Jason Lane and Kevin Kinser. Comprehensive internationalization seems to be all the rage these days. For the past decade, the concept has been the topic of policy reports, institutional planning documents, and meetings around the world. More than mere internationalization, comprehensive internationalization emphasizes activities that touch on all aspects of the institution, suggesting deep and ubiquitous change from the status quo. Advocates rightly argue that institutions need to be more strategic and inclusive with their international activities. However, the focus on institutional activities alone can often lead us to forget that internationalization should also be a national policy concern.
For example, the Partnership for a New American Economy released this month a report that argued existing immigration policies in the United States are a significant deterrent to the health of the nation’s innovation system. “For Patent Pending: How Immigrants are Reinventing the American Economy,” the authors examined the nearly 1,500 patents produced by the United States’ top patent-producing universities in 2011. They found that 76 percent of the patents produced by these universities involved at least one foreign-born inventor and more than half (54 percent) of the patents were awarded to students, postdocs, and staff researchers likely to face problems with staying in the United States.