As you begin exploring possible collaboration, consider the following:
What efforts, if any, are already in place that might support collaborative work?
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.
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?
- What do you hope to accomplish through collaborative work?
- What types of support and resources would you need to develop and sustain collaboration?
- Is there a sense of “readiness” at this institution for collaboration?
- Does the institutional mission statement, vision statement, or strategic plan indicate that this work would be of value to meeting the stated objectives?
- Is there a critical mass of faculty or staff interested in intercultural competence as a core student learning outcome?
- Are there current curricular and co-curricular efforts that promote shared student learning outcomes between international and multicultural education?
- 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?
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.
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.
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.