See the original post at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

By Gabriela Rivera, Associate Director for International Affairs, CETYS University

May 3, 2019

To the Editor:

Your story, “How International Education’s Golden Age Lost Its Sheen” (The Chronicle, March 28), highlights challenging shifts in the landscape of international education, but the full picture may not be quite so grim. There may even be reason for optimism that the future of international education will involve more healthy, balanced collaboration between U.S. institutions and those abroad.

At a university where two of three campuses sit along the U.S. border, international partnerships are critical to our identity because they are also embedded in the communities we serve. Colleagues at San Diego State University are closer than those at peer institutions elsewhere in Mexico. And border crossing is often a daily activity, so our students are constantly reminded of our interconnected future.

Yet, if colleges and universities are to help secure that future, we must truly do so collaboratively. We have an opportunity to re-center our collective focus. And our measures of success can’t rest on U.S. enrollment numbers alone.

Instead, we should elevate programs like the Global Attainment and Inclusion Network (GAIN) from the American Council on Education that bring higher-education leaders together with concrete goals. Supported by the Lumina Foundation, the program brought higher-education leaders from three continents to one of our campuses earlier this month to share best practices aimed at improving attainment, access, and student success among marginalized communities around the globe.

We should also re-emphasize and celebrate student-facing partnerships and coursework that can introduce bi- or multi-national perspectives into our curricula. We’ve seen this first-hand through a co-taught course between our president, Dr. Fernando León Garcia, and Dr. Devorah A. Lieberman, president of the University of La Verne in California.

We’ve long known that cross-border collaboration elevates cultural awareness in ways that directly benefit students, while keeping faculty and staff apprised of best practices in teaching and learning. And a future in which international education re-emphasizes its purpose-driven roots may be more important today than ever before.

After all, we still have much to learn from one another.

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