17 Feb How North American Universities are Resourcing Their International Offices
Are you giving your international office enough staff and support? Discover what standards North American universities are setting.
The international office is a crucial component of any higher education institution, but it can often be under resourced and overworked.
However, it looks like this trend is turning with more and more institutions recognizing the importance of this function and allocating resources accordingly.
What staff do they have?
A recent QS survey reveals that 84% of North American universities surveyed have specific staff dedicated to managing international partnerships, relations, and activities.
Of these institutions, 48% had between two to five staff members taking ownership of this function.
Generally, the majority of staff that manage international partnerships and relations work for a central office, rather than in different faculties and departments.
Of those surveyed, 70% of North American institutions confirmed that this was the case.
What are they responsible for?
These international office staff members are responsible for a range of areas, with the surveyed North American institutions mentioning the following responsibilities:
- Collaborative academic programs (85%)
- Exchange mobility partnerships (76%)
- Other Faculty initiatives (69%)
- Cooperative research (54%)
- Other Student initiatives (50%)
The survey also demonstrates that the international office commonly shares specific tasks concerning international partnerships and mobility management with other departments or faculties, including:
- Student mobility initiatives, study abroad programs, and travel: 51% of institutions confirmed that the international office manages this task partially and in collaboration with other departments
- Funding and grants allocation: 51% of institutions confirmed that the international office manages this task partially and in collaboration with other departments
- Risk, safety and export control: 44% of institutions confirmed that the international office manages this task partially and in collaboration with other departments
- Faculty staff travel: 64% of institutions confirmed that the international office manages this task partially and in collaboration with other departments
How are they faring?
Given these results, it’s clear that most North American institutions have a specific, dedicated team that is responsible for managing international relations and partnerships.
This team works for a central department under the university’s international office, collaborating closely with other faculties, departments and external partners in international programs and initiatives when needed.
The results indicate that cross-functional exchanges of information regarding international student mobility and partnerships data is common between different departments.
As a result, institutions that aim to efficiently process and manage mobilities and partnerships need to have a centralized system and an effective communication tool to help them share information seamlessly.