International Briefs for Higher Education Leaders

Developed by American Council on Education (ACE) in partnership with the Boston College Center for International Higher Education, the International Briefs for Higher Education Leaders series is designed to help inform strategic decisions about international programming and initiatives.

Aimed at senior university executives who need a quick but incisive perspective on international issues and trends, the Briefs offer analysis and commentary on key countries and topics of importance to higher education worldwide. 

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Women's Representation in Higher Education Leadership Around the World (2021)

In most contexts around the world, women are now enrolling in higher education at similar – or even higher – rates to men. However, these statistics give the false impression that gender equality in higher education has somehow been reached. In fact, higher education remains highly unequal in terms of gender in almost every country in the world. This is particularly pronounced in the area of leadership, with the vast majority of senior leadership positions still held by men in most contexts, despite the clear potential that women leaders offer for the sector. The 9th Brief in this series considers this phenomenon through a comparative lens, contrasting the specific barriers and opportunities facing aspiring women leaders in a number of different geographic contexts and elevating the lessons that might be drawn from such an analysis when seeking to rectify gender imbalances within national systems and individual institutions.


Attainment and Inclusion in Higher Education: International Perspectives (2019)

This installment explores two extremely important and interconnected topics in higher education today— educational attainment and equity in educational outcomes. We live in an era when global conversations have moved from focusing primarily on access to also emphasizing student success in higher education. As such, it has become even more urgent to examine sustained efforts undertaken by a range of different countries to ensure equitable opportunities for degree attainment for all students, including underserved or traditionally marginalized student populations.

Mapping Internationalization Globally: National Profiles and Perspectives (2018)

Following the release of the fourth edition of ACE’s Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses (PDF) 1.5 MB study in June 2017, this Brief explores the Mapping data and related information on higher education internationalization around the world.  It features country-focused articles written by higher education scholars and experts, and explores existing policies and activities, key challenges, and emerging opportunities for internationalization in a variety of unique national contexts. 


Engaging with Europe: Enduring Ties, New Opportunities (2016)

Higher education in Europe has undergone significant changes in the last two decades, creating a “new landscape” for European postsecondary education and bringing with it major implications for internationalization and global engagement in this key world region. This installment in the Briefs series explores recent European internationalization initiatives, including the Bologna Process, Erasmus, and Horizon 2020, and their implications for European-US higher education collaboration.


International Joint and Dual Degrees: Strategy and Implementation (2015)

As colleges and universities consider their place in an ever-globalizing world, international joint and dual degrees can help institutions move beyond individual faculty and course-level collaborations to establish on-going, multidimensional partnerships with counterparts abroad.  This edition of the Brief explores strategic planning, program administration and management, and the academic dimensions of international joint and dual degrees.


Argentina, Brazil, Chile - Engaging with the "Southern Cone" (2014)

In light of recent programs and initiatives designed to facilitate collaboration between U.S. institutions and their counterparts in the “Southern Cone” region, this edition of the Brief explores higher education in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Topics include current trends and priorities, government policies related to internationalization, student and scholar mobility to and from the region, and strategies for U.S. institutions seeking to engage with partners in these countries.


India: The Next Frontier (2013)

With US higher education interest in India at an all-time high, the potential for engagement with Indian counterparts holds exciting possibilities for many US colleges and universities. This edition of the Brief explores India's strategic importance, Indian higher education in the 21st century, and the legal framework for international higher education partnerships in India.


Global Engagement: New Modalities (2012)

Recognizing the changing international higher education landscape, this edition of the Brief focuses on emerging trends and new strategies for global engagement. Topics include key legal issues surrounding international ventures, extending the campus community through global engagement, and advice from experienced partner institutions abroad on building successful collaborations.


China: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges in Higher Education Cooperation (2012)

Designed to provide information for institutions engaged in or considering partnerships and other ventures in China, this edition of the Brief includes articles on policy trends, the growth of foreign campuses in China, and the challenges of integrating Chinese students into American institutions.