Global Engagement Solutions for Higher Education


SIO Perspectives: The Missing Link to Global Engagement Growth

June 11, 2024


From a podcast interview with Grant Chapman, an experienced global engagement and international education professional with over 30 years of experience. Grant is a Fulbright Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa member.

“This concept of an international inventory or digital database is a game changer as a real-time tool for advocating, pursuing new grant proposals, and sharing the impact of what we do globally.”


In a recent episode of the Global Engagement Insights Podcast, Grant Chapman, a senior international officer at Kansas State University, discussed the importance of creating a digital database or international inventory to support global engagement and advocacy efforts in higher education. Chapman emphasized the need for universities to understand and measure their global initiatives to advocate for their value and impact effectively. This article will delve into three key themes from the podcast episode, highlighting the significance of the international inventory and its potential to transform the role of senior international officers (SIOs) and the overall mission of universities.

Key Takeaways

  • A digital database or international inventory is crucial for universities to understand and measure their global initiatives, allowing them to advocate for their value and impact.
  • The international inventory empowers SIOs to be more informed and effective advocates, providing real-time data on the university’s global engagement efforts.
  • The database benefits the university and its faculty and enhances the student experience by simplifying processes and providing valuable information on study abroad programs and partnerships.

The Power of Data: Advocacy and Decision-Making

Creating a digital database or international inventory can revolutionize the role of SIOs and their ability to advocate for global engagement within their universities. By gathering and organizing data on the university’s global initiatives, the database provides SIOs with a powerful tool to support their advocacy efforts. As Chapman explains, the database allows SIOs to be more informed when discussing the university’s global trends, strategic partnerships, and research collaborations. This data-driven approach strengthens the SIO’s position and enables them to make a compelling case for the value of international education.

Moreover, the database supports decision-making processes within the university. Faculty members can access the database to gather information on successful programs and collaborations in specific regions or countries, enhancing their grant proposals and demonstrating the university’s expertise in those areas. The database also helps faculty members connect with colleagues from different disciplines, fostering interdisciplinary collaborations and strengthening existing partnerships. By providing a comprehensive view of the university’s global engagement efforts, the database enables informed decision-making and resource allocation, ensuring that limited resources are directed toward areas of strategic importance.

Bridging the Gap: Connecting Local and Global Communities

One key benefit of the international inventory is its ability to bridge the gap between the university and its local communities. Often, global engagement is seen as separate from the local context, creating a divide between “us” and “them.” However, the database allows universities to demonstrate the interconnectedness of their global work and its impact on local communities. By showcasing the university’s global initiatives and their relevance to local challenges, the database helps universities engage with their communities and foster a shared purpose.

The international inventory is particularly significant for Kansas State University, a Land Grant University with a strong focus on engagement and outreach. It enables the university to leverage its global expertise to address local issues such as water resources, broadband access, and rural development. By sharing the impact of their global work with the local community, universities can demonstrate the value of international education and its potential to benefit both the world and the local region. The database is a foundation for impactful storytelling, providing concrete data to support the university’s engagement efforts and strengthen its connection with the community.

Empowering Students: Enhancing the Study Abroad Experience

The international inventory benefits faculty and administrators and enhances the student experience. By providing information on study abroad programs, partnerships, and language acquisition opportunities, the database simplifies finding and participating in global learning experiences. Students can access the database to explore study abroad options, learn about previous students' experiences, and connect with faculty members leading programs in their areas of interest.

Furthermore, the database enables universities to track student mobility trends and identify areas for curriculum development. As students increasingly choose non-traditional study abroad destinations, the database helps universities understand their students' changing needs and preferences. This knowledge can inform curriculum decisions, ensuring that students receive a well-rounded education that prepares them for a globalized world.

The international inventory is particularly valuable for first-generation students. Many of these students may have yet to have had previous exposure to international experiences, and the database provides them with a comprehensive view of their opportunities. By offering purposeful first-gen education abroad programs and showcasing the impact of these programs on individual student lives, universities can empower first-generation students to embrace global learning and expand their horizons.


Creating a digital database or international inventory is a game-changer for universities seeking to enhance their global engagement efforts. By providing real-time data on global initiatives, the database empowers SIOs to be more informed and effective advocates, supporting their efforts to demonstrate the value and impact of international education. Moreover, the database bridges the gap between local and global communities, showcasing the interconnectedness of global work and its relevance to local challenges. Finally, the database enhances the student experience by simplifying the study abroad process and providing valuable information on global learning opportunities. As universities embrace the power of data and digital transformation, the international inventory emerges as a crucial tool for shaping the future of global education.

To catch the full interview with Grant, CLICK HERE.