My new book, the International Travel Handbook: Engaging Constituents Abroad (Academic Impressions, 2014) does not assume that all readers and their institutions are poised to jet off tomorrow to advance their agendas. Indeed, that is one of the goals of the Handbook but a more important outcome for readers is to acknowledge their overall readiness to embark on more global initiatives and travel.
There are more resources and relationships to leverage than a budget and a locale when working abroad. International academic, admissions and advancement officers must look beyond their own functional domain and think about the overall international story and how that is projected today with key stakeholders.
A key tool in the book is the International Travel Barometer. The Barometer assesses readers’ preparedness by scoring responses to a set of 10 questions that reflect on the international sources of information and resources. The cumulative score is discussed using a sliding scale developed to highlight areas for further development and discussion. Here are some of the questions:
Can you describe roughly the international demographics that define your student and alumni body?
Are you aware of what other offices are doing in terms of international engagement?
Do you know which staff members are working abroad, what resources they have and the nature of their relationships?
My hope is that the Barometer is shared across staffs and planning committees. I believe it will elicit some new conversations across departments and academic divisions. International travel and the importance of advance and thorough planning cannot be underestimated!