Tips for managing the international office of your university

Have you recently started working in a managing position in an international office? Then you are undoubtedly faced with many challenges and issues: interesting ones and annoying ones. You will of course be competent enough to cope with the majority of these challenges yourself. However, there is always one issue that keeps on returning on your desk, that continues to chase you during the day or perhaps haunt you during the night. It could be related to strategy, organisation models, managing people, finance, time management, communication etc, perhaps even one of the following:


  • My rector is not interested in internationalisation. How do I still gain his support?
  • One of my staff members is ill for a long period, and I do not get a replacement. Help!
  • One of my staff members is not motivated, underperforms and is counting his days for his retirement. How do I bring back some enthusiasm?
  • I do not get enough money to achieve the objectives they expect me to achieve. What can I do?
  • My management plans to mainstream internationalisation, which means breaking up my international office and scattering its bits and pieces all around the university. How do I stop them?
  • My boss does not understand me, and does not want to listen. How do I catch the attention that I deserve?
  • I create glossy folders, send weekly e-newsletters, tweet like crazy and administer an International Office Facebook account. And still the departments do not notice us.
  • Yesterday the focus was on research partnerships in China, today we should put all priority on recruiting master students; and I was just informed that our future is solely dependent on the development of an International Summer School. How do I create one, long lasting, international strategy?


Do you recognise yourself in any of these dilemmas? Yes? The bad news is: this comes with the job of International Relations Manager, there is not much you can do about it. The good news is: there is help at hand, called ‘peer consulting’.