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ACE Research Explores Impact of Tenure and Promotion Policies on Campus Internationalization Efforts

November 10, 2015


ACE's Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement (CIGE) has released a new report about tenure and promotion policies and how they incentivize faculty's internationalization efforts.

Colleges and universities are increasingly embracing internationalization as a key institutional priority, and as the drivers of teaching and learning, faculty play a critical role in those efforts. Internationalizing the Tenure Code: Policies to Promote a Globally Focused Faculty examines how institutions have incorporated internationally focused criteria into their tenure and promotion polices. Based on an analysis of 91 policy documents, the report includes examples of language used, information about trends in focus and content and strategies for implementation.

"Fostering an international focus among faculty early in their careers helps institutions build a globally engaged professoriate from the ground up," said Robin Matross Helms, author of the report and CIGE's associate director for research. "We hope this report will serve as a helpful resource for those institutions looking to incentivize faculty engagement in internationalization by incorporating globally focused criteria into tenure codes."

While institutions often express interest in doing so, just 8 percent of respondents to ACE's 2011 Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses survey reported that their institutions had guidelines in place to specify international work or experience as a consideration in faculty promotion and tenure decisions.

Many institutions are seeking guidance for how to implement changes, and this report responds to that request by offering examples of tenure policies that incentivize internationalization efforts and interviews with people who are implementing them successfully, as well as proposing topics for additional research.

The report also reveals that contrary to stated internationalization goals—which consider student learning as a top priority—internationally focused teaching activities are the least commonly found criteria in tenure and promotion codes. Research is the category in which the most international references appear, followed by service.

"This suggests a disconnect between what institutions are hoping to accomplish through internationalization and the message they are sending to faculty about what they can and should be contributing to the process," said Helms.

Read the full report here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Megan Cotten ▪ (202) 939-9433  ▪​​

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