As we reflect on the past year, it's with a sense of pride that we share the milestones and innovations that have marked our journey. Our global community has blossomed to encompass over 1,500 members, including just over 600 universities and nearly 900 schools across 121 countries. It's a testament to our shared commitment to fostering healthy, intercultural competent global citizens through high-quality international education.
The launch of a significant new safeguarding resource
A notable milestone in how we support schools was the launch of the CIS Safeguarding Toolkit. The toolkit is a developmental tool to help CIS member schools monitor current practices, understand opportunities for development and growth, track progress, and create a common understanding with school communities on how a school safeguards the students in their care. The toolkit will support a school at any stage of development to improve and manage safeguarding in a school. Members can learn more about the CIS Safeguarding Toolkit in the CIS Community portal and watch a 3-minute video from Jane Larsson, Executive Director and Katie Rigg, Director of Higher Education Services & Student Well-being.
‘I wish I had this years ago!!’
—Safeguarding Lead at a CIS member school
Welcoming online schools to CIS membership
We have expanded our school membership to bring online schools into the CIS membership community. We’ve been rigorous in adapting our membership process to support an inclusive community and recognize new educational models. Online schools can also undertake development via CIS International Accreditation.
‘Whilst the value of virtual learning was certainly highlighted during the pandemic, the purpose of online schools is to provide high quality, uninterrupted learning to students regardless of their personal contexts and geographical realities.
We welcome online schools to CIS.’
—Olivia Roth, Director of School Evaluation & Development Services
Providing strategic focus and choice in accreditation
CIS International Accreditation provides a rigorous evaluation against internationally agreed standards, using a blend of support and challenge focused on a school’s development. To support schools as they continue to evolve and improve, we’ve introduced an alternative pathway for reaccreditation.
Schools can choose Pathway 1 or Pathway 2 based on their unique needs. When schools choose the new Pathway 2, they will complete school improvement projects with a deep dive focus on one of the following CIS International Accreditation drivers: learning & teaching, well-being, or global citizenship.
The alternative pathway supports a school’s strategic priorities by focusing on specific areas of school improvement, providing them with a choice to drive change intrinsically in alignment with CIS standards.
The key to success for schools using Pathway 2 lies in selecting ambitious yet achievable projects that align with the school's strategic goals and have a measurable impact on learning outcomes or student experiences. The Future Aspirations questions from the CIS International Accreditation framework underpin these projects.
'A great strength in terms of student well-being here at our school is that it's been part of our strategic plan, our road map, for at least three years. That led to some tremendous growth and the great programmes we've implemented and continue to work on. Currently, we are at the beginning of our CIS reaccreditation. We have elected to pursue Pathway 2, a deep dive into the whole idea of well-being. It offers the opportunity to build on the work already identified in our strategic plans and go really deeply on four projects.’
—CIS member school leader
‘My biggest takeaway [from Pathway 2 training] was a real sense that CIS is a progressive organization that is not happy to rest in its own success. This opportunity for established schools to gain reaccreditation through innovative projects is brilliant. I was thrilled to learn more about this and am looking forward to being a part of many Pathway 2 teams. And I can't wait until my own school has the opportunity to participate.’
A new fellowship to advance inclusion via diversity, equity, and anti-racism (I-DEA)
How do we ensure that our commitment to inclusion via diversity, equity, and anti-racism (I-DEA) is continually evidenced? The creation of a CIS Fellowship represents our resolve to truly live our organizational value to ‘embrace ideas, cultures, and connections from every corner of the world, making different views and opinions a source of inspiration that enrich every member of our community.’ The Fellow and the CIS Global Team are learning from each other as we advance our understanding and implementation of I-DEA principles in alignment with our vision to develop socially responsible leadership through international education.
‘Our ultimate goal is to develop as a more diverse group of socially responsible leaders through international education. I’ll be exploring how we all at CIS are upholding our Code of Ethics individually and collectively, and how we are living the values of inclusion via diversity, equity, and anti-racism (I-DEA) through our organizational practices. To do this, we’ll embrace reciprocal learning opportunities across the CIS Global Team—including at the Board level—so we can examine our effectiveness and share insights.’
—Dr Nneka Johnson, CIS Fellow & International Advisor
Learn more from Nneka’s first two posts in this new CIS I-DEA Fellowship role: How do we uphold our Code of Ethics individually and collectively at CIS? and Striving to live our CIS vision of socially responsible leadership.
Strengthening global connections
The excitement was high as members gathered in person at the 2023 CIS Global Forum in record numbers, eager to reconnect.
Dublin was the host city for our 2023 Global Forum on International Higher Education Admission & Guidance. We were delighted to welcome over 850 participants from member schools and universities. The positive feedback is a vibrant testament to the power of collaboration and networking in our global community.
Our members led a rich array of sessions, including 'The AI Revolution: Navigating the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Education and University Admissions', 'What does the US Supreme Court's decision mean for our work?', 'Deep dive into preparing students with learning differences for university' and 'How to create and measure an effective transitions-care program for your students entering higher education.'
A definite highlight was the opening keynote by Katrice Horsley, who spoke about the power of stories. Katrice helped attendees recognize and reshape deep-seated narratives that can negatively affect our sense of worth and well-being.
Read more about members of our community who were recognized this year by their peers as the recipients of the CIS Higher Education awards.
‘I left the forum feeling rather invigorated to tackle aspects that need attention at our campus. The very much high-quality content and professionalism at the forum are hard to match by other organizations. Thank you!’
—CIS Global Forum participant 2023
Early findings from our global study of pedagogy
Following a year of insightful exploration, the CIS Pedagogy Research findings shine a light on the dynamic processes schools employ to choose, teach and appraise curricula. Collaborating with the Jacobs Foundation, the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER UK), and the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, we are now entering the final stage of this project.
Our research explores how schools select, adopt, plan, implement and evaluate pedagogies, what factors lead to changes in practice, and how and where schools access evidence to make decisions. The early findings highlight a consensus on prioritizing student pathways, the transformative power of professional learning and inclusive, equitable approaches.
We'll share more about our findings in 2024 as we develop a new open-source tool as a resource for decision-making.
‘High-quality, relevant learning is the heart of CIS schools’ values. Project participants have made it clear that choices about learning often come down to competing priorities and community perspectives. Our hope is that this project will guide school leaders to identify relevant and effective approaches to pedagogical change in order to ensure that student voices are centered in this process.’
—Mary Powell, School Support & Evaluation Officer
Enriching our evaluator community
CIS member schools seeking accreditation are fortunate to benefit from the time and experience of 1,781 dedicated volunteers in our evaluator community. These are the people who embrace the peer model of school evaluation to advance international education across the community. 267 new volunteers successfully completed the CIS evaluator 4-week online training course—each will achieve evaluator status after their first CIS school visit. Many evaluators participated in ongoing training to enhance their skills during 2023—training is delivered by our team and reflects our commitment to continuously maintaining the highest standards in international education. By the end of 2023, 102 schools, with the support of 575 volunteer evaluators, will have collaborated to review practices and discuss improvements to support the schools' journey to complete CIS International Accreditation.
‘CIS is showing a keen interest in the professional development of its accreditation volunteers, recognizing the importance of their contributions. It also shows it cares, conveys empathy and is serious about keeping up with the evolutionary changes in education. Well done CIS.'
Learning via new perspectives on our global team
We were delighted to welcome 14 new members to our CIS Global Team in 2023. They bring a wealth of expertise and knowledge to our work and are already instrumental in supporting our members. And we were sad to wave a fond farewell to team members who left CIS due to retirement, relocation, and new opportunities—we thank them for their contributions to our community and the field of international education.
As we look back on 2023, we are filled with gratitude for the dedication and passion within our global community. Each milestone represents a step forward in our journey as we create a more inclusive, innovative, and impactful global educational landscape. Here's to another year of making a difference together!
- Child protection
- Diversity (I-DEA)
- International accreditation
- Research & data
- University admission & guidance