Zeroing in on institutional performance and the outcomes of student learning are two complementary and crucial frameworks for evaluating the results of internationalization, writes author Madeleine F. Green in a new NAFSA e-publication. Green, former vice president at American Council on Education, and current senior fellow at NAFSA and at the International Association of Universities, asserts that institutions can and should work on these frameworks simultaneously and use them to inform each other. Multiple sources of reference for this are given throughout the paper.
Measuring and assessing internationalization outcomes and impact will take on increasing importance, Green asserts, as they continue to become more central to the definition of quality in higher education teaching, research, and engagement. The challenge is for institutions to create a manageable and meaningful approach to understanding the true impact and ultimately the success of internationalization efforts.
Green contends that whatever the array of goals a given institution may choose to measure the success of its internationalization efforts, the question of whether or not those efforts are enhancing student learning should feature prominently. There is no doubt, she argues, that assessing student learning is the more challenging of the two measurement frameworks and the least rewarded in terms of prestige and rankings, but that does not negate its importance as a measure of institutional quality. The challenge is to create a measurement and analysis approach that integrates multiple dimensions, measures, and assessment tools to accurately reflect the contributions of internationalization. Green establishes a terminology for professionals both inside and outside the United States to clearly understand the complex concepts by using different units of analysis: measures, metrics, and indicators.