internationalization section of the UM Accreditation Report of 2010)

  • Facilitate international placements for students through research networks
  • Collaborate with campus colleagues to promote study and research abroad programs
  • Promote opportunities in countries outside Western Europe
  • Provide frameworks for student preparation that include:
    • Clear statement of procedures required (visas, vaccines, etc.)
    • Pre-departure review of all travel logistics
    • Pre-departure reflection, socio-political study, and training on language and cultural differences
    • Regular communication or journalling while student is abroad
    • Re-entry programs and formal reflection opportunities to enhance the impact of the international experience, and assist students' identification and exploration of intellectual, social and ethical issues, and changes in belief that might emerge after this experience


Options to establish international connections with reciprocity

Short-term options:

  • Invite international faculty at U-M, or faculty with international expertise to be guest lecturers in a course or colloquium
  • Invite faculty from outside the U.S. to give guest lectures, in-person or virtually 
  • Present at international conferences and cultivate connections abroad

Long term options:

  • Invite scholars from outside the U.S. to be visiting fellows or faculty for a semester or longer
  • Use opportunities when researching or teaching abroad to establish collaborative relationships with scholars there, and to involve local community and academic experts
  • Establish a pattern of information exchange with colleagues abroad that will be of value to them as well as to you and your colleagues and students at U-M
  • Be attentive to opportunities to collaborate with other U-M research or teaching projects abroad, to maximize the value and impact
  • Create partnerships with universities and other institutions abroad, to facilitate study and research.

Crabtree, R. (2008). Theoretical Foundations for International Service Learning.

Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning,15(1), 18-36.

Desoff, A. (2006, March/ April). Who's Not Going Abroad?
International EducatorXV(2), 20-27.

Johnston, J.S., and Spalding. J.R. (1996). Internationalizing the Curriculum.
Handbook of the Undergraduate Curriculum: A Comprehensive Guide to Purposes, Structures, Practices, and Change (pp. 416-434).
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

U-M Internationalization Self Study for the 2010 Accreditationhttp://accreditation.umich.edu/history/

Fall 2007 LS&A Discussion of Internationalization in the Curriculum (U-M)

Redden, E. (2007, June 11). Study Abroad Isn't Just for White Students.
Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com

Redden, E. (2007, June 1). So What Did You Learn in London?
Inside Higher Ed.Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com

American Council on Education, Center for Institutional and International Initiatives. (2002). Beyond September 11: A Comprehensive National Policy on International Education.