Globalization in higher education is providing worldwide access and international expansion to institutions on a world stage. As scholars and researchers define and further flesh out the implications of globalization at colleges and universities, tools need to be created to help institutions navigate through nebulous descriptions and styles of global engagement. Globalization is erasing borders in higher education. The place-based identities of colleges and universities is changing and “national boundaries have become largely irrelevant” (Wildavsky, 2010). With this in mind, institutions must find ways to become players on a global scale. As higher education shifts from its nineteenth century elitism to twenty-first century massification, institutions need a measurement tool to gauge their involvement, influence and interaction with the global marketplace and contemporary globalization processes (Kwiek, 2001). In this era of globalization, colleges and universities need a concrete measure and indicators of global engagement in order to effectively claim to be global institutions producing global scholars.

Creating a measure that can assist colleges and universities to quantify their worldwide connection is vital to the further definition and establishment of globally engaged institutions around the world. So far, measures of global engagement must be harvested from rankings, which do not include the mass of institutions, but lists of top ten and top one hundred colleges and universities. These rankings have little validity, but are observed with seriousness from the public (Altbach, 2010). As institutions strive to benchmark themselves against their peers worldwide (2010), a valid measurement needs to be invented that allows for such comparison and evaluation. Institutions are currently using rankings to make changes to their policies and programs and to market themselves (Jaschik, 2010). The need for a valid measure of global engagement colleges and universities could use to measure globalization is vital to their further development and advancement.

The purpose of this study and the creation of a scale of global engagement are to identify elements which play important roles in the globalization of higher education. It seeks to answer the question(s): How can colleges and universities quantify and qualify themselves as global institutions using a standardized measurement and what is the definition of the criteria and indicators of global engagement in higher education? The proposed frameworks for this study are either Zha Qiang’s “Internationalization of Higher Education: towards a conceptual framework” or Massimiliano Vaira’s “Globalization and higher education organizational change: A framework for analysis.” Using research and information from experts, leaders in higher education, information from institutions and authors coupled with the literature, which includes rankings, frameworks and critiques, a measurement tool will be created that institutions can use to determine and appraise their global impact. Through an in depth analysis of all of these, a valid rationale to what the indicators should be and their importance to twenty-first century higher education will be established.

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