University of Delaware Forges a Renewed Global Vision Through the ACE Internationalization Lab

September 2022 

​​​As the University of Delaware (UD) began preparing for its pioneering study abroad program's upcoming 100th anniversary in 2023, the decision to join the 17th cohort of the ACE Internationalization Laboratory in 2019 represented a renewed commitment to international education and global engagement. In undertaking this intensive two-year process, UD aimed to evaluate, shape, and expand the institution’s internationalization strategy and to amplify its impact as an international university with an optimized foundation for dynamic administration, education, and programming. UD is a public R1 research university with a student body of about 24,000 students. ​


In support of the university's strategic priority to strengthen interdisciplinary and global programs, the Lab committee at UD was charged with the following specific goals: 

  • ​​​Initiate a university-wide strategic planning process guided by ACE’s expertise to strengthen international programming and extend the institution’s global footprint 
  • Develop strategies to ensure that the university’s internationalization efforts encompass a wide range of countries and cultures 
  • Create an action plan and formulate recommendations to infuse international and comparative perspectives throughout UD’s teaching, research, and service 
  • Engage a diverse group of stakeholders in the internationalization dialogue to ensure that efforts are embraced throughout the campus 
  • Establish a more coherent presence for all things international at UD and more accurately track global activities 
  • Emphasize internationalization as a core component in support of all UD’s presidential priorities and develop strategies to increase international exposure for all members of the campus community 
  • Collect data and benchmark findings with peer institutions to get a better understanding of UD’s international activities 
  • Support UD’s international enrollment marketing plan aimed at prospective international students


​Through a campus-wide process, and based on an inventory of existing international initiatives and activities, the Lab committee developed a number of short-term and long-term recommendations for the university as it recalibrated its processes and set new global engagement strategies and priorities forward. Five overarching goals and considerations were proposed:  

  1. ​Cultivate a sense of “Global We” on campus and strengthen UD’s brand and visibility as an international university 
  2. Enhance international education opportunities at home and abroad to develop global citizens and engaged leaders 
  3. Reimagine and redefine study abroad beyond traditional cross-border mobility programs 
  4. Attract, retain, and support the success of international students through innovative recruitment strategies and collaborative programming 
  5. Deepen UD’s relationship with international institutions, sponsoring organizations, and government agencies through strategic and sustainable partnerships that support student and faculty exchange, research collaboration, and global learning opportunities.


Despite its long and rich tradition in international education and global engagement, it was important for UD to continue discussions regarding ways in which it could build upon its history with innovative strategies and measured practices for internationalizing the campus across all operations and settings. This renewed global vision was—and continues to be—pertinent in a constantly changing environment, both locally and globally. UD’s participation in the ACE Internationalization Lab provided a new stimulus to begin the process for reshaping and expanding the institution’s internationalization strategy to all parts of the world, with collaborative input from faculty, staff, and students representing various domains on campus. The University of Delaware Internationalization Lab Report was developed as the culmination of the ACE Lab and provided a strong platform for the university to continue developing its comprehensive internationalization strategic plan, with a strengthened approach to articulated administrative leadership, structure and staffing; internationalized curriculum, co-curriculum, and learning outcomes; faculty policies and practices; as well as innovative practices for enhancing student mobility and collaboration and partnerships.  

​“The ACE Lab provided us with a strong platform for establishing a renewed global vision and commitment by actively engaging our administrators, faculty, staff, and students throughout the process. We are eager to continue working on the implementation of our strategic plan that is rooted in standards of best practice and developed through the lens of global learning for all.”—Ravi Ammigan, Associate Provost for International Programs, UD


The UD Lab team offers the following advice to institutions considering embarking on the ACE Internationalization Lab:   

  • ​Make effective use of both preexisting and new data points through qualitative and quantitative methods to support the self-study process; the wealth of information available to the Lab committee through annual reports and document portals was extremely helpful for compiling findings and recommendations
  • Develop a campus-wide communication strategy to guide the Lab process; help articulate its goals, actions, and metrics; optimize engagement and input from members of the university; and provide regular progress updates to the campus community
  • Work closely with your ACE adviser throughout the process and make use of templates, online resources, and published reports shared by ACE

​The ACE Internationalization Lab 

The Internationalization Lab provides customized guidance and insight to help colleges and universities achieve their internationalization goals. Learn more about the Lab and how to apply. 

​Learn more