Book Reviews

Book by Christa L. Olson, Madeleine F. Green, and Barbara A. Hill
Review by Matthew Church
Academic Counselor Senior                                    
Arts & Sciences Advising
University of Louisville


Higher education is changing and educators must take a global approach to practice and curriculum. Higher education must prepare students to function and succeed in a global society. A Handbook for Advancing Comprehensive Internationalization: What institutions can do and what students should learn (2006) aims to provide practical advice to institutions striving to meet the challenge of educating students for the global age (p. ix). The text is the result of a six-year project undertaken by the American Council for Education in partnership with institutions aiming to create internationalization plans. The premise of this work is that a high quality undergraduate education must prepare students to be effective workers and global citizens who can think and act with global awareness (p. x). The text does not purport to provide the key to the best internationalization plan or develop a rubric for all internationalization plans; instead the authors believe plans rely on the circumstances and particulars of each institution. Instead, this work offers suggested steps and processes to create an internationalization plan and compose and construct planning teams.

The text consists of four chapters and an appendix of internationalization plans from higher education institutions. The first chapter outlines the terminology of internationalization and tips for forming the project team. The second chapter focuses on using global learning outcomes to draft an internationalization plan. The final two chapters focus on conducting an internationalization review and developing an internationalization plan. One of the most important ideas proffered by the text is the idea that global learning outcomes must link with other campus processes. Within this idea is a vital lesson for higher education internationalization: institutions cannot internationalize just to internationalize, but must internationalize in a way to compliment existent campus procedures (p. 43). The authors discuss internationalization reviews in chapter 3 and allude to the way internationalization reviews can focus a campus on institutional goals for internationalization and how current strategies can bolster these goals. The authors provide a schematic for the necessary component of an internationalization plan. As proposed by the authors, the necessary elements of an internationalization plan include: vision statement, strategic priorities, objectives and performance indicators, action items to achieve objectives, and costs (p. 66).

The text is an invaluable tool for advisors. Academic advisors serving on committees related to internationalization plans for their institutions will find the text especially useful. The authors highlight the need for global education and learning and include strategies to compose internationalization plans that can be easily transferred to promoting study abroad programs. Employing the internationalization of  institutional goals, advisors can further promote international learning and study abroad. Advisors can use the benefits of international learning to pursue increased institutional support for study abroad or link increased study abroad programs to internationalization efforts. Additionally, the potential benefit of study abroad programs tied to internationalization efforts allows opportunity for curricular revisions to make study abroad credit better accepted and encouraged. A Handbook for Advancing Comprehensive Internationalization: What Institutions can do and what students should learn is an excellent work the outlines methods for drafting an internationalization plan and, in the process, provides opportunity for advisors to promote global learning in institutional goals and curricula.


A Handbook for Advancing Comprehensive Internationalization: What Institutions can do and what students should learn. (2006). Book by Christa L. Olson, Madeleine F. Green, and Barbara A. Hill. Review by Matthew Church. Washington D.C.: American Council of Education, 150 pp., $40.00 (paperback). Item no: 311362
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