Global Readiness and International Programs

In fulfilling its mission in instruction, research and scholarship, and public service, the UNC System recognizes the challenges of the rapidly changing, knowledge-based global economy and environment of the 21st century. With the United States’ destiny increasingly being shaped by common global concerns and the interdependence of nations and peoples throughout the world, the University affirms its responsibility:

  • To provide its students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to become informed and productive citizens of the state, the nation, and the world, through interactive courses in language, culture and economics, through increased student exchange, through enhanced virtual experiences and study abroad.
  • To bring its educational, research and public service resources to bear in addressing current and future global concerns through faculty exchange, collaborative research, and other means.
  • To bring in top students from around the world to learn here. Some students will stay and become key knowledge workers and entrepreneurs here; others will return to help their home countries and form future partnerships with North Carolina.

The UNC Board of Governors first adopted internationalization as a strategy in 2002. The Board’s goal has been to promote an international perspective throughout the University to prepare citizens to become leaders in a multiethnic and global society.

In December 2007, a University of North Carolina Tomorrow Commission report confirmed that global readiness is vital to the future of the University and the state. The report recommended that the UNC System increase partnership programs and work to prepare graduates to compete in the global economy.

Institution International Websites

Program Websites

Go Global NC

Established in 1979 as the Center for International Understanding, Go Global NC is a public service program of the UNC System committed to helping North Carolinians live and work effectively with people of all cultures. Its unique approach to global education includes short-term immersion programs abroad, coupled with study and training in North Carolina. Go Global works primarily with policy leaders and educators, providing them with the experiences and tools necessary to guide their communities and the state through changes associated with an increasingly interdependent world.

The University Council on International Programs (UCIP)

The University Council on International Programs consists of senior international officers from each of the constituent UNC System institutions, the vice president for International Engagement, and representatives from affiliated organizations that support international efforts. The chair of the UCIP is appointed by the senior vice president for External Affairs, from among the senior international officers of the 17 campuses and serves with the approval from the campus provost. The UCIP meets regularly to advance the international agenda across the University and encourage inter-institutional programs, outreach, and communication. The mission of UCIP is to advise the president on international matters and on policies influencing the support and operation of international programs. The UCIP also coordinates the University’s diverse international efforts to meet the growing needs for global readiness in international education, research, and service.

UNC International Student Recruitment Consortium (UNC IRC)

The UNC IRC comprises East Carolina University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, UNC Asheville, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, UNC Pembroke, UNC School of the Arts, UNC Wilmington, and Western Carolina University. The consortium works to bring more highly-qualified international students to participating institutions through increasing awareness of the campuses in international markets and helping institutions to build their capacity to ensure international student success.

Having more international students can help domestic students learn to work in diverse teams and appreciate cultural differences. These skills are critical to the development of “intercultural competence,” which is valued by faculty and future employers. In addition, graduating international students who choose to stay in North Carolina start businesses at roughly twice the rate of domestic graduates and can fill important skills gaps in the state. International students who choose to return to their native country can be valuable ambassadors for the state.

The 11-member UNC IRC builds off of the success of the former UNC Exchange Program (UNC EP), established in 1997 as a way to facilitate the regular exchange of students between UNC System institutions and overseas institutions. The consortium was approved by the Board of Governors in May 2015, when the International Subcommittee of the Committee on Academic Planning and Policy observed that international students bring a variety of benefits to UNC System institutions and the state. The subcommittee recommended a shared service for a consortium of institutions could expand brand awareness of UNC System institutions and bring in more international students.

The UNC IRC program is housed at UNC Greensboro and operates under the direction of a director who works closely with the UNC System Office and reports administratively to the associate provost for International Programs at UNC Greensboro. A consortium advisory board makes recommendations to the University Council on International Programs (UCIP) and assists the director on programmatic and policy matters. Policy recommendations endorsed by UCIP are taken under consideration by the senior vice president for External Affairs. Authority on final policy decisions rests with the president of the UNC System.