The University of Calgary unveiled its new International Strategy on March 25, 2013, with goals of increasing the U of C’s international prestige. The strategy is part of the U of C’s Eyes High strategic goal of becoming a top five Canadian research university by 2016.
The strategy has four goals: to increase the diversity of campus communities, to improve global and cross-cultural competency, to enhance opportunities for international collaborations and partnerships and to increase unique areas of expertise to engage in international development.
The strategy also looks to increase international opportunities for U of C students and faculty, with hopes that by 2016, 50 per cent of all students have the opportunity to travel and study abroad.
“This increase would double what we have today,” said U of C president Elizabeth Cannon at the announcement.
The U of C plans to increase its number of international students to up to 10 per cent of the undergraduate population and 25 per cent of the graduate population by 2016.
“The recruitment of international students is increasingly recognized as an important element in a broader strategy for attracting highly-qualified personnel to our country,” said Cannon. “Implementation of our International Strategy will attract scholars from around the world.”
The U of C did not demonstrate how this will be accomplished.
Currently, the U of C has 200 international partnerships that offer students and staff exchanges and research opportunities. U of C faculty are involved in 115 international research projects in 76 countries. The International Strategy looks to increase these numbers and strengthen the U of C’s existing relationships.
The university emphasized China, Germany, Mexico, the Middle East, Tanzania and the United States as important regions for international partnerships.
“Our International Strategy identifies six regions of emphasis where the university maintains strong and ongoing partnerships and where we will sharpen our focus to develop mutually beneficial, sustainable initiatives,” said Cannon.
Third-year U of C international relations student Fiona Rumohr was a student representative at the announcement. She said her international experiences added to her education and she is excited about the International Strategy plans to expand learning opportunities at the U of C.
“It’s amazing what we can learn inside the four walls of a classroom. Our learning increases exponentially when we move beyond four walls and take on the four corners of the earth,” said Rumohr. “International experiences give you the chance to step outside of a box that you might not even have known you were stuck inside.”
Alberta minister of international and intergovernmental relations Cal Dallas said at the announcement that the U of C is aligning itself with the province’s goal to increase internationalization efforts.
“I was incredibly impressed by the [U of C’s] resolve to ensure that the graduates have the global orientation to be personally successful and to contribute strongly to the present and future successes of this province,” said Dallas. “Alberta is at a critical juncture, in which government, industry and academia must be closely aligned and work collaboratively to bolster our presence on the world stage.”