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Where to Begin: Tips for Getting Started

December 30, 1899


​In order to effect change, and for this change to be transformative, long-lasting, and institutionalized, time and patience must be employed. For many of the project institutions, it was important to start small and utilize a pilot project approach. However, it is also important to recognize opportunities as timing may be ripe to impact change at a larger and higher level at the institution.

  • Bridget Newell: Institutional Engagement, Campus wide Engagement, Advocates  Champions, Campus Disc

    Bridget Newell: Institutional Engagement, Campus wide Engagement, Advocates Champions, Campus Disc

As you begin exploring possible collaboration, consider the following:

  1. What do you hope to accomplish through collaborative work?
  2. What types of support and resources would you need to develop and sustain collaboration?
  3. Is there a sense of “readiness” at this institution for collaboration?
    • Joanne Woodard and Lee Todhunter: Readiness Indicators

      Joanne Woodard and Lee Todhunter: Readiness Indicators

    1. Does the institutional mission statement, vision statement, or strategic plan indicate that this work would be of value to meeting the stated objectives?
      • Kevin Hovland: Mission, Global Learning, and Outcomes

        Kevin Hovland: Mission, Global Learning, and Outcomes

    2. Is there a critical mass of faculty or staff interested in intercultural competence as a core student learning outcome?
    3. Are there current curricular and co-curricular efforts that promote shared student learning outcomes between international and multicultural education?
    4. Does the institution have structures in place to support internationalization and diversity efforts? If so, are there individuals who have shared connections  between the two foci?
      • Ingrid Schmidt and Joanne Woodard: Institutional Context and Readiness

        Ingrid Schmidt and Joanne Woodard: Institutional Context and Readiness

    5. What efforts, if any, are already in place that might support collaborative work?
    6. Is the institution currently engaged in an initiative where exploration of collaborative efforts would be beneficial? This might include strategic planning, reviewing the general education curriculum, or evaluating institutional student learning outcomes. Timing can play a critical role in the achievement of AHITW objectives, particularly as it aligns with an institutional-wide process.
      • Charles Sweet and Kee Warner: Strategic Alignment

        Charles Sweet and Kee Warner: Strategic Alignment

  4. Are there existing structures (such as task forces, committees, etc.) that focus on one area or the other to incorporate concepts of AHITW and work at the intersection?
    • Saul and Sheila: Starting Point for Collaboration

      Saul and Sheila: Starting Point for Collaboration

Once it is clear that the institution is primed for collaborative efforts, it is important to remember that:

  • Language, or how this work is discussed on one’s campus, and definitional consensus play a critical role at the early stages of this work. Take the time to ensure that committee members and key players are on a similar page with the lexicon used to discuss the shared work.
  • Strategic selection of committee members to achieve the desired goals is critical. Team leaders, in many cases appointed by a senior leader, should have a vision or clear charge for the end goals of their work in order to engage the appropriate individuals on campus or within the local community.
  • Communication with key stakeholders must occur on a regular basis. Committees should establish regular meeting schedules, and committee leaders should determine a communication plan to ensure that senior leaders and those not immediately involved in conversations are made aware of the efforts.
  • Be respectful of the competing priorities and time/resource constraints. This will be the case with any new initiative on a campus. Committee members should be encouraged to communicate within the group as well as with their supervisors (if they are appointed to the committee) about their expectations of how much time and energy they can invest to the work.
  • Implementing AHITW initiatives should be viewed as a long-term, dynamic process. Sometimes you have to start small with short-term, achievable goals in order to develop momentum around the initiative. However, while starting small, begin to develop a long-term vision for where this work will go and how it will impact the students and institutions in the future.
  • While it is difficult to compare campuses, given that there is no one-size-fits-all model, begin to explore what other peer institutions are doing within the shared space. While it may not be directly applicable at your institution, you may gain useful insights that can indeed be employed to advance your efforts.
    • Gwenn Bookman and Ingrid Schmidt: One Size Fits All Doesn't Exist, Sharing Ideas, Adapting Model

      Gwenn Bookman and Ingrid Schmidt: One Size Fits All Doesn't Exist, Sharing Ideas, Adapting Model

Think Long-Term

To ensure the success of collaborative efforts, they must become institutionalized—they must move from being ad-hoc practices by some faculty or staff to being a central part of core aspects of the institution’s mission, vision, and values.

  • Yolanda Moses: Institutionalization

    Yolanda Moses: Institutionalization

In order for institutionalization to take place, several critical stakeholders must be involved in discussions about developing this work in a sustainable manner. With the commitment and dedication of critical stakeholders who are able to demonstrate success and impact of pilot initiatives, greater breadth and depth is likely to occur.

Resource allocation is critical to ensuring that collaborative efforts are impactful and sustainable. Once the campus committee has devised AHITW initiatives, funding is critical for moving ideas into action. Though new funding mechanisms are an option, creative reallocation can also be a useful strategy.

  • Damon Williams: Funding Collaborative Efforts

    Damon Williams: Funding Collaborative Efforts

  • Yolanda Moses: Resources Funding

    Yolanda Moses: Resources Funding

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