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Last modified: Thursday, December 6, 2007

New strategic plan to result in broader IU presence throughout the world

Dec. 6, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University today (Dec. 6) unveiled a new strategic plan to improve the global literacy of its students and faculty and strengthen the university's position as a leader in internationalization.

The plan calls for increased student and faculty participation in study abroad and international service learning programs as well as the development of strategic international partnerships that support overseas study, global research and the recruitment of international students.

The plan was presented to IU's Board of Trustees by IU Vice President for International Affairs Patrick O'Meara during a meeting of the board's long-range planning committee.

Michael McRobbie

Michael McRobbie

Print-Quality Photo

The plan was endorsed by IU President Michael A. McRobbie, who said it will serve as a guide for expanding international programs on every campus.

"With our successful international programs, area studies expertise, foreign language instruction and longstanding commitment to internationalization, Indiana University is uniquely poised to meet the global challenges of the 21st century," McRobbie said. "Increasingly, our students are demanding a period of study abroad as part of a world-class education. The new strategic partnerships we establish will result in expanded learning opportunities for our students as well as creative teaching and research possibilities for faculty.

"This new strategic plan is also consistent with IU's core missions of education and research," McRobbie added. "It will ensure that the university is actively engaged in the international arena and able to recruit the best and brightest students and faculty from around the world."

The International Strategic Plan is similar to those created at IU for information technology and the life sciences. It builds on the university's strong international programs and research and development activities to ensure IU faculty and graduates are fully prepared to work and live in an increasingly global context.

IU's international strategy will consist of four basic components, including global education and service learning abroad; institutional engagement; faculty research; and international development and outreach.

To meet these goals, IU administrators will work to implement several initiatives across all of its campuses. Among the proposed activities will be:

  • A new emphasis on student involvement in existing overseas study programs as well as ones in Asia.
  • The recruitment of highly qualified international students.
  • Developing the curriculum to build the global competency of undergraduates.
  • Providing opportunities for international professional development for IU faculty.
  • Fostering collaboration across disciplinary and campus boundaries.
  • Expanding international development and outreach activities to include institution-building abroad, fundraising and service to the citizens of the state of Indiana.

"Indiana University is renowned for its outstanding international resources and faculty," O'Meara said. "While we will remain true to the key premises of Herman B Wells by bringing the world to our students and, in turn by serving the world, we will have to do so in the changing context of the global environment of the 21st century. The strategic plan provides principles which will enable us to do so."

The International Strategic Plan directs IU to renew its commitment to continued excellence in international education and research and for IU students in every field to acquire global competencies in order to understand, collaborate with and compete with their counterparts from other parts of the world.

It also calls for the university to extend its international outreach to a wider audience of Indiana citizens. Those activities might include a summer international studies high school student institute, pre-college language programs at IU campuses and international business seminars for Indiana businesses.

Administrators at all of IU's campuses will consider the goals of the plan in regard to curriculum development, hiring and incentives for faculty and students. Additionally, the university as a whole will identify new sources of funding for many of the proposed activities.

IU currently offers more than 200 study abroad programs in nearly every field of study. Study-abroad participation by students on all IU campuses increased by more than 307 percent from 1996 (626 students) to 2005-06 (2,037 students).

In 2005-06, IU Bloomington, with 1,612 students, ranked 18th out of 1,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. that send students abroad.

IU Bloomington also offers one of the richest arrays of foreign language courses among U.S institutions of higher education. The campus teaches up to 70 languages from around the world, including several less commonly taught languages.

IU has also been active in establishing partnerships with numerous institutions abroad and currently has 201 institutional linkages worldwide. A list of these affiliations is available at

The university will build upon this tradition of internationalization as it prepares to address the economic, political and intellectual challenges brought upon by globalization and international competition.

In his inaugural address in October, McRobbie announced two major initiatives that relate to the goals of the International Strategic Plan. The first was the construction of a new international studies building on the IU Bloomington campus that would house many of IU's international departments, programs and centers.

He also has asked IU's fundraising partner, the IU Foundation, for its assistance in raising a major new endowment to support scholarships for IU undergraduate students, including low-income and minority students, who want to study abroad.