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After having to cancel in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Auburn University Office of International Programs hosted the long-awaited International Perspectives on University Teaching and Learning Symposium at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, with an online option. From June 2-4, a diverse community of teaching and learning professionals, international educators, policy makers, administrators and researchers gathered to network, collaborate and engage in discussions on internationalization in higher education, with intentional conversations about how the pandemic has affected and will alter the higher education landscape.

“Cross-cultural collaboration is essential to effectively enhancing higher education institutions,” said Andrew Gillespie, assistant provost for international programs at Auburn University. “The Office of International Programs developed this conference for the purpose of cultivating knowledge on leadership in internationalizing teaching and learning in the United States and abroad.”

The symposium covered a wide range of international teaching and learning topics relevant to institutions and their constituents all across the globe. The keynote sessions were presented by Jaime Casap who served as the chief education evangelist at Google for more than 14 years and was the second member of the Google for Education team; Peter Felten, the executive director for the Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University; and Francisco Marmolejo who currently serves as the president of higher education at the Qatar Foundation.

In addition to the keynote presentations, professionals representing more than 25 different colleges and companies shared their perspectives on internationalization in teaching and learning to assist their colleagues in developing actionable ideas to bring back to their respective institutions. The presentations and roundtable sessions included topics such as developing, administrating and delivering world class study abroad programs; using lessons learned from COVID-19 to plot a new path in global education; the multicultural and multilingual classroom; creating meaningful partnerships for internationalization on campus; and assessing student outcomes in internationalized education.

Over the three-day symposium, professionals just as diverse as their topics gathered to cultivate ideas, communicate effective strategies and foster friendships. Of the attendees that completed a post-symposium survey, 94 percent reported that they were satisfied with their experience and 88 percent reported that they were likely to attend the symposium in 2023.

“This was, by far, the best and most enjoyable conference I've ever attended,” said Autumn Lauzon, lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. “The presentations were interesting and educational, the setting was fantastic, the food and Epcot experience was magical, and everyone was just so genuinely nice and pleasant to talk with! I was feeling quite defeated from two rough semesters, and I left IPUTL inspired and revived.”

The next International Perspectives on University Teaching and Learning Symposium will be held in summer 2023. Exact dates and location are being determined and will be announced on the symposium website. To learn more about IPUTL and to stay informed on future events, follow and engage on Facebook and Twitter.

 James Groccia, Jennifer Mason, Andrew Gillespie and Kalani Long