Global Education Needs More Institutions Participating in Open Doors — Technology Can Help

Global Education Needs More Institutions Participating in Open Doors — Technology Can Help
Anthony C. Ogden


As Seen in Campus Technology: Global Education Needs More Institutions Participating in Open Doors Research 

Earlier this week, the Institute of International Education (IIE) released its annual Open Doors report, an undeniable touchstone of information and trends in international higher education in the U.S. But we need more colleges and universities to participate. The more institutions that submit their data for the annual survey, the better the data we have to muster collective influence with key stakeholders.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Open Doors report evaluates the number of  international students and scholars studying at U.S. higher education institutions and the number of American college and university students studying abroad for academic credit.

And, while the report may be billed as “comprehensive,” it isn’t exactly. Higher education institutions aren’t required to submit their information. Many do, of course — some 1,000 or so, but there are hundreds more institutions with data to submit.

The reasons why so many institutions don’t take part are varied, but a longstanding complaint is that the effort required to collect the data is daunting, sometimes taking weeks working across disparate campus units to pull everything together.  

But today, perhaps more than ever, the industry needs every institution to step up. As international offices emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, focused on reinvigorating their initiatives, the right data can make all the difference — bolstering their arguments to grow and expand and demonstrating their vital importance in the economy. Here’s why it matters.

Overworked, Scattered Data 

As a national snapshot on student mobility, Open Doors is a particularly important dataset. But, each year, necessary changes and refinement make it more complex for institutions to collect and report the data in the required format. Schools must submit information in the same way, otherwise the data will be unreliable. 

International educators have only recently come to embrace the power of institutional data and analytics. It wasn’t that long ago when students weren’t even required to formally apply for an education abroad program, and they could theoretically study abroad without notifying anybody in the international office. 

Even still, many institutions have done all they could to participate in Open Doors over the decades. I remember past colleagues closing their doors for weeks to focus on collecting and  triangulating the data in just the right way. 

International education offices are especially strapped for time and resources. One and two-person teams are common, and these professionals are tasked with many responsibilities — from student advising and enrollment management to ensuring immigration compliance and effective program implementation. Taking a month each year to gather the right data points  across campus units for a national report can take a backseat. 

But, spending that time to collect the data also can pay off for the industry. A better, more representative Open Doors report could mean more assistance and support for international higher education, as a whole, including those small, overworked offices. 

Why Better Reporting Matters 

When hundreds or thousands of institutions are missing from the Open Doors’ analysis, our industry is missing out on opportunities to influence policymakers and lawmakers for support and funding. 

A more robust report with data from a broader range of institutions will make it easier for organizations like IIE and NAFSA to advocate for international education. It will provide a more complete picture of the billions of dollars that international education pumps into the economy at national and state levels, convincing lawmakers that it’s an effort worth their time and attention. 

With the right data at hand, international educators will be better positioned to emphasize the importance of international education within their own institutions and show how it can enhance and extend an institution’s overall mission, values and priorities. 

It’s important to note that Open Doors’ data is broad brush. These are not institutional snapshots or benchmarking opportunities for institutions to compare their programs with peer institutions elsewhere. Even still, institutions use the Open Doors data to understand the state of programming and enrollments and where they might improve.

What’s more, a more comprehensive Open Doors report means organizations that support international mobility have better information to track trends and discover emerging markets so they can shift to address the needs and demands. 

Thankfully, global engagement and enrollment management platforms like Terra Dotta and others, have made it  easier for institutions to respond to the annual Open Doors survey without manual data collection. International educators have options to complete the process seamlessly and with higher data veracity.

With more automated data collection and reporting, the industry effectively boosts the ability to access accurate and on-demand data and bolster advocacy efforts. When combined with other international datasets, this enables the industry to be more strategic, and our collective efforts to recruit, for example, grow immeasurably to meet the Open Doors objective: providing insights to help drive the next generation of international higher education. 

This blog was originally published as an article in CampusTechnology.com on Nov. 18, 2022

About the author: Antony Rotoli is the CEO of Terra Dotta,  a leading and trusted organization in higher education travel, study abroad, and international program management solutions. For more information, www.terradotta.com, Linkedin profile. Dr. Anthony C. Ogden is the founder and managing director of Gateway International Group, an organization seeking to accelerate international learning and engagement by assisting institutions and organizations around the world to succeed in a new era of higher education. For more information, www.gatewayinternational.org, Linkedin profile

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Episode 29: Cultural Lens on U.S. Higher Education: Analyzing International Perceptions of 'Anti-Woke’ Discourse

Dive into a nuanced exploration of the global discourse surrounding higher education in the United States. Join us for a panel discussion with esteemed international educators as we embark on a journey through the lenses of culture and international perspective, examining how global audiences interpret and engage with the ‘anti-woke’ discourse within the context of U.S. higher education. This engaging panel discussion will delve into the intersections of culture, ideology, and education, and the complex landscape of how international audiences perceive the ‘anti-woke’ narrative that has emerged within U.S. academia.

Whether you’re a senior international officer, or simply curious about the diverse viewpoints shaping U.S. higher education, this podcast episode will provide an invaluable space for critical analysis and insightful conversations.

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Fanta Aw is a distinguished leader in international education, renowned for her extensive contributions to global learning, cross-cultural understanding, and educational equity. With a deep commitment to fostering connections between diverse cultures and promoting educational excellence, she has significantly impacted the international education community.

Fanta Aw’s career has been characterized by her dedication to advancing global education initiatives, promoting diversity and inclusion, and nurturing partnerships that transcend borders. She has held influential roles in various organizations, advocating for the importance of international collaboration and learning experiences that empower individuals to navigate an increasingly interconnected world.

As a thought leader and visionary, Fanta Aw’s insights and expertise have shaped discussions on the future of international education, emphasizing the significance of equitable access, cultural exchange, and lifelong learning. Her work has not only elevated institutions but has also inspired countless individuals to embrace the transformative power of global education.

Date: September 14th, 2023
Time: 12 noon ET

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An experienced global researcher and administrator, Mark Beirn brings a critical approach to risk management, factoring structural racism and identity-based violence into his rubric for supporting equitable global mobility.

Specialization Areas:

– Global Risk Management
– Education Abroad
– Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in International Education
– Health and Safety
– Curriculum Development


Stephen Appiah-Padi​


Stephen Appiah-Padi is an international educator with several years of teaching and administrative experience in both 4 and 2-year HEIs. An experienced global education practitioner-scholar, with a demonstrated history of success in the field.

Dr. Appiah-Padi has a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada in Educational Policy & Administration with a specialization in International/Intercultural Education.

At Northwestern College, he provided oversight in the administration of education abroad and international student services. In Lansing, Michigan, he first oversaw diversity and intercultural education at Lansing Community College, and later created the Center for International and Intercultural Education (CIIE) which merged intercultural engagement and international education programs of the institution, and he became its first director. Additionally, Dr. Appiah-Padi taught a course, “Diversity in the American Workplace”, to undergraduate management students of the College. In his current position, he provides leadership and vision in advancing strategic internationalization initiatives, including international partnerships and study abroad programs at Bucknell University.

Dr Appiah-Padi has created and facilitated several workshops for faculty and staff development in higher education and in business organizations. He has presented at several national and international conferences. In NAFSA, among several volunteer leadership positions, he has served as Dean of the Fundamentals of Intercultural Communication Workshop, the Leadership Development Committee member, Chair of the Africa Special Interest Group, and a Fellow of the Global Fellowship Program for mentoring emerging leaders of internationalization in African HEIs. He currently serves as a member of the NAFSA Board of Directors.

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Rosa Almoguera


Dr. Rosa Almoguera has worked as an international educator for over twenty years. She was trained as a Hispanic Philologist at the Universidad Complutense, in Madrid, and did her M.A. at the University of Pennsylvania. Her Ph.D., from Universidad Complutense included a field study and edition of written balladry “Romancero”. During many years Rosa combined teaching and her role as a senior administrator at the Fundación Ortega-Marañón in Toledo, Spain. At the Foundation, Rosa directed and, in many cases created, programs for the University of Minnesota, Notre Dame, Princeton, Ohio State, Arcadia, and the University of Chicago. She has also been a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota, University of Portland, and Interamericana de Puerto Rico.

Beginning in 2016, Rosa works as an international education consultant for both public and private European and US higher education institutions. Rosa has been successful in developing new partnerships and programs, as well as helping improve already existing ones.

Rosa is a member of Forum and NAFSA and has presented with higher education professionals on innovative academic and research programming, STEM in study abroad and Nationalism in Europe. Rosa is currently completing the final Professional Certification from the Forum on Education Abroad.