In the 21st century, student mobility, transnational education and research collaboration are the pillars that support institutions’ missions and visions of creating global citizens and providing a global education experience to its constituents. In the process of discovering which indicators of globalization effectively measure engagement and immersion at colleges and universities, a scale of global engagement framework was designed to better understand and compare national and international policies, programs, and institutional profiles. At the center of an institution’s global processes, is student and faculty mobility. This idea of ease of movement and cross-pollination lies also at the center of the internationalization movement. The fervor to internationalize has focused more on development and less on evaluation, which ultimately, circumscribes the enhancement of internationalization and fails to maximize educational outcomes. Moreover, although the need for assessment extends across the higher education sector, a failure to monitor the state of internationalization could be especially pernicious for research universities (Horn, Hendel & Fry, 2007). These ideas illustrate that, in addition to political and economic rationales, several sociocultural and academic motives for internationalization are delineated. Cultural rationales include the export of national values and ideologies. Social rationales echoed the virtues of intergroup contact as a means to reduce prejudice and develop a critical reflection of one’s own culture. Finally, academic rationales are derived from the realization that prosperous participation in the global knowledge network necessitates international collaboration, global competencies among students and faculty, and competitive international recognition (2007).

It became increasingly important to have established a simple and easy to follow, yet detailed framework for measuring globalization in higher education. This newly created framework provides a basis for universities to be able to: provide meaningful, globally conscious student experiences, ensure the curriculum is internationalized and innovative, and allow for faculty experiences that include active, academic, collaborative cross-border engagement. Qiang describes internationalization of higher education as a process of integrating intercultural dimensions into the functions of an institution. He argues that a framework for internationalization is “a dynamic process and not a set of isolated activities” (2003).

Three significant implications emerge. The first is the concept of globalization as an added-value. Second, the finding that global consciousness should be infused throughout the institution and that brand recognition and image are essential to cross-border engagement, provide the backdrop for institutions trying to create an impactful global milieu. Third, by including approaches to internationalization, a new outlook was provided on the ideas brought about through the coupling of the perspectives and rationales for internationalization. In Qiang’s framework (2003), the ways or approaches universities can take to fully internationalize are discussed. These are: the activity approach (what can people do?); the competency approach (what can people learn?); the ethos approach (what can happen in the culture and climate?); and the process approach (what can be integrated are infused into programs?). The inclusion of these approaches illustrate how student experiences, faculty experiences and the development of curriculum offer universities three choices: development of specific programs, like global economies; collaborative work across disciplines, i.e. a literature class connected to classes in international art or world history, which bring greater perspective; and the idea of “localites/cosmopolites” — which represents the infusion of an international curriculum toward a global perspective. Embracing ideas, such as embedding the home countries’ histories and cultures into concurrent world history and culture will open students and faculty to global consciousness and cultural connection to those around the world.

The results from this study led to recommendations for future research that would be worthwhile and beneficial for researchers and practitioners. The scale of global engagement serves as groundwork for future development of a globalization scorecard. Having defined a set of indicators of global engagement, the task now is to operationalize a globalization scorecard for colleges and universities. The scale of global engagement is designed to be used holistically or sorted by individual domains, and any other combination a context necessitates. The use of the scale in this manner will help universities answer the two principal questions in international strategy: 1) where should the value-added chain be broken across borders? and 2) in what functional activities should a firm concentrate its resources? (Kogut, 1985) In sum, comparative advantage, also referred to as location-specific advantage, influences the decision of where to source and market. Competitive advantage, also referred to as institution-specific advantage, influences the decision on what activities and technologies along a value-added chain an institution should concentrate its investment and managerial resources in (1985) relative to other institutions in its peer group.  The scale of global engagement created by this study offers academic managers ways to track both the competitive and comparative advantages to the benefit of their educational programs and visions.

Higher education has entered a third wave of internationalization. In this third wave, globalization processes have altered the educational landscape around the world. It is clear that the internationalization of education has created a new marketplace that is very different to local markets of recent memory. Competition has changed, as have competitors, and education administrators must come to grips with the risks and returns of complex international environments (Mazzarol, Soutar & Seng, 2003). Navigating this third wave requires new tools that assist in monitoring and measuring not only impact, but influence and immersion as well. This wave of educational activity is ushering in new processes and procedures for during research and impacting academia on a world stage. The classifications of this third mission are activities related to research, teaching, and social engagement — a variety of activities that involve many constituent parts of universities and require a suitable culture and mindset; different people with specialized skill sets; and supporting structures and mechanisms, in order to achieve its potential (Sadlak, 2012). These ideals are vital to the proliferation of globalization on campuses. The importance of integrating these dimensions into the structure of an institution will provide many benefits, help to develop research, teaching and learning methods that address the needs of a broader spectrum of learners, and facilitate the development of graduates who are well-suited to participate in professional life and are aware of their social context (2012). Sadlak argues, “good indicators can serve to provide a handle on things that were previously hard to grasp; they render such activities monitorable and to an extent influenceable” (2012).

The process of globalization in higher education forces universities to answer several questions. When considering the impact of large numbers of international students and faculty, extending a brand image, establishing world-class status, developing markets in other countries, and performing well in global university rankings, administrators are tasked with navigating difficult areas of university management. “Higher education has become a form of international trade,” advises Wildavsky (2010). “With fewer restrictions on the circulation of students, professors, and ideas around the globe, this intellectual commerce could be called free trade in minds,” he continues (2010). Internationalized and global universities provide competition and academic rigor that is both positive and beneficial to the global community. These institutions inspire even larger amounts of academic migration through both people and ideas, “but it’s net positive effect seems certain — which is why free trade in minds holds the key to sustaining the world’s knowledge economy and ultimately to restoring global prosperity” (Wildavsky, 2010).