University of Maryland, Baltimore County Engages Their Whole Campus Community on Internationalization Through the ACE Internationalization Lab

October 2022 

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) joined Cohort 16 of the ACE Internationalization Laboratory in 2018 to take advantage of the Lab’s structure and support for realizing campus transformation. UMBC is a public R-1 university that serves more than 13,000 students and received designation as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution in 2017. UMBC’s leadership elevated global engagement as a critical component of enhancing the student experience; supporting innovating curricula; strengthening community connections; and increasing the collective impact of the institution’s research, scholarship, and creative achievement.​​


UMBC’s primary goals for participation in the Internationalization​ Lab were to:  

  1. ​Assess the current state of internationalization
  2. Develop a plan for advancing the intercultural, international, and global dimensions of the university’s mission
  3. Include the perspectives of as many members of the campus community as possible in this work


The UMBC Lab team developed the following recommendations for university leadership based on their findings from the Lab process: 

  1. ​​​​Develop a physical space for global engagement
  2. Centralize the management of international partnerships
  3. Enhance campus-wide coordination of international recruitment activities
  4. Increase access to global learning


At the conclusion of their Internationalization Lab work, UMBC noted the following accomplishments, among others: 

  1. ​Engagement by more than 400 students, faculty and staff via focus groups, interviews, online surveys, and a campus retreat
  2. Completion of a comprehensive internationalization self-study and benchmarking analysis
  3. Identification of several key priorities for internationalization and global engagement that align with the goals and objectives expressed within the university's strategic plan
  4. Establishment of multiple campus-wide committees focused on advancing various aspects of internationalization
​"The Lab provides an ideal platform by which to engage the entire campus community in discussions about internationalization and global engagement."—David L. Di Maria, Senior International Officer and Associate Vice Provost for International Education, UMBC


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

  1. ​​Appoint someone to provide administrative support to the Lab committee(s); UMBC hired a graduate assistant for this purpose who proved invaluable in helping to increase Lab participation, collect benchmarking data, and complete UMBC's nearly 200-page self-study
  2. Include a benchmarking analysis as part of the self-study; UMBC’s study of peer and aspirational peer institutions included data analysis, site visits, and phone interviews with senior international officers at those institutions
  3. Make this a campus-wide initiative and not just a project of the international office staff; UMBC formed an internationalization steering committee and six subcommittees, which collectively included more than 80 members of its campus community.  
  4. Engage committee members beyond the basic work of their committee; UMBC provided funding for several faculty members serving on Lab subcommittees to attend international education meetings and conferences that they would not normally attend