Northern Arizona University selected for international learning collaboration with Japan

Kyushu University Japan

International education at Northern Arizona University just got a little farther away—and simultaneously, a little closer to home.

NAU’s Interdisciplinary Global Programs (IGP), is one of six U.S. institutions of higher education chosen to be part of the U.S.-Japan COIL Initiative, which aims to expand U.S.-Japan higher education ties through collaborative online international learning (COIL), a method of linking faculty and students in two countries for shared teaching and learning using online communication.

Faculty members from NAU and Kyushu University will collaborate to develop a joint syllabus for science COIL courses to be offered in 2019, and students in the two countries will then work together to complete assignments that meet shared learning objectives.

“This COIL grant represents an important step to further our ongoing campus internationalization and global engagement,” said Daniel Palm, associate vice president for global initiatives at NAU. “The combination of technology and curriculum collaboration with Kyushu University provides a unique opportunity to strengthen our educational systems with the purpose of preparing globally competent graduates, both in the U.S. and Japan, who will inspire and lead within a diverse, interconnected and global environment.”

NAU will send a three-member team to participate in a workshop alongside other U.S. and Japanese teams Oct. 24-26 in Washington, D.C. on Once the COIL courses are underway during the 2019 semester, representatives from ACE and invited experts will visit campus to provide additional support and monitor progress.

“An indispensable aspect of the selection process was that the six schools represented the vast diversity of U.S. higher education,” ACE President Ted Mitchell said. “Students who attend community colleges, small private, large public or other types of institutions deserve access to global perspectives.”

Originally developed and disseminated by The State University of New York’s (SUNY) COIL Center and often referred to as virtual exchange, COIL is a cost-effective, accessible method for delivering global learning and intercultural experiences to greater numbers of U.S. students. ACE will work with the SUNY COIL Center to provide professional development and support to the U.S. institutional teams selected for the initiative.

The U.S.-Japan COIL Initiative, which is supported through a grant from the U.S. Embassy Tokyo and coordinated in partnership with Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, is designed to test the idea that students who participate in COIL courses will increase their understanding of the partner country, sharpen their cultural competency skills and become better prepared for in-person education exchanges. If successful, ACE aims to expand the program to include additional U.S. and Japanese partner institutions.

About ACE

ACE is a membership organization that mobilizes the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. As the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, ACE represents more than 1,700 college and university presidents and related associations. For more information, please visit or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.


NAU Communications