New changes to internationalization strategy

McMaster has begun to make the structural and strategic changes that will lay the groundwork for the University’s approach to internationalization.

President Patrick Deane recently released a document entitled, Global and Community Engagement at McMaster: Where FWI has brought us, and where we are going, that outlined a number of measures the University is taking to enhance international activities and incorporate global perspectives.

“The global standing of a university is not the sum of its student exchange agreements and international research collaborations, however critical those two elements will always be. It is also not entirely measurable in the number of visa students the university welcomes each year. At McMaster, we must continue to aspire to a more profound vision: to be an institution that is global in impact, that addresses through its research the great challenges of humanity without overlooking their local manifestations, and which seeks to educate students in all subjects so as to acknowledge the interconnectedness of all disciplines and all peoples.”

Among the new initiatives to support these goals is the creation of the International Strategy Advisory Group (ISAG), a pan-university initiative that will oversee the coordination and planning of international activities with support and resources from a newly restructured Office of International Affairs (OIA).

The OIA will continue to facilitate exchange agreements, establish institutional linkages and coordinate externally funded international projects and programs, but this important work will be guided by ISAG.

As a part of further restructuring, undergraduate international student recruitment will be brought under the responsibilities of the Associate Vice-President (Students and Learning).

“This modified structure will allow McMaster to approach international student recruitment in a more coordinated way to enhance our global engagement in areas across the University,” says David Wilkinson, McMaster’s provost and vice-president (Academic).

Peter Mascher’s recent appointment as Associate Vice-President (International Affairs) provides the leadership to continue to build strong international partnerships in research and development and to establish a comprehensive approach to all aspects of the University’s international activities.

“It is critical that we connect and consult with Faculties and offices across McMaster to determine how we can best provide support and resources that meet the needs of students, instructors and researchers in the global context,” says Mascher. “Internationalization is a key component of fostering global citizenship. We will work to cultivate opportunities that advance and generate increased involvement in international activities whether they are connected to study or research, to provide students and faculty with an environment in which they are exposed to global perspectives and in turn weave those experiences into the fabric of the University.”

Mo Elbestawi, Vice-President (Research and International Affairs), says these discussions have already begun within the University Research Council and are critical to building capacity for international engagement at McMaster.

“The research landscape has become highly globalized,” says Elbestawi. “There are opportunities for international research partnerships and collaborations that didn’t exist even a decade ago. If we are to thrive in this global environment, it is imperative that we link our research endeavours with our international activities so that we may be well positioned to take advantage of these new and emerging opportunities.”