Nebraska to write first internationalization strategy as part of ACE Laboratory

Members of the Global Strategy Committee for Nebraska’s ACE Internationalization Laboratory met at the kickoff meeting on January 23, 2020.
Members of the Global Strategy Committee for Nebraska’s ACE Internationalization Laboratory met at the kickoff meeting on January 23, 2020.

by Courtney Van Hoosen | Office of Global Strategies

Over the course of the next year, a collaborative group of faculty and staff will work together to develop Nebraska’s first comprehensive global engagement strategy and set goals for campus internationalization, with the aim of long-lasting institutional change.

Last year, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln became one of 18 colleges and universities participating in the American Council on Education’s (ACE) 17th Internationalization Laboratory cohort. The opportunity comes as Nebraska recently celebrated its 150th anniversary and released the N2025 strategic plan that will propel the university forward. Nebraska is also the 150th university to participate in the ACE Laboratory.

“[2019] was a year where we both celebrated and renewed the commitment of our university’s tri-fold Land-grant mission of access to highest quality education for the 21st century, research and innovation that is changing the world, and engagement with the full citizenry of Nebraska,” said Chancellor Ronnie Green in his 2020 State of Our University Address on February 14.

As Chancellor Green also highlighted in his N150 State of the University address, the university has become an education and research leader at the national and international levels. Global engagement ties into several goals of the bold new N2025 Strategic Plan, released on February 14 as well. Most of the six aims defined in the plan reference Nebraska’s relationship with its community and the world, including a call to build student experiences that prepare graduates for the global workforce, focus research and scholarship to solve global grand challenges, and broaden the university’s engagement in global partnerships.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs Josh Davis, who is spearheading the effort, is excited to build off the momentum of N150 as Nebraska dives into the ACE Laboratory process.

“This will be UNL’s first global engagement strategy, and the timing aligns perfectly with the release of the N2025 Strategic Plan,” said Associate Vice Chancellor Davis. “This is an opportunity to bring together people from around campus to think big about our current campus internationalization efforts, and what strengths we can leverage for the future to help become that world-leading university outlined in the N2025 plan.”

Each institution in the Laboratory forms leadership teams to work on strategic planning and student outcomes, attends meetings in Washington, participates in site visits and peer reviews, and engages in monthly communication with ACE staff and a team of advisors.

In August 2019, Associate Vice Chancellor Davis and director of the Office of Global Strategies, Maegan Stevens-Liska, traveled to Washington, D.C. for the kickoff meeting of the 17th cohort. There, they met Nebraska’s ACE advisor Dr. Ross Lewin, who is the associate vice president for international affairs at the University of Maryland. Dr. Lewin visited Nebraska’s campus on October 15 to meet university leadership and the support team for the Laboratory.

“I’m really very excited to be working with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to develop an international strategic plan,” Dr. Lewin said during a staff luncheon from international support units. “There’s never been a more articulating commitment for internationalization than in Chancellor Green’s address at the beginning of 2019.”

Associate Vice Chancellor Davis will co-lead the Steering Committee for the ACE Laboratory with faculty members Sophia Perdikaris (School of Global Integrative Studies), Frauke Hachtmann (College of Journalism and Mass Communications), and Cody Hollist (College of Education and Human Sciences).

Additional leadership will be provided by the following faculty and staff on the Global Strategy Committee*:

  • Dan Linzell, College of Engineering
  • Patrice McMahon, University Honors Program
  • Megan Elliott, Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts
  • Beth Niehaus, College of Education and Human Sciences
  • John Beghin, Yeutter Institute for International Trade and Finance
  • Courtney Hillebrecht, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Matt Ellis, Academic Services and Enrollment Management
  • Emira Ibrahimpasic, Global Studies Program
  • Rumiko Handa, College of Architecture
  • Isabel Velasquez, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Brian Lepard, College of Law
  • Nkenge Friday, Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Gary Kebbel, College of Journalism and Mass Communications
  • Veronica Riepe, Student Involvement
  • Stan Garbacz, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Maegan Stevens-Liska, Office of Global Strategies
  • *Additional representatives from the College of Business, the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, and the Office of Research and Economic Development are currently being confirmed
Since 2002, more than 150 institutions have participated in ACE Internationalization Laboratory. The 17th cohort is the largest to date. The other U.S. institutions in the 17th Internationalization Laboratory cohort include: Bethany College (WV); California State University, San Bernardino; Loyola Marymount University (CA); Mercer University (GA); Purdue University Northwest; Rhodes College (TN); Sinclair College (OH); Southern Illinois University; The College at Brockport (NY); University of California San Diego; University of Delaware; University of Missouri - Kansas City; University of North Georgia; and York College of Pennsylvania. Three Brazilian universities will also participate in the cohort: Universidade Federal de Goiás, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, and Universidade Federal do Pará.

The American Council on Education (ACE) is a membership organization that mobilizes the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. As the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities, its strength lies in our diverse membership of more than 1,700 colleges and universities, related associations, and other organizations in America and abroad. ACE is the only major higher education association to represent all types of U.S. accredited, degree-granting institutions: two-year and four-year, public and private. For more information, visit

For more information about the ACE Laboratory process at Nebraska, contact the Office of Global Strategies at