February 16, 2021

Nebraska unveils first institutional global strategy

International students and faculty
Craig Chandler | University Communication

Craig Chandler | University Communication
"Forward Together: A Global Strategy for UNL" provides a comprehensive roadmap for Nebraska to harness its unique strengths and expand global education and engagement efforts through a framework closely aligned with the N2025 Strategic Plan.

Building on the bold vision outlined in the N2025 Strategic Plan, “Forward Together: A Global Strategy for UNL” serves as a comprehensive roadmap to strengthen and expand global education, engagement and impact at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the years to come.

Introduced by Chancellor Ronnie Green during the State of Our University address on Feb. 15, Forward Together was created through an intensive, year-long process that gathered feedback from across campus. The effort was led by a Global Strategy Committee of faculty and staff from colleges and key service units. The document serves as the university’s first institutional global strategy and draws from the rich history of international engagement present since Nebraska U’s founding in 1869.

“Our Office of Global Strategies has worked over the past year to develop and implement a comprehensive road map for the university’s global engagement focused on the goal of every student having a global experience in their UNL portfolio,” Green said during the State of Our University address. “Their five-year plan rightly and declaratively doubles down on the need for and commitment to strategic global partnerships at the current time and in to the future.”

In the fall of 2019, Nebraska joined the 17th cohort of the American Council on Education Internationalization Laboratory, a program that helped guide the Global Strategy Committee’s planning process through site visits and a team of advisors. Despite the challenges faced in the last year with a global pandemic, Josh Davis, associate vice chancellor for global affairs, said that Nebraska is more committed than ever to engaging in today’s interconnected world and bringing it to Huskers through global education and experiences.

“Forward Together is deeply rooted in the N2025 Strategic Plan and incorporates all six themes into a global context,” Davis said. “This document aims to both set a broad vision for the institution in all that we can accomplish as a transformative, world-leading university — as well as highlight some key initiatives that can be implemented at the college and unit level to move forward together.”

To harness the full capacity of Nebraska as a top institution with global impact, the global strategy outlines four primary goals in alignment with this vision:

  • Future and World Ready: Reimagine what constitutes a global experience for our students — inside and outside the classroom.

  • Partner for Impact: Support and incentivize contributions toward solving world challenges through strategic partnerships.

  • Bring the Best to Nebraska: Be a magnet for the best and brightest students, scholars, faculty and staff from around the world.

  • Strong Foundation: Strengthen the university’s global affairs infrastructure and operations to anchor engagement for years to come.

Innovative, experiential learning lies at the heart of the strategy, as well as expanded partnerships and professional development opportunities for faculty and staff to engage in international research and creative activity. Under each of the strategy’s four goals, Forward Together provides supporting initiatives and objectives to guide the global engagement efforts for the entire university community and enable colleges and units to connect their specific efforts.

Some highlights of key objectives set within the Forward Together initiatives include:

  • Launching a Global Experiences Innovation Fund to spur the creation of new, virtual forms of global learning available to students, such as domestic study away travel and virtual global classrooms;

  • Establishing a global credential that recognizes student global competency across all majors and ties to both academic curriculum and co-curricular activities;

  • Developing an institution-wide strategy for international partnerships that connects Nebraska’s work on Grand Challenges to collaborators around the world;

  • Conducting an international tuition net pricing assessment and identifying new pathways to Nebraska for international students; and

  • Creating a Global Education Center as a physical hub for Global Affairs, including a rebranded Global Experiences Office.

In crafting Forward Together, the Global Strategy Committee designed a framework grounded in collective collaboration, a commitment from all members of the university community and engagement with internal and external stakeholders — including students, faculty, staff, alumni, academic units, international partners and community leaders. The committee included 23 members of the campus community co-chaired by Davis; Sophia Perdikaris, professor of anthropology and director of the School of Global Integrative Studies; Frauke Hachtmann, professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications; and Cody Hollist, associate professor in the College of Education and Human Sciences.

The four Global Affairs units led by Davis — the Office of Global Strategies, Education Abroad Office, International Student and Scholar Office and Programs in English as a Second Language — form the foundation of global engagement at Nebraska and will facilitate campus internationalization efforts outlined in the strategy in partnership with the university’s academic colleges and service units. A new Global Engagement Council with broad representation from across campus will also guide the strategy’s implementation and serve as a vehicle to increase collaboration between units.

A digital version of the Forward Together global strategy is available on the Global Nebraska website.