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Finding Leadership for the Internationalization of U.S. Higher Education
Journal of International Education and Leadership (2012)
  • Michael B. Smithee

The internationalization of U.S. higher education has depended on leadership from a variety of sources in different strengths and purposes over time. The leadership shifted from President Lyndon Johnson's sponsorship of legislation, as part of a trilogy of legislation known as the Great Society, to a collaborative and at times competitive leadership marked by a struggle to establish international education as legitimate focus for higher education institutions. Leadership came in the form of advocates for international education who were drawn from the stakeholders. These advocates included practitioners, researchers, professional organizations, and alliances. Leader-advocates also contended with philosophical changes in the way higher education perceived itself and its actions. The struggle to articulate the nature of international education in U.S. higher education institutions improved once it was realized that the focus should not be a thing, but a process. However, the struggle continues regarding who is to benefit from internationalization. In spite of the best arguments put forth by advocates, in high and low positions, internationalization has become a priority in U.S. higher education based on factors internal and external to the institution but related to more survival of the institution and its core mission.

  • international education,
  • advocacy,
  • leadership,
  • organizations,
  • internationalization,
  • higher education
Publication Date
Spring 2012
Citation Information
Michael B. Smithee. "Finding Leadership for the Internationalization of U.S. Higher Education" Journal of International Education and Leadership Vol. 2 Iss. 1 (2012)
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