The American Council on Education (here), in cooperation with its own Center or Internationalization and Global Engagement (here), has issued its “Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses: 2012” (here).
One of the fundamental duties of U.S. higher education is to prepare students for productive and responsible citizenship. In the early 21st century, this means preparing students to live and work in a society that increasingly operates across international borders. Graduates must possess intercultural skills and competencies to be successful in this globalized world, and higher education institutions must commit to helping students achieve these outcomes.
Two parts of the report are of special interest to this blog: foreign language and study abroad. First foreign languages (page 11) .
The percentage of institutions with an undergraduate foreign language requirement for graduation (Figure 4) has steadily declined over time across all sectors. In practice today, however, there is considerable variation by sector. While a majority of doctoral, master’s, and baccalaureate institutions (73 percent, 61 percent, and 65 percent, respectively) have language requirements, this is the case at only 20 percent of associate and 12 percent of special focus institutions.
** Among institutions with a foreign language graduation requirement, the most commonly reported requirement is one year of language study or the equivalent (46 percent).
** Spanish and French remained the two most popular languages taught in 2011; 92 percent of all institutions offered Spanish and 71 percent of all institutions offered French.
** The 2011 data show that institutions are responding to national calls for stronger skills in languages of strategic importance. Across all sectors, for example, a substantial increase was seen between 2006 and 2011 in the number of institutions offering Arabic (up 10 percentage points) and Chinese (up 15 percentage points).
And then study abroad (page 17):
- •• Compared with 2006, a larger percentage of institutions in all sectors are providing institutional scholarships for student education abroad. Nine in 10 doctoral institutions have such funding available, compared with approximately two thirds of master’s and baccalaureate institutions (61 percent and 63 percent, respectively) and one-quarter of associate and special focus institutions (24 percent and 26 percent, respectively). As noted in the “Faculty Policies and Practices” section of this report, the percentage of institutions funding faculty to take students abroad has also increased in each sector.
- •• Despite the promising funding data, however, 42 percent of institutions reported no study abroad activity among their 2011 graduates, and 36 percent reported that less than 5 percent studied abroad. At doctoral institutions specifically, the results were more encouraging, with 34 percent of institutions reporting that at