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Gallaudet undertakes major internationalization initiative

December 3, 2018
By Todd Byrd


Gallaudet has taken a major step in reaffirming its aim of being a major global hub for research and outreach by joining the Internationalization Laboratory (IZN) for 2017 to 2019. The objectives of Gallaudet’s participation are to review current international activities across the University, clarify institutional goals, recommend internationalization goals and priorities, and develop a strategic action plan.

IZN, an initiative of the American Council on Education (ACE), is an invitational learning community where participating institutions develop goals and strategies for comprehensive internationalization. ACE defines comprehensive internationalization as a “strategic, coordinated process that seeks to align and integrate policies, programs, and initiatives to position colleges and universities as more globally oriented and internationally connected institutions.” With more than 50 nations represented at Gallaudet, and expectations for its students to become global citizens and agents of positive change, there is a need to refine the University’s international dimension.

The campus effort is led by a team co-chaired by Dr. Caroline Solomon, Department of Science, Technology professor, and Mathematics and Faculty Senate chair; Dr. Charles Reilly, Office of Research Support and International Affairs executive director; Gregoire Youbara, Department of World Languages and Cultures instructor; and William Hughes, Division of Administration and Finance assistant treasurer.

Arlinda Boland, ’05 & G-’13, serves as the Internationalization Planning and Engagement coordinator. Approximately 80 people on campus are involved in the IZN process.

ACE’s six pillars to guide IZN are: articulated institutional commitment; administrative leadership, structure, and staffing; curriculum, co-curriculum, and learning outcomes; faculty policies and practices; student mobility; and collaboration and partnerships. Due to the unique nature of Gallaudet, the IZN Steering Committee added two pillars: education and research abroad, and international student support and inclusion. An additional component to the collaboration and partnerships pillar includes capacity building projects for international collaborations.

Gallaudet is one of 11 universities in the 2017-2019 IZN cohort. Only 127 institutions of higher learning have sought ACE’s expertise since IZN’s inception in 2002. Participation in IZN represents, “a tremendous opportunity for these institutions to share lessons and challenges as they undergo a cultural transformation over the coming months,” said Dr. Robin Helms, director of ACE’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement, and Gallaudet’s primary advisor in the Internationalization Laboratory process.

The first IZN meeting was held on August 30, 2017, at ACE’s offices in Washington, D.C., and attended by Heather Harker, Office of the President chief of staff, and the leadership team. This was followed by a visit to Gallaudet by Helms on December 4, where she met with the co-chairs of the nine working groups: Articulated Institutional Commitment; Administrative Leadership, Structure, and Staffing; Curriculum, Co-Curriculum, and Learning Outcomes; Faculty Policy and Practices; International Student Recruiting Strategy; International Student Support and Inclusion; Education and Research Abroad; International Collaboration: Academic; and International Cooperation: Capacity-Building Projects.

Helms outlined the schedule for additional meetings with ACE staff in 2018 to review progress, share experiences, and discuss subsequent steps; a peer review by three external members who will visit the University to write an evaluation report and offer suggestions; and implementation of the plan in the spring of 2019.

IZN’s early findings focus on three themes: growing demand for experiential and global learning; pathways for international student success; and international collaborations with mutual and sustainable benefits that can contribute to Gallaudet’s role in an increasingly globalized world. The schedule and progress made to date were shared with the Board of Trustees at its May meeting on campus by the steering committee, with support from Provost Carol J. Erting and President Roberta J. Cordano.

The next step for IZN is to interview students, faculty, and staff to showcase Gallaudet’s current internationalization initiatives on and off campus.

The end result of this rigorous planning model is expected to be highly rewarding. Anticipated outcomes include enhanced institutional reputation and competitive position; preparing students for global citizenship; making students more competitive in the global marketplace; enhancing the University’s research agenda; and helping to create a better, more understanding world.

For additional information on IZN, email or go to the website,

IZN workgroups graphic

Nine workgroups spearhead Gallaudet’s IZN Lab.

3 December 2018
By Todd Byrd


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Todd Byrd

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