Background paper: Global Engagement Guidelines in US and UK Universities

We’ve posted a background paper by Veena Mohan (UMass Amherst MPPA ’23), titled Balancing Risks and Benefits: Global Engagement Guidelines in US and UK Universities. From the abstract: “International collaboration in academia has increased over the past several decades, along with the risks and benefits associated with it. To navigate the complexities of this sphere, many universities have created global engagement guidelines for their academic communities. This paper describes and analyzes twelve of these university guidelines and one drafted code of conduct focused on mitigating the risks of internationalization. The paper ends with recommendations for future university guidelines, which include combining the values statement and practical instructions approach and setting up accountability measures.” Download the paper here.

April 20 webinar

Join us for this April 20 webinar, 10AM to 11AM EDT. Register here.

International Scholarly Engagement: Respecting Human Rights and Academic Freedom

International engagement is an essential part of scholarly work in public administration, but it poses challenges when academic freedom and human rights are disrespected and placed at risk. The global resurgence of authoritarianism has intensified these challenges.  What should individuals and institutions – universities, academic associations, journals, and accrediting bodies – do to assure that core values like human rights and academic freedom are protected when they work in other jurisdictions?


Chelsea Cohen, Acting Director, Membership & University Relations, Scholars at Risk, New York

Corinne Lennox, Co-Director, Human Rights Consortium, University of London; Member, UK Academic Freedom and Internationalisation Working Group


Michael Brintnall, Trustee of Montgomery College, Maryland, and former Executive Director of the American Political Science Association and of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

Meghna Sabharwal, Chair of the ASPA Section on International and Comparative Public Administration, and public and nonprofit management program head, University of Texas at Dallas

Emerging themes on engagement

by Alasdair Roberts and Mary-Lee Rhodes, PreCISE co-chairs

PreCISE recently hosted two conversations about international engagement — one at the ASPA conference in Jacksonville on March 19, and a webinar on March 30.  In both conversations, we asked participants to think about some hypothetical scenarios that raised questions about engagement, human rights, and academic freedom.

Participants discuss scenarios during March 19 session at ASPA conference

PreCISE will hold more conversations over the rest of 2022, as we prepare a report to be released in January 2023.  We’ve already observed several important themes emerging from our conversations on March 19 and March 30:

Be clear about values.  Often, academic organizations find themselves reacting unexpectedly to controversies in which core values seem to be at risk.  Addressing these controversies is easier if academic organizations have articulated core values and principles well before a controversy arises.

Get the facts.  Controversies arise when individuals raise concerns about situations that seem to threaten human rights and academic freedom.  There may be an impulse to react quickly to such concerns.  It’s important to take time to check the facts.

Inclusive decision-making.  Because decision-making often involves reacting to an unexpected controversy, it runs the risk of being done quickly and informally.  It’s important to think carefully about who ought to be involved in decisions and ensure that different perspectives are adequately represented.

Opportunities for dialogue and principled engagement.  Controversies provide an opportunity to open a dialogue about core values and to build principled connections with scholars in other countries.  It’s important to think carefully about the ways in which engagement may provide opportunities for such dialogue.  This requires good knowledge of context: Are potential partners interested in and/or aligned with the core values of the organization?  Are there opportunities for change within the system?

Transparency in decisions.  Difficult decisions involving strongly held views and controversy may be necessary in situations relating to human rights and academic freedom.  To facilitate deliberative and inclusive decision making and to communicate effectively, it’s important to be transparent about how a decision was reached, and the reasons for those decisions.

These March sessions were the first of many.  We welcome feedback. Leave a comment here or email us: Alasdair Roberts and Mary-Lee Rhodes.

ASPA webinar provides overview of commitee work

Wednesday March 30, 4:30PM-5:30PM EDT

International Scholarly Engagement

International engagement is an essential part of scholarly work in public administration, but it poses challenges when academic freedom and human rights are disrespected and placed at risk. This tension has increased recently due to a resurgence of authoritarianism worldwide. ASPA has established a Presidential Committee on International Scholarly Engagement to examine the issue. This session, featuring the co-chairs and several members of the committee, will provide an overview of the committee’s work, identify the contexts in which engagement may be problematic and consider ways that contending values might be reconciled.

Here are the slides for this webinar.

And here are slides summarizing results from our March 19 ASPA session.

Register here:

Session at ASPA conference

Committee member Gyorgy Hajnal leads discussion at APSA conference

The committee held its first discussion at the ASPA conference in Jacksonville FL on March 19. As part of the session, about fifty conference participants worked through a series of scenarios presenting typical challenges in international scholarly engagement.

Read the scenarios discussed in this session.

View the Powerpoint that explained the aims of the committee and plans for the session.