A significant majority of Canadian universities – 82% – now place internationalization among their top five strategic priorities, says a new survey of Canada’s degree-granting institutions. This represents a 5% increase over a previous survey in 2006, and leads a broad set of findings that all clearly point to an increasing emphasis on international programmes and services among the country’s higher education institutions.
When asked to identify their main reasons for prioritising internationalisation, 53% of Canadian universities say that “preparing internationally knowledgeable and interculturally competent graduates” is their top motivation. The other most-cited reasons are “building strategic alliances and partnerships with key institutions abroad, promoting an internationalised campus, increasing the university’s global profile, and generating revenue.”
The survey was carried out by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) in May 2014 and generated an 80% response rate among the 97 universities and degree-granting colleges within the AUCC membership. AUCC released its detailed findings in December 2014.
“Not since our last survey in 2006 has there been such a comprehensive view of AUCC member institutions’ engagement with the world beyond our borders,” said Paul Davidson, AUCC’s president and CEO. “The responding institutions together represent more than 85% of all Canadian university students and perform roughly 92% of the university research funded by federal research granting agencies.”
The big picture
As the following chart reflects, boosting student mobility – both inbound and outbound – remains the top priority of Canadian institutions. A full 45% of respondents indicated that undergraduate recruitment was their top priority, and a further 7% noted graduate recruitment as their top international goal. While “expanding outbound mobility” was noted as the top priority by only 4% of respondents, a notable 74% of responding institutions also cited it as a top-five priority.
Building international partnerships, whether for joint programmes, collaborative research, or otherwise, is the second broad priority focus of many Canadian institutions. The preceding chart shows a number of different categories of collaborative initiative that, in combination, make up the top priority for 37% of survey respondents.
Internationalisation priorities of Canadian higher education institutions, 2014. Source: AUCC