Loyola Marymount University Fulfills a Vision for Global Imagination Through the ACE Internationalization Lab

October 2022 

Loyola Marymount University (LMU)—a private, Catholic research university in Los Angeles that serves about 10,000 studentsjoined Cohort 17 of the ACE Internationalization Lab in 2019 to build on the president’s articulated vision for  global imagination,​ which is focused on preparing students to take their place in a rapidly changing interconnected world. Led by a provost who was new at the time, this initiative became part of an overall commitment to turning once piecemeal efforts into a sustainable strategy of global learning and engagement. Through these efforts, LMU’s provost created a new Office of Global-Local Affairs (GLA) office and appointed an inaugural senior international officer, further reflecting internationalization as a top priority at LMU.  


As a member of the Internationalization Lab, LMU sought to gain greater knowledge of all the internationalization efforts across campus to create an action-oriented strategic international plan. That plan would aim to strengthen LMU’s visibility as a globally influential university and inform decision making to promote internationalization as an essential feature throughout all departments and units. 


LMU’s Lab process produced five overall recommendations: 

  1. ​Align structure to coordinate internationalization efforts 
  2. Establish shared understandings of internationalization 
  3. Promote and strengthen global learning opportunities for all 
  4. Enhance LMU’s global reputation 
  5. Identify funding sources for internationalization initiatives 

​The first recommendation, which included building out a sustainable structure, was the most impactful, as this was a foundation developed by creating a reputable office through which LMU could incrementally achieve all the other recommendations. ​


LMU achieved several key outcomes through their Lab journey. First, the Lab facilitated discussions on internationalization throughout the campus community and brought awareness to the newly appointed GLA office and staff, highlighting internationalization as a priority for campus leadership. Second, the Lab provided a centralized review of previous internationalization efforts so the Lab team could assess the whole landscape of internationalization at LMU and create an intentional, sustainable strategic plan for the future.  

Tangible outcomes from the Lab process included starting to align the institutional structure of the new GLA office to better coordinate campus internationalization efforts. This involved a name change and the hiring of a director of operations and an academic programs liaison, in addition to appointing GLA Faculty Fellows connected with LMU's Center for Teaching Excellence to support integration of internationalization across the curriculum. These various positions serve as GLA representatives in global learning campus conversations. Another key outcome was the creation of LMU's Global Engagement Directory as a central and accessible place to record international efforts by faculty and staff. There is a demonstrated passion and energy for global learning at LMU, and the Global Engagement Directory helps account for intentional as well as random acts of internationalization across the campus. ​

​​"As an inaugural SIO, the ACE Lab process has been a wonderful way to get our campus involved in productive conversations around internationalization and to think together about how to move our university forward in an efficient and sustainable manner. The expertise of the ACE adviser and peer review team were critical components of this process and our cohort meetings provided learning opportunities that assisted us at various stages along the way to the final Lab report.”—Roberta Espinoza, Vice Provost for Global-Local Affairs,​ Loyola Marymount University ​


LMU offers the following advice to institutions considering embarking on the ACE Internationalization Lab:  

  • ​​​The relationship with the ACE Lab adviser is key to working through the challenges and opportunities the Lab presents for the institution.  
  • It is critical that university leadership be fully committed to the Lab process and its outcomes because they articulate and drive the vision for the university and allocate resources.  
  • It is helpful to keep in mind that universities are generally slow to change and shifting the culture and mindset of a university can be especially demanding. Beginning with some quick wins can initiate the momentum needed to push forward—particularly when faced with external challenges, such as a pandemic! Leaning on the external peer review can also be extremely useful in supporting institutional change.