Southeast Selected to Participate in ACE Internationalization Laboratory Program


ACE logo largerSoutheast Missouri State University has been selected to participate in the American Council on Education (ACE) Internationalization Laboratory Program.

The program will guide Southeast through ACE’s premier planning process toward comprehensive internationalization efforts in teaching and learning. Ultimately, the laboratory will help Southeast review its goals and develop a strategic plan in its international education efforts that aligns and integrates policies, programs, and initiatives to position the University as a more globally-oriented and internationally-connected institution.

A leadership team from Southeast will travel to Washington, D.C., on Friday, Aug. 27, for the opening seminar of the Internationalization Laboratory. Team members include Dr. Carlos Vargas, president; Dr. Debbie Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success and dean of students; Kevin Timlin, executive director of International Education and Services; and Dr. Willie Redmond, professor of economics and lead instructor of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) course. Timlin and Redmond are co-chairing the team.

“We are very interested in expanding the international agenda for our campus and in becoming more informed and knowledgeable about the key factors that impact an institution’s success in developing an international plan,” Vargas said. “I believe we are well positioned to take the next step in formalizing a comprehensive plan to direct our international efforts, and we welcome this opportunity.”

He said Southeast has attracted a broadly diverse student body, faculty, and staff who are working collaboratively to develop a diverse learning community to prepare Southeast graduates for successful careers in the domestic and global economy.

“Today’s students, more than ever before, need to be able to function effectively in a global society,” Vargas said.


Southeast President Dr. Carlos Vargas, left, and Dr. Juan Bosco Bernal, president of Universidad Especializada de las Americas (UDELAS) In Panama City, Panama, signed a letter of intent in July to explore opportunities for collaboration between Southeast and UDELAS.

During the 2015-2016 academic year, Southeast had more than 1,200 international students representing more than 55 countries enrolled on campus. The University also has more than 40 international exchange agreements and 30 institutionally-developed study abroad programs.

“We are actively looking to expand and enhance those opportunities,” Vargas said.

He said Southeast’s partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., demonstrates the University’s commitment to engage students and faculty in discussions of strategic global matters.

“Preparing students for global citizenship in the 21st Century is an essential responsibility of contemporary universities,” said Dr. Karl Kunkel, Southeast provost. “We live in an increasingly diverse and interdependent global and economic community, and being able to navigate a multi-cultural world is critical to the success of our students well beyond graduation. Southeast’s selection as a participating institution in the ACE Internationalization Laboratory Program provides a significant opportunity for us to further develop our ongoing strategy to internationalize our students’ experience, ultimately benefitting both their careers and personal lives.”

CSIS 2015

Select Southeast students participate each spring in a week-long seminar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Comprehensive internationalization encompasses a broad cross-section of the University, including the University’s administrative leadership and staffing; curriculum, co-curriculum and learning outcomes; faculty policies and practices; the recruitment of international students to study at Southeast; and the encouragement of American students to study abroad.

Southeast’s internationalization leadership team will review the University’s current internationalization activities to clarify institutional goals and develop a strategic action plan based on an analysis of current activities on campus.

The team will join leaders from 11 other universities selected for the program’s 14th cohort which will convene three times over the next two years. In addition to Southeast, participating institutions include Central Michigan University; Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Barranquitas; Lehigh University; Loyola University-Maryland; Missouri University of Science & Technology; Mount Saint Mary’s University; Northeast Ohio Medical University; Old Dominion University; Universidad Antonio Narino; and University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Over the past 11 years, 105 institutions have successfully participated in this intensive program.

Dr. Robin Matross Helms, director of the ACE Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement, will serve as Southeast’s primary ACE advisor during the program. Helms will conduct a site visit at Southeast this fall and will do monthly checks as Southeast reviews its current internationalization efforts, analyzes its findings and develops its action plan. Helms will also conduct a peer review visit at the end of the program. In addition to Helms, Southeast will have access to an ACE advisory team throughout the process.