Company/Organization/University: American Association of State Colleges and Universities

National Security and Internationalization

“In recent years, American colleges and universities have faced increasing demand to become more internationally oriented. Rapidly emerging technologies, evolving trade relationships, and growing cultural awareness have accelerated this demand.

The dramatically renewed specter of terrorism, however, requires the nation to take unprecedented measures to protect its citizens while remaining globally engaged. Higher education institutions, with their historical commitment to plurality and diversity, as well as their long-standing contributions to the nation’s defense, stand at the crossroads of these demands.

Accordingly, policymakers and higher education leaders must forge a new level of partnership to ensure that campuses provide appropriate support for security efforts and continue their work toward greater linkage with the international community.

Federal Issues

Immigration and Visa Control of Foreign Students

One of the effects of the events of September 11 is a re-examination of the nation’s immigration laws and policies. The process of approving students for study in the United States is receiving particular scrutiny from Congress, as is the monitoring of these students once they arrive. AASCU's Policy Statements

AASCU supports the modernization of the nation’s visa system, including the adoption of appropriate biometrics (i.e., fingerprinting and more technologically advanced methods) that identify visa holders. AASCU also supports federal funding for the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), and believes that entities other than campuses should be charged with collecting any SEVIS-related fees assessed to students. AASCU further opposes the adoption of a blanket moratorium on the issuance of new student visas. AASCU will advocate for legislation and regulations that streamline the visa process for students, faculty, and administrators. Similarly, AASCU will work to simplify federal regulations that hinder the successful development of international programs or severely restrict the access of foreign students to American institutions.


While the events of September 11 have underscored the need for strong homeland security and national defense, they have also powerfully reminded the nation of its inextricable relationships with the world community, as well as the vital importance of better awareness and understanding of its global neighbors. AASCU strongly believes that higher education institutions, as primary agents of intellectual and cultural exchange, must maintain and enhance their international outlook in the world that is emerging.

AASCU's Policy Statements

AASCU’s Policy focus for internationalization will center on those activities that create:

New opportunities for students from AASCU campuses to study or work abroad, to increase the diversity of students that major in international fields and foreign languages or pursue careers in international service;

New opportunities for faculty and administrators from AASCU campuses to study or conduct research abroad and seek to develop a high-level proficiency in foreign-languages, international and area studies;

Increased opportunities for AASCU campuses to host students and faculty from abroad for study, research and teaching, and to expand the international knowledge of faculty and graduate students in professional and technical fields such as business, education, environment, economics, health and information technology; and

Enhanced foreign language and area studies

AASCU supports federal legislation that gives authorizing and funding priority to programs that facilitate student, faculty, and administrator exchanges and study abroad.

AASCU encourages immediate attention to policy measures that provide reassurances for international students concerned about their safety and well being, and a reaffirmation of the importance of international study and exchanges.

AASCU supports the development of a presence before federal, state, and regional entities in matters associated with international education policies and programs, particularly those that benefit member institutions and their students, faculty, and administrators. AASCU will continue to actively participate in the Coalition for International Education, which supports legislation and increased appropriation for three important international programs managed by the Department of Education: Title VI, Fulbright-Hays, and the Institute for International Public Policy.

Support for Military Personnel

State colleges and universities have a proud history of supporting the nation’s military personnel, as demonstrated by AASCU’s special relationship with Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges. AASCU will work with the military to ensure that servicemembers receive the education and training they need to face the demands of a constantly changing world.

AASCU's Policy Statement

AASCU supports expanding ROTC programs and the fulfillment of the nation’s obligations to its military personnel, especially with respect to the Montgomery GI Bill.

Federal/State Issues

Treatment of Students Called to Protective Duty

In the wake of recent events, the demand for military, police, and other protective service personnel has risen sharply. As local, state, and federal policymakers develop long-term strategies for promoting national security and public safety, campuses nationwide-and their students-will undoubtedly be affected.

AASCU's Policy Statements

AASCU strongly urges federal and state governments, as well as institutions of higher education, to adopt and uphold policies that permit maximum flexibility and discretion-with appropriate accountability-in meeting the educational and financial aid needs of students called to military or other protective service. This includes, but is not limited to: refund of tuition and other institutional charges, return of financial aid awards, and re-enrollment options. Student aid recipients who withdraw from school because they are called to active duty, or are otherwise affected by mobilization or terrorist attacks, should not be required to return financial aid funds they received for books and living expenses.

AASCU supports actions by the U. S. Department of Education to postpone student loan payments for borrowers during the period of the borrower’s active duty service.

AASCU supports waivers to grant temporary relief to institutions of higher education, lenders and guaranty agencies involved in student assistance programs within officially declared disaster areas.

Privacy Concerns and National Security Measures

Redoubled efforts to investigate and prevent acts of terrorism have once again sparked debate over the robustness of current law designed to safeguard students’ right to privacy and restrict access to certain student information. While present and future threats demand swift action, they also demand caution, recognizing that colleges and universities are indeed the embodiment of the nation’s democratic ideals.

AASCU's Policy Statements

AASCU favors targeted expansion of law enforcement authority to access information that will aid security efforts, provided that such authority does not unduly compromise privacy rights, impair civil liberties, or create a climate that suppresses scholarly inquiry or free expression. For instance, AASCU supports provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 that amend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) by expanding law enforcement access to student records pursuant to an ex parte court order. Specifically, AASCU endorses: The waiver of liability for educational agencies and institutions that act in good faith to comply with the law; and The December 31, 2005 sunset of these provisions, which allows for their review and revision in an appropriate timeframe.

However, AASCU believes that actions to confer or revoke basic rights for citizens or their government, once taken, are not easily reversed. Accordingly, AASCU will oppose any broad-scale expansion of FERPA exemptions. AASCU calls on Congress to revisit the whole of FERPA to better align it with contemporary demands and risks.

AASCU urges states to revisit their privacy and open meetings/records laws, with an eye to ensuring that these laws appropriately balance the changing needs of law enforcement with the unchanging demand to protect the civil liberties that distinguish our nation from those that would harm it.

Requirements for Secure Handling of Biohazardous Materials

The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 included new federal requirements relating to the possession, storage and security of biohazardous materials. Regulations to implement these measures will be developed in the near future. New legislative proposals that place much tighter controls on university laboratories that use anthrax and other biological agents for research purposes are expected as part of additional anti-terrorism legislation.

AASCU's Policy Statement

AASCU supports federal and state legislation and regulation that is judiciously developed to provide for essential security safeguards for secure handling and accountability of biohazardous material at colleges and universities.”

AASCU. (2002). “National Security and Internationalization,” AASCU

Final Report of the AASCU Task Force on Global Resonsibility

Rapid and dramatic changes are occurring in higher education around the world, and professionals who are engaged with these changes are trying to stay ahead of the pace and judge their direction. We cannot ignore either the pace or the magnitude of these changes, whether we are talking about technology, advances in the disciplines, changing legislative attitudes, or globalization of the economy.

Important as any change, and made obvious by the current economic crisis in several parts of the world, has been the need for an expanded and continual worldview. Transportation and communication techniques have indeed made the world a "global village" and rendered past isolation impossible to sustain as a condition or a policy. There is greater awareness than ever before that Americans are not immune to the problems of international society. The economic crisis in Asia, human rights violations in China, and the devastation of the floods in Central America, for example, will have an impact on our economy, our sense of social justice, and concerns about immigration to the United States.

Questions of health, security, environmental degradation, economic competitiveness, know no traditional boundaries-nor does the world of commerce.

  • More than five million Americans work in the United States for corporations that are foreign-owned.
  • Millions more work in jobs with regular contacts overseas, and millions come in contact with a growing army of foreign tourists.

No informed American can afford to ignore such events and no educated citizen should misunderstand their significance for our nation's future. To be an informed citizen in the United States today requires one to have a deep understanding of the importance of events, people, and changes happening outside our nation's borders. Such an educated citizenry and a work force with this level of international understanding and sensitivity is essential for our nation's economic success.

If this were not challenge enough, we are experiencing a demographic transformation in the United States, with an increasing percentage of the population from Hispanic or African American backgrounds. In some years of the last decade population increase through immigration has equaled or exceeded the numbers during the flood of immigration at the end of the last century.

Among the myriad of changes facing higher education, none is more compelling than the need to provide campus environments that prepare students to live and function productively in a business and social milieu of great cultural, economic and linguistic diversity. If today's educated people are to be able to move comfortably in many different cultures, they must have the advantage of a global education. They should be exposed to other languages so that they can respect other tongues and abandon the arrogance that claims everyone knows or should know English. They must spend time with people of other races.

As a policy statement from the University of Wisconsin System says, "Quality and diversity are linked. Failure to include race/ethnic diverse subjects in the curriculum, or to include targeted groups in greater numbers as students, faculty, and staff, means all students get a partial education." When it is done right, "Student participation in diversity is related to changes in attitudes, openness to differences, and commitments to social justice. Equally important, such participation is also increasingly related to satisfaction, academic success and cognitive development." Diversity matters for education!

To be an educated person in the new millennium one must have the new skills that come from exposure to other cultures and the understanding produced from the study of different societies and nations. To be employed in those parts of the economy that cross national borders and the barriers of different languages one must be educated in a global environment that provides comfort and understanding of the cultures. Even to function at home, as most of our graduates will, in an increasingly diverse United States environment, a new sensitivity and understanding is required.


AASCU has long recognized the importance of promoting international studies and a global campus environment on its member campuses. Its Office of International Programs has for 20 years facilitated international study and travels, has encouraged interaction between American educators and their counterparts around the world, and has assisted member campuses' efforts to internationalize the curricula.

The Association:

  • has sponsored overseas missions that provide opportunities for presidents to establish linkages, exchanges, and other forms of cooperation.
  • has published a newsletter, World View, that was distributed to campus international contacts, providing useful information particularly on overseas programs.
  • continues to host visitors from USIA International Visitors Program and other groups in response to presidential missions.
  • has sponsored workshops for presidents and international administrators.
  • sponsors the annual Japanese Studies Institute at San Diego State University (Calif); an intensive one-month faculty development program. (Funded by an endowment from The Nippon Foundation of Tokyo.)
  • has conducted a survey of campus international activity. The survey included information about institutional commitment to international programs, international education networks, funding and grant activity, curriculum, activities abroad, and future assistance sought from AASCU.
  • has completed a survey of foreign language instruction at state colleges and universities.
  • continues to work in partnership with five other higher education associations, sponsored the Association Liaison Office for University Cooperation in Development, which operates as a partner with USAID that provides important economic development opportunities for campus connections overseas.
  • provides a list of institutional study abroad programs, resource guides, and links to international education resources through its Web page.

The Task Force Charge

Given the urgency of an environment that demands global understanding for business and diplomacy and the difficult challenge this presents to campuses, it was considered timely for AASCU to take a fresh look at how the association can best serve the needs of its campuses. There are many-most based in Washington, D.C.-that serve campuses' needs for information and programs overseas; AASCU should avoid duplication of what is available through other sources.

The Task Force was asked to chart a realistic course of action for AASCU, as a Washington, D.C.-based association, to assist campuses link with the global community.

The Task Force Recommends That:

  • AASCU continue overseas missions, but that they be restructured. The Task Force recommends that overseas experiences be divided into three groups:
    • Overseas ventures for new presidents or presidents planning a fresh effort at globalization. These should be familiarization trips to prepare inexperienced presidents for the challenges they face to globalize a campus. Missions should be preceded by a self-evaluation of campus needs. AASCU staff should plan the trips, involve a limited number of sites and organize a seminar in Washington to precede the trips. Ideally these trips should be arranged for campus teams to assure maximum impact on the campus.
  • Traditional missions but organized by a lead campus and with clearly defined outcomes agreed to by AASCU (campus teams may be appropriate). Many of these missions could be structured to include business and community leaders from the communities of the participating institutions.
  • Missions for the purpose of aiding economic development. AASCU Academic Leadership and Change staff can encourage cooperative applications for USAID funds through the Association Liaison Office.
    • Mission guidelines should be developed for all three approaches-including a plan for assessment-and circulated by the Academic Leadership and Change staff.
  • That AASCU participate in the recruitment of overseas students for AASCU schools.
    • Recruitment is very costly and most AASCU schools are not well known overseas. By combining forces in the name of state colleges and universities, selection of a particular campus and enrollment would be more attractive to many foreign students. Appearance at recruitment fairs under the banner of AASCU would help member schools hold down costs, and would help answer the growing competition, particularly from Great Britain and Australia. The participating campuses would share costs.
    • AASCU should establish an international Web site for recruitment overseas with links to the individual campuses. (The Web site should be sophisticated enough to have built-in advisement capability.) This would be a great help at a time when U.S. support of recruitment has decreased.
    • Colleges and universities should recruit international students through their admissions office as well as the international student advising office.
  • That the international newsletter be revived at first on an occasional basis and regularly when possible, and that its content be expanded to include the full range of issues with regard to campus globalization.
    • Gathering accurate information about rapidly changing and disparate global activities are of concern, and is particularly difficult for the campuses. This would be an important service and its content should be on the Web, and include, if done critically, information on best practice. Through the newsletter, AASCU should encourage campuses to collect information on graduates involved in global endeavors and report such information.
  • That AASCU update its database of international programs, and foreign language offerings, and that it surveys the membership for reactions to past services.
  • That an AASCU survey of foreign languages taught be used to help institutions form distance learning agreements that will make possible the teaching of the less commonly taught languages by bringing together a critical mass of students through distance learning.
    • Foreign language instruction is one of the most critical areas for any campus attempting to create a global environment, and this is an area that lends itself especially well to cooperative efforts.
  • That AASCU sponsor workshops to help campuses achieve globalization.
    • Perhaps broad-based workshops on internationalizing the campus and the curriculum attended by teams from the campus including the president, academic vice president/provost, director of international education, or dean of extended education, and other relevant stakeholders would work well. More specific workshops could include: building your globalization team, determining institutional strengths and weaknesses, pooling assets among AASCU institutions, or through alliances with the community.
  • That the following standards and processes for measuring the success of a campus in its effort to achieve a global environment be acknowledged and distributed to campuses. It is not possible to quantify all of these measures, and it is very unlikely that any one campus would qualify as fully responsive to all measures, but they represent the ingredients necessary to claim full status as a global campus.
    • The campus population should include representation from significant numbers of international students.
    • The commitment to "globalization"/international education should be clearly expressed in the institution's mission statement, preferably in such a way as to obligate all parts of the campus community.
    • There should be evidence that the campus has taken a series of actions to accommodate a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff.
    • If there is a significant population of foreign students, there should be appropriate foreign student adviser(s).
    • There should be an established and written policy for dealing with conflict between different ethnic, cultural, and national groups.
    • There should be student service groups to represent the diverse student populations, but these should not be allowed to encourage isolation, and institutional efforts to create cross-cultural experiences should be demonstrable.
    • Students should be required to have a comfortable working knowledge of at least one foreign language in order to graduate. (See Next Steps for Languages Across the Curriculum: Prospects, Problems, & Promises, ACE 1998 for an interesting approach to the use of foreign language instruction as a part of globalization.)
    • The campus should have an established record of commitment and progress to internationalize the curriculum. The general education proportion of the curriculum lends itself most directly to this effort, but it should be extended to most disciplines and the departments should be asked to document their effort.
    • The campus should have one or more established programs, through which students may study abroad (perhaps through a consortium), and should be sending students to foreign nations each year.
    • There should be encouragement and incentives for faculty, academic departments and colleges to internationalize the curriculum and to be involved in overseas experiences.
    • The campus should provide for appropriate faculty development seminars and/or workshops.
    • The campus should have a series of international linkages, through faculty research and exchanges, student exchanges, and overseas internships, and partnerships with business.
    • The campus should achieve diversity in its faculty, staff, and students.
    • Campus programming by student affairs, individual department efforts should reflect the commitment to international studies as found in the mission statement.
    • A campus should offer a variety of international opportunities. Student organizations such as Model United Nations, Model Organization of American States, and foreign language clubs offer on-campus international experiences to interested students. Study tours to foreign countries allow travel opportunities within an academic setting. A campus international office helps to promote opportunities for international experiences on and off campus and can be a clearinghouse for speakers in support of a globalization effort.”
AASCU. “Final Report of the AASCU Task Force on Global Resonsibility,” AASCU