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Institutional Context and Culture

December 30, 1899


​Institutional culture “is reflected in what is done, how it is done, and who is involved in doing it. It concerns decisions, actions, and communication both on an instrumental and a symbolic level”. It is “grounded in the shared assumptions of individuals” within the organization.

William G. Tierney - Organizational Culture in Higher Education: Defining the Essentials

​Institutional context and culture are critical to assessing the potential for collaboration, devising an approach for collaboration, and embarking upon initiatives that serve as tangible representations of collaboration. As such, there is no “one-size-fits-all” model to collaboration. People, practices, and past and current structures are specific areas that must be evaluated to determine strategies for effective collaboration.

  • Bridget Newell: Paths of Collaboration

    Bridget Newell: Paths of Collaboration

Questions to Assess Institutional Climate for Collaboration

Consider the following questions in assessing institutional climate for collaboration. Additional relevant questions may be explored in the “Where to Begin” section of this toolkit.

Does your institution currently have an articulated commitment to collaboration between internationalization and diversity?

  • If not, what is your motivation for pursuing collaboration at this time?
  • If yes, what promising practices currently exist to cultivate collaboration between diversity and internationalization at your institution?

What has been a major challenge or obstacle to your institution’s ability to initiate or advance collaboration between diversity and internationalization?

What is your institutional goal for engaging in collaboration between diversity and internationalization?

Although there may not be a singular model for collaboration that will work equally effectively across all institutions, there are strategies employed by many institutions that can be explored for applicability within one’s own institutional context. This model of shared learning was leveraged within the cohort model utilized in the current project, contributing significant benefit to the overall project.

  • Joanne Woodard and Lee Todhunter: Culture and Context

    Joanne Woodard and Lee Todhunter: Culture and Context

  • Gwenn Bookman and Ingrid Schmidt: Institutional Context and Culture

    Gwenn Bookman and Ingrid Schmidt: Institutional Context and Culture

Similarly, while many educators accept that the twenty-first century requires our students to be culturally competent, there is not a universally accepted approach to how institutions accomplish this. The process that institutions undertake to encourage student development and achievement of intercultural learning outcomes must be developed and implemented in a manner that is consistent with the institution’s culture and context.

  • Joanne Woodard: Curricular Impact of Collaborative Work

    Joanne Woodard: Curricular Impact of Collaborative Work

Next Section: The Process of Collaborating

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