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Leading Internationalization: A Handbook for International Education Leaders

reviewed by Aryn Baxter - July 24, 2019

coverTitle: Leading Internationalization: A Handbook for International Education Leaders
Author(s): Darla K. Deardorff, Harvey Charles, Allan E. Goodman, E. Gordon Gee (Eds.)
Publisher: Stylus Publishing, Sterling, VA
ISBN: 162036784X, Pages: 200, Year: 2018
Search for book at Amazon.com

At the helm of efforts to infuse international, intercultural, and global dimensions into colleges and universities around the world is a relatively new professional role: the Senior International Officer (SIO). While there is great variation in SIO titles, career trajectories, and contexts, they share in common the complex and multi-faceted task of internationalizing higher education institutions. Leading Internationalization provides this particular group of international education leaders with a concise overview of the foundational knowledge needed to develop global capacity and elaborates on the standards of professional practice recently established by the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA, 2016). Although intentionally limited in length and scope, this collection of essays written by experienced SIOs provides a practical entry point and introduction to critical issues in this emerging and increasingly important subfield of higher education.


The book is organized into five parts. The first section introduces the context and process of internationalization, highlighting the role of the SIO as institutional change agent. As acknowledged in the introduction, the focus is primarily on higher education in western contexts. Chapter One introduces various phases of internationalization, including study abroad, international student recruitment, and curriculum development. It provides guidance for deciding upon an appropriate sequence depending on institutional context and navigating the challenges that each phase entails. Following a chapter on the foundational theoretical work of Josef Mestenhauser, the third chapter addresses challenges that national political trends (particularly the “nativist winds” blowing across Europe and the U.S.) pose to international education. A thread running through these chapters is the importance of a systems perspective and collaborative approach to leading change and navigating both national and institutional challenges.


The second set of essays focuses on strategies for leadership and management, including strategic planning, administrative responsibilities, alliance-building, and financial strategies. This section emphasizes the importance of understanding and working strategically within a particular institutional context to implement or establish a plan for comprehensive organization. Several chapters acknowledge the challenges posed by decreasing financial support from central administration and offer ideas and considerations for financing internationalization.


Continuing the discussion of practical skills for international education administrators, Section Three delves into several additional key areas of internationalization activities that often show up in SIO job descriptions, including internationalizing the curriculum, assessing international education outcomes, recruiting international students, and managing risk. Each chapter could be a book in and of itself, but the authors manage to convey the breadth of strategies and considerations in relation to each topic in a concise yet comprehensive manner. Throughout these sections, it is especially helpful that each chapter concludes with a list of leadership implications for SIOs to summarize key points and actionable items.


In Section Four, the authors discuss strategies for conveying the benefits and generating institutional support for internationalization, fostering a global culture, and establishing connections and partnerships both locally and globally. This is the most eclectic section with a variety of chapters each offering ideas for how SIOs might advocate for support and work toward a globally engaged community on and beyond campus. Several chapters highlight the importance of thinking broadly about stakeholders and advocates for internationalization work. Chapter Thirteen provides examples for actively engaging students and empowering them to advance internationalization, while Chapter Fourteen offers strategies for engaging with local communities. The last chapter in the section provides an overview of different types of international partnerships in which institutions engage.


The final section discusses areas of personal effectiveness, such as entrepreneurship, intercultural knowledge, data management, and ethical considerations that SIOs can cultivate to effectively navigate the varied challenges and responsibilities highlighted throughout earlier chapters. This section concludes with an especially powerful chapter on ethical leadership that draws together a number of critical themes mentioned in earlier chapters, including concern with linkages between internationalization and cultural imperialism, commercialization, and growing inequality. It acknowledges the tensions that exist within international education and charges SIOs with the responsibility of attending to the underlying values as well as the unintended consequences of international education activities. It also highlights several guiding principles and frameworks that international education organizations from around the world have developed to guide ethical decision-making.


Given the centrality of the topics covered throughout the book to SIO work, these chapters provide a helpful survey of key issues and strategies, yet are likely leave a new SIO longing for additional resources. Throughout, the authors mention publications, professional development opportunities, and in some cases current research of relevance to the target audience. In doing so, it provides a starting point for SIOs to anticipate and delve deeper into particular topics as needed.


The variety of topics covered throughout the book make clear that SIOs need a wide range of knowledge and skills to develop vision, plans, support, and resources to advance comprehensive internationalization. The authors also make a strong case that capable and committed international education leaders play a crucial role in “preparing current and future leaders who will strive toward building a more just and equitable world” (p. 159). For the new SIO, Leading Internationalization offers both inspiration and practical strategies for navigating the complexities and possibilities of this work.


Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA). (2016). Standards of professional practice for international leaders and senior international officers. Retrieved from www.aieaworld.org.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: July 24, 2019
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22992, Date Accessed: 10/21/2021 11:45:09 PM

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About the Author
  • Aryn Baxter
    University of Idaho
    E-mail Author
    ARYN BAXTER is Executive Director of International Programs at the University of Idaho. She is an international higher education scholar-practitioner with a longstanding commitment to expanding access to transformative global learning opportunities. Her recent publications include “Engaging Underrepresented International Students as Partners: Agency and Constraints Among Rwandan Students in the United States” in the Journal of Studies in International Education (2018), “What can I offer America?” A postcolonial analysis of faculty motivations and perceptions in North-South university partnerships” in FIRE: Forum for International Research in Education (2018) with Yeukai Mlambo, and “Exploring the attributes and practices of alumni associations that advance social change” in the International Journal of Educational Development (2018) with Anne Campbell. Her current work focuses on engaging students as partners in international education.
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