Isabella Cannon Global Education Center

International Elon

A Plan for Elon’s Comprehensive Internationalization - 2011-2016

Elon has a strong tradition and record of international education, including recognition through NAFSA’s Paul Simon Award.  In support of Elon’s unprecedented commitment to diversity and global engagement, we offer this plan to expand on Elon’s history of integrating an appreciation and understanding of the world into the culture of the campus.  The motivation for this broad undertaking is to develop an international campus that graduates students who are globally aware and interculturally competent.

We use the term “comprehensive internationalization” (defined in the Definitions section) to describe this long-term effort.  This document seeks to move toward comprehensive internationalization by providing coordination of ideas and accountability for outcomes.  This long-term undertaking will be successful only if it is an effort made by the entire campus.  Student mobility is a part of the plan, but must not be the entire plan.  As the above definition suggests, we must incorporate a global lens into all that faculty, staff, and students do on campus.  Internationalization ideally includes non-Western ideas and cannot reside on the margins of campus, in one office, or in a few departments – it must be woven broadly into the fabric and ethos of all our teaching, research, and service.  Elon is well poised to be a leader in comprehensive internationalization.

We are all witness to the growing mobility across borders of ideas, people, talent, problems, and solutions.  This mobility is fueled by technology, ease of transportation, and the emergence of new economic and political landscapes.  We believe this plan prepares Elon graduates to contribute to and compete in this complicated world that is increasingly interdependent and shares common challenges. 

Implementation of the International Elon Plan

The Isabella Cannon Global Education Center Advisory Committee is charged with monitoring progress on the International Elon Plan, reviewing its status each fall and ensuring that efforts to internationalize the campus are consistent with The Elon Commitment.  Further, this plan is flexible enough to complement domestic study-away initiatives and other components of The Elon Commitment.


Comprehensive  Internationalization - “Comprehensive Internationalization is a commitment, confirmed through internationalization action, to infuse international and comparative perspectives throughout the teaching, research, and service missions of higher education.  It shapes institutional ethos and values and touches the entire higher education enterprise.” -From Concept to Action, John Hudzik, NAFSA, 2011, p. 10.

Education abroad - Earning academic credit through study, internship, service learning, independent study, research, and/or student teaching outside the United States.

International student - An Elon student who entered the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa.

Objectives for the International Elon Plan

I. International Students, Faculty, Scholars, and Alumni Students

International Students

  • Triple the number of international students on non-immigrant visas from 57 in 2010 to 171 by 2020 according to Elon’s goals of diversity and global engagement.
  • Improve coordination between the Office of Admissions, the Global Education Center, and other relevant offices to assure consistent, helpful, and seamless communication with prospective and entering students.
  • Provide support, guidance, and intercultural workshops for all offices--especially those that work directly with international students--as well as for student organizations that might interact with international students.
  • Develop workshops for faculty on teaching international students and other non-native speakers of English, collaborating with CATL and the Writing Center.
  • Develop an easier way for international students to identify on-campus employment possibilities.
  • Pilot a peer and/or faculty-mentor program for international students.  Coordinate with other mentor programs on campus.
  • Evaluate resources to better coordinate various student services for incoming and returning international students, including residence-life placements, insurance, registration, orientation, and response to emergency situations.
  • Provide additional support in English language for non-native speakers, including the possibility of offering credit-bearing academic English for non-native speakers or hosting an intensive English language program.
  • Assure that appropriate support is also provided to dual citizens and overseas Americans.
  • Develop strategies to better integrate international students with domestic students.
  • Create internationally- and interculturally-themed learning communities in the new North Campus “Global Neighborhood.”  Move the International-Pavilion concept to North Campus with other internationally-themed communities.
  • Seek additional funding for international-student scholarships and for support structures for international students and scholars.
  • Develop a transition course for first-semester international students.
  • Monitor, assess, and revise the International Fellows Program as needed.
  • Consider collaboration with South China Normal University to establish an English-medium undergraduate College in China.

International Faculty and Scholars

  • Support hiring offices with the review of foreign transcripts and processing of immigration applications necessary for hiring international faculty, staff, and scholars.
  • Develop and fund an international-visiting faculty program.
  • Bolster support for international faculty and scholars.
  • Better communicate with the campus at large when a department or program is hosting an international scholar; provide more opportunities to international scholars to share their expertise in their disciplines and backgrounds while on campus.
  • Seek opportunities through Fulbright or other programs to bring more international guest scholars to Elon.
  • Develop apartment space on campus for short-term and long-term international guest scholars.

International Alumni

  • Work with the Alumni Office to locate and strengthen relationships with international alumni.
  • Involve alumni in international recruitment efforts.

II. Education Abroad

Ensure Accessibility to Programs Abroad

  • Provide 100 percent access to study abroad for Elon undergraduate students toward the goal of developing all Elon graduates as global citizens.
  • Coordinate and integrate Elon-sponsored student activity outside the country so that the GEC is aware of all students who are abroad for academic credit or otherwise.
  • Create a framework that will allow flexibility and creativity for programs abroad (e.g. Periclean Scholars, athletics, performing groups, embedded programs).
  • Collaborate with academic departments and programs to select appropriate semester programs and to develop study abroad “road maps” for their majors and minors.
  • Collaborate with offices on campus to develop opportunities overseas for internships, service learning, student teaching, and research abroad.
  • Develop additional options for education abroad during the summer.
  • Create opportunities for graduate students to study abroad.
  • Develop strategies to increase the diversity of the student population that has experiences abroad based on analysis of students currently not studying abroad.
  • Eliminate current obstacles to education abroad such as
    • financial obstacles,
    • academic/curricular challenges, and
    • co-curricular conflicts (i.e., athletics, performing arts, Greek Life, organizations, etc.).
  • Broaden offerings to include non-traditional locations, a wider variety of course offerings across disciplines, exposure to non-traditional languages, and multiple religions and cultures.
  • Develop contacts with NGOs to provide more service-learning opportunities abroad.
  • Consider a program to assure all first-year students have a valid passport.
  • Promote external funding of study abroad through nationally-competitive grant programs (e.g., Gilman, Boren, and Fulbright).
    • Track Elon alumni who pursue overseas opportunities after graduation.

Infuse Education Abroad into the Curriculum

  • Collaborate with the appropriate groups and committees to assure that education abroad fits easily within the new General Studies curriculum; develop worksheets for academic departments and programs to simplify the process of studying abroad within the discipline and within General Studies.
  • Assure that the education-abroad offerings meet the goal of “Attaining the highest levels of achievement across our academic programs” by
    • evaluating the locally taught course offerings at the Elon Centers, and
    • reviewing faculty-led proposals and periodically evaluating existing faculty-led programs.
  • Expand intentional re-entry opportunities for return study-abroad students, including Celebrate Week presentations about experiences abroad and guidance toward career opportunities abroad.
  • Develop a program or course for students before, during, and after an experience abroad so students better appreciate and learn from their cultural interactions.
  • Collaborate with Belk Library to provide online support for research needs abroad, especially at the Centres.
  • Support language acquisition through study abroad, and support efforts by the Department of Foreign Languages to offer more variety in languages.
  • Establish assessment tools for developmental outcomes expected from education abroad.
  • Improve the current program evaluations, including follow up based on the evaluations.

III. Faculty, Staff and Support for Internationalizing the Curriculum

  • Facilitate and promote faculty/staff opportunities abroad, including faculty/staff exchanges and opportunities with NGOs and/or associations with Burlington’s sister-cities.  Facilitate a climate more supportive of staff opportunities abroad.
  • Collaborate with the Departments of General Studies and Foreign Languages along with other academic departments and programs to better integrate internationally-oriented academic programming.
  • Internationalize the curriculum consistent with the vision of General Studies.
  • Fund and develop a program to bring an international guest faculty person each fall and spring semester.
  • Advocate for a common space for the growing number of International Studies majors and minors, as well as area studies minors.
  • Develop opportunities for holding joint classes with exchange partners through video-conferencing.
  • Develop funds for faculty travel to new Winter Term sites and a process by which to award funds.
  • Look for opportunities to develop/utilize the skills of international faculty, staff, scholars, and students locally.
  • Advocate for recognition of international activity by faculty in the Promotion and Tenure process.
  • Advocate for Faculty Research and Development funding for international endeavors other than Winter Term programs abroad.
  • Create an award for faculty contribution to internationalizing the campus.
  • Create an award for staff contribution to internationalizing the campus.
  • Provide opportunities and incentives for staff abroad.

IV. Programming, El Centro de Español, and North Campus

  • Collaborate with campus offices and organizations (Liberal Arts Forum, Multicultural Center, Truitt Center, etc.) in developing and coordinating programming. The consensus is that we do not need additional programming, but rather better coordinated and co-sponsored programming.
  • Collaborate with organizers of CELEBRATE! to introduce an international component.
  • Look for external funding opportunities, such as the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, to be used to bring guest lecturers, scholars, and performers to campus.  Do so in collaboration with other campus organizations.
  • Seek opportunities to collaborate with multicultural individuals and organizations in the Piedmont region.
  • Develop opportunities through El Centro and in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Languages to offer language tables in various languages.
  • Develop International Education Week as a campus-wide, major annual event.  Seek funding to allow for a marquis speaker to come to campus during International Education Week.
  • Support language-learning opportunities for staff and faculty in Spanish and other languages.
  • Develop the International Neighborhood in the North Campus, including the move of the GEC to North Campus.

View the full plan for Elon's Comprehensive Internationalization - 2011-2016.