AIEA Peer-Learning Circles

Peer Learning Circles - photo of a group of SIOs discussing at a round table

Program Description | Expectations for Participants |  Registration | Meeting | Tools | Timeline

Program Description

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, AIEA has heard from members a desire to connect with peers who are leading comprehensive internationalization at similar institution types, in smaller groups, or to connect around similar topics of interest. While there are several mentoring programs at AIEA, AIEA Peer-Learning Circles, is a new and unique program that recognizes that all senior leaders are experts with insights and knowledge to share. The goal of this program is to connect members with each other in smaller groups to benefit from the collective experiences of AIEA members navigating these unprecedented times.

Participants will be matched with a group of 4-6 other senior internationalization leaders in a small group for a four-month period of time, starting in May 2023. The expectation is that this group meets monthly to discuss best practices, challenges, brainstorm ideas, and share resources around new challenges related to internationalization. Each group will have a designated logistics person who coordinates scheduling and logistics for these meetings (which can be either phone calls or virtually online). This designated person will also be asked to share emerging best practices and resources as appropriate to the wider AIEA community via a brief summary to be completed at the end of the program and send to the AIEA Secretariat. There is no formal curriculum for these groups, though an outline and some questions for consideration are provided below. It is recommended that there be one designated logistics person for the duration of the 4-month period if at all possible.

While the COVID-19 situation is a catalyst for these small networking groups, the program may continue beyond the current climate as a networking and peer-learning tool for members.

The AIEA Peer-Learning Circles program offers three different types of groups: 

-Small groups with those of a similar institutional type
-Small groups by geographic location
-Small groups by key issue or topic area identified as an area of concern

While the AIEA Secretariat hopes to place you in a group based on your preference, it may not always be possible to form groups based on your first choice.

Expectations for Participants:

- A commitment to monthly calls/meetings for four months and active participation in the group throughout that time period
-A commitment to filling out a survey after two months and at the end of the program
-Working together to share any best practices, insights, or resources that come out of your calls with the greater AIEA community

Logistics coordinator expectations (this is recommended to be the same person throughout the 4 month period): Serve as point person to the AIEA Secretariat with any questions or concerns; remind participants to fill out the 2 surveys; coordinate scheduling for the circle; coordinate compilation of best-practices or resources by completing a brief summary at the end of the program and sending to the AIEA Secretariat ([email protected] )  

*Peer-Learning Circles Best Practices for Logistic Coordinator


*Registration has closed for the Spring 2023 Cohort

-When registration for the AIEA Peer-Learning Circles opens, a special link will be sent to all current AIEA members through the AIEA members-only listserv. Please email [email protected] if you dont receive this link after registration opens. 

-Please indicate on your registration whether you are willing to serve as the logistics coordinator for your group on the registration form

*Note: If your group stops functioning for some reason during the 4-month period, please contact the AIEA Secretariat at [email protected].  


We recommend meeting at least monthly on Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, Whatsapp, Microsoft Teams, or using a conference line. If your group has trouble with these options, please contact the AIEA Secretariat for suggestions; however, it is up to each group to facilitate these connection logistics.
*Helpful tools to organize your virtual meeting- Tech Tools for Virtual Meetings

Potential outline and discussion questions for each meeting include the following (circles are welcome to develop their own outlines/discussion questions): 

Meeting One (in May):
-Introductions, including a brief description of the most pressing issues at your institution

-Goals: what is each participant hoping to achieve or get from these meetings?

Brief discussion around pressing issues and/or sharing of resources, insights, and best practices.
- If no topics of interest come up in conversation, some that have been mentioned in the May 2020 survey of members include:

  • Alternative funding models for internationalization; working with current budget deficits  
  • Decision-making for fall/spring semesters: how are SIOs determining accepting international students/scholars or sending students abroad?
  • Advocating for internationalization with upper administration: strategies and techniques, use of data, etc.
  • Motivating international office staff among layoffs and furloughs; leading from afar if social distancing is dictating working from home.
  • Supporting international students
  • Virtual exchange and global learning without physical mobility: models and strategies
  • Medium and long-term: what are the takeaways for international education, and what are we doing to future-proof global learning initiatives for students?

-Discussion stemming from goals

-Logistics: setting dates/times for future calls

Meeting Two (in June):

-Check-in from previous conversations; any progress on reaching goals discussed initially?

-Continued sharing of best practices, lessons learned, insights, and resources in leading internationalization during these challenging times

-Determine topics you’d like to discuss next month; consider sharing possible articles in advance related to the topic

-Reminder: Complete 2-month survey (individually)

Meeting Three (in July):

-Check-in from previous conversations; any progress on reaching goals discussed initially?

-Discuss any pre-determined topics from the previous month conversation

-Looking ahead:  What are you anticipating for the spring semester?

-Continued sharing of best practices, lessons learned, insights, and resources in leading internationalization during these challenging times

-Determine topics you’d like to discuss; consider sharing possible articles in advance related to the topic

Meeting Four (in August):

-Check-in from previous conversations

-Re-visit initial goals from the previous month conversation – any updates?

-Discuss any pre-determined topics from the previous month's conversation

-Discuss the key take-aways from this group over the last four months

-Discuss action steps you’ll take moving forward – immediate action steps, and steps you’ll take within the next month

-Consider putting together an AIEA publication or resource if applicable with lessons learned.

-In the last few minutes, take turns completing one of these sentences:

  • I appreciate…..
  • I have learned ….. 
  • I was surprised….   
  • I wonder….
  • I used to think…. and now I think….

-Plan to say a goodbye (and maybe develop a plan to keep in touch)

Timeline for Cohort 7 of AIEA Peer-Learning Circles:

April 14th: Registration Deadline
by April 21, 2023: Groups will be formed and an introductory email sent to all members
May 1- August 31: Groups will meet on a monthly basis
July 7, 2023:  First survey will be sent to all participants
July 14, 2023: First survey due
September 5, 2023: Final survey will be sent to all participants
September 12, 2023: Final survey due