Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses is a signature project of the American Council on Education
(ACE) Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement (CIGE). Conducted every five years, Mapping
assesses the current state of internationalization at American colleges and universities, analyzes progress and
trends over time, and identifies future priorities.
The 2016 Mapping Survey—like the three previous iterations—addressed the six key areas that make up the
CIGE Model for Comprehensive Internationalization: articulated commitment; administrative structures and
staffing; curriculum, co-curriculum, and learning outcomes; faculty policies and practices; student mobility; and
collaboration and partnerships. Key findings include:
• Institutions are optimistic about their internationalization progress. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent)
of respondents indicated that internationalization accelerated in recent years, and the proportion
of institutions reporting “high” or “very high” levels of internationalization rose from just over
one-fifth in 2011 to 30 percent in 2016.
• Internationalization is increasingly an administrative-intensive endeavor, coordinated by a single
office and/or a senior international officer. More institutions are implementing policies, procedures,
and planning processes to guide internationalization efforts.
• In-house models dominate when it comes to resources for internationalization and the management
of activities and programs. However, a notable proportion of institutions are also engaging with
outside entities (e.g., third-party program providers, funders, and international partners) to further
support and supplement internal efforts.
• While student mobility has consistently been a focus of internationalization efforts, the 2016 data
indicate an increasingly sharp emphasis on this area relative to other aspects of internationalization.
This is reflected in stated priorities, as well as resource allocations for education abroad and international
student recruiting—including a marked increase in the percentage of institutions that engage
overseas student recruiters. The level of support international students receive once they arrive on
campus, while trending upward, remains a concern.
• Though the curriculum and co-curriculum take a backseat to student mobility in terms of stated
priorities for internationalization, an increasing percentage of institutions are implementing academic
and co-curricular policies and programming that facilitate on-campus global learning on a
broader scale and among a broader base of students.
• More institutions are offering internationally focused professional development opportunities for
faculty; however, still only about one in 10 specify international engagement as a consideration in promotion
and tenure decisions. Overall, the faculty-related data raise questions about the recognition
of faculty as key drivers of internationalization.
• International partnerships and activities abroad are garnering increased attention, energy, and
support on many campuses. However, there is still a wide spectrum in terms of activity levels, as well
as the extent of planning and intentionality surrounding global engagement.