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The Global Partners Project

Phase Two Proposal to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Prepared in October, 2001 by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, the Associated Colleges of the South, and the Great Lakes Colleges Association.

Proposal accepted by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in December, 2001.




The Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), and the Great Lakes Colleges Associations, Inc. (GLCA) request a total of $1,500,000 to extend our Global Partners Project. The initial Global Partners grant enabled us to create three International Learning Centers overseas, a Best Practices project to identify and disseminate successful models for international program development and administration, and a network of language faculty who are exploring exciting collaborative possibilities. The Resource Network created a Web site,, as a tool to support all of these efforts. Renewed funding for Global Partners will allow us to address the strategic implications of each of these projects and develop their potential as case studies addressing key issues in international study for liberal arts colleges.


First, Global Partners will create Strategic Briefings on International Study for campus leaders to explore strategic planning issues related to international education. Second, Global Partners will create Regional Alliances, groups to identify the necessary steps for collaboration, heightened efficiency and cost-containment among overseas programs within target regions. Third, we will continue to develop specific initiatives begun under the initial Global Partners grant: the International Learning Centers for East Africa, Russia/Central Europe, and Turkey, as well as a more intensive series of Best Practices Projects, with attention to the potential role of language pedagogy and instructional technology in all these projects. Because our attention is now turning to exploring the strategic implications of joint activities, in its second phase Global Partners will place great emphasis on the publication and distribution of white papers or roundtable-style reports to all participating colleges and to liberal arts colleges generally.

Proposed Activities

Our goal in all activities will be to strengthen the impact of our efforts to date, "leveraging" the impact of the initial grant. In the first phase of Global Partners, we established a framework for cooperation and introduced many new collaborative programs. In the next phase we will take bolder steps to develop awareness of the inefficiencies of working separately and benefits of working collaboratively through the Strategic Briefings for Leaders and Regional Alliances. The combination of informed dialogue and shared analysis, along with the accumulating body of shared experience created by continued Global Partners programs, should provide a firm foundation for collaborative approaches to common problems.

The Resource Network Web site and database created under the first round of Global Partners funding will provide an significant body of shared information for all continued and new initiatives. It will be important that in its second stage Global Partners maintain and continue to develop this resource, particularly the database of international programs used by participating colleges. The site can now be developed to serve additional purposes. Plans are already underway to incorporate teaching materials related to the study of Russian on the Resource Network site, for example; materials related to kiSwahili, Czech, and Turkish will follow, supporting the work of the International Learning Centers.

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Strategic Briefings for Leaders

From the beginning, an underlying intent of the Global Partners initiative has been to encourage campus leaders to think in innovative and strategic ways about the implications of international study for liberal arts campuses. The activities of the first Global Partners grant identified regional areas of interest, created networks of interested faculty, provided travel opportunities for faculty and students, and collected previously-dispersed data on study abroad programs. We now feel that we are ready to bring together groups of presidents, chief academic officers, faculty leaders, and others with strong roles in campus strategic planning to consider the implications of international study, and particularly of collaboration in international study. It is crucial that the thoughtful attention of decision-makers be drawn to the larger strategic and planning issues of international study and that Global Partners provide the impetus for focussed discussion by campus leaders. First, we propose to hold retreats for chief academic officers to concentrate for an extended period on international education. These retreats will engage deans in consideration of such questions as

  1. What should be the role of international programming in our liberal arts mission?
  2. How do we develop an integrated and coherent set of international experiences for students?
  3. What commitment is required on behalf of institutions to make these international experiences truly valuable and transforming?
  4. How do we assess whether or not we are fulfilling our overall objectives in relation to off-campus study?
  5. What are the most pressing problems we face?
  6. Where do we need new models for programs and for financing overseas study?
  7. How can on-campus curricula best support and be integrated into an institution's off-campus programs?
  8. What is or should be the relationship between language learning and off-campus study?
  9. What is or could be the role of inter-institutional collaboration in all of the above?

These will be substantive discussions, based in readings, stimulated by presentations, informed by data. Experts from the U.S. and abroad will be brought to these retreats as facilitators and presenters. The Deans' Retreats will report on their deliberations to the Leadership Institute, the second aspect of the Strategic Briefings project. We also propose to create a Leadership Institute for International Education and the Liberal Arts, which will be composed of a relatively small number of presidents, deans, chief business officers, and possibly even members of boards of trustees. This group will meet as a study group examining important questions about off-campus study with a particular focus on the financing and cost of international programs and will be charged with issuing a report to the Global Partners community at the end of the grant period. In addition to addressing financial and planning issues analytically, this group will review the collaborative efforts of the first and second Global Partners grants and make recommendations about new or extended consortial activities. The Great Lakes Colleges Association will take leadership in organizing and mounting the Strategic Briefings program and publishing the white paper on planning issues in international education resulting from this project.

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Regional Alliances

Global Partners proposes, in its second stage, to create Regional Alliances. (At least one Alliance will grow from an existing Global Partners Center, probably East Africa but possibly also Russia/Central Europe. Another will be an area in which study abroad opportunities for students are overly abundant, such as a region or even a specific city in Western Europe. Another may be a subject "area," as, for example, environmental studies programs.) Each Regional Alliance will consist of faculty members and study abroad administrators with strong interest and experience in the target area. Regional Alliances will be charged with addressing these questions, adapted as appropriate to their specific areas of concern, and preparing a report or white paper for general circulation to Global Partners participating institutions:

  1. What are the issues facing faculty wishing to find strong study-abroad experiences in this area for their students?
  2. How strong and efficient are the programs available? How should faculty advisors assess the options?
  3. Where do unmet needs exist? Undeveloped potentials? Missed opportunities?
  4. How could links between on-campus curriculum and off-campus study be strengthened?
  5. What should a consortial strategy for supporting study of this area, both on and off-campus, look like?
  6. In light of all the above, how could Partners institutions combine or share resources and programs in the most effective and efficient ways?

Clearly, each Regional Strategy group will require strong staff support to organize and push forward its work, which support will be provided by the Great Lakes Colleges Association, with help where appropriate from the Associated Colleges of the Midwest office and the Associated Colleges of the South office. GLCA will oversee the organization and planning for the Regional Alliances and the publication and distribution of the white papers.

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Best Practices Projects

The Best Practices Task Force has worked to identify and promote practices in international education that are most appropriate to the liberal arts mission of participating institutions. In June 2001, Global Partners presented a Best Practices Conference at Lake Forest College to explore issues relating to international education from a liberal arts perspective, among which were preparing students for and advising students on off-campus programs, strengthening international curricula on campuses, and analyzing the development of cultural competency. The conference brought together eighty-two faculty and administrators from more than thirty colleges in all three consortia. Participants attended in campus teams, selected by their deans, and each team came prepared to work on a specific campus project, stimulated by the presentations and interaction with teams from other campuses. Following the conference, Global Partners awarded small grants, selected on the basis of merit, to encourage the continuation of discussions begun at the conference into active collaborations. Small grants were awarded to ten projects involving fifteen colleges drawn from all three consortia. These initial "mini-grants" were designed to cover modest expenses for research, materials, document preparation, and travel, linking campus teams with similar projects or bringing together groups that had interacted at the conference. Topics of current mini-grant projects include orientation and reorientation, off-campus service learning, and intercultural education. The projects are collaborative and will produce resources for dissemination to all Global Partners colleges. We now feel ready to offer more generous support to focused, larger-scale projects with greater potential impact. We therefore propose, in a renewal phase, to support three or four major Best Practices Projects with significant potential impact. The Task Force will identify significant issues in international education with importance to liberal arts colleges and will solicit proposals on these topics. Possible issues include intercultural education, service learning and internship programs, integrating on and off-campus curricula, program orientation and reorientation, and developing faculty leadership. Proposals will involve significant cross-institutional collaboration. Proposals will be carefully reviewed and revised: the Task Force will create working groups to review and approve projects, identify collaborators, and advise proposers. Some projects may build on the current Partners Projects, while others may involve groups recruited by the Task Force. Working groups will be collaborative, with faculty and administrators from the three consortia. Project groups will also be charged with disseminating the results of their work; proposed dissemination strategies include campus visits and consulting, presentations at consortial, regional or national meetings, publication of an article or book, and posting materials on the Global Partners web site. Special emphasis will be placed on the development of materials for sharing with Partners institutions. The Associated Colleges of the Midwest will continue to administer the work of the Best Practices Task Force.

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Language and Technology Task Force

In the initial phase of Global Partners we found such enthusiasm and energy for collaboration in language instruction that we propose to expand the role of language programs in the second phase. In the first phase of Global Partners, the Languages Task Force compiled and posted on the Web site a list of online resources for less commonly taught languages generally, with special attention to the languages related to the International Learning Centers: Czech, Russian, kiSwahili and Turkish. The Task Force has begun to develop web-based orientation modules combining language and cultural information related to each of the Centers, beginning with Russian as the language best-established in our collective curricula. The Beloit College Center for Language Study has taken the lead in this project, with the guidance of the Task Force. In the second stage of Global Partners, the Task Force will identify web and other self-paced materials for individual study and explore methods of making the staff and summer programs of the Beloit Center for Language Study available more broadly. A particular area of concern regarding less-commonly-taught languages is the returned student. We propose to identify or create resources, particularly Web-based resources, to allow students who have begun to learn a less-commonly-taught language abroad to continue the study upon return. The collaborative effort begun in the summer of 2001 to make Prometheus course management software available to Global Partners faculty and train them in its use will be a model for future activities along these lines. The Task Force will also work with the Regional Alliances to consider how best to integrate language instruction into their deliberations, particularly regarding less-commonly-taught languages, and with the International Learning Centers. The Associated Colleges of the South will continue to give administrative leadership to the work of the Language and Technology Task Force.

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