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JMU selected for U.S.-Japan COIL Initiative


The American Council on Education announced today that James Madison University was named one of six U.S. colleges and universities chosen to be a part of the U.S.-Japan COIL Initiative, which aims to expand U.S.-Japan higher education ties through collaborative online international learning, a method of linking faculty and students in two countries for shared teaching and learning using online communication.

JMU and DePaul University, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Ohio’s Sinclair Community College, City University of New York College of Staten Island and Northern Arizona University will each partner with a Japanese higher-education institution to develop, deliver and assess COIL courses to be offered in 2019.

“We are very pleased to be selected for this collaborative endeavor between the U.S. and Japan as it is highly congruent with JMU’s vision to engage with ideas and the world.  The COIL Initiative is a direct result of connections made with Kansai University through the Summit Series on the globally sustainable self, and it adds to our expanding portfolio of partnerships in Japan, including with Hiroshima and Ristumeikan universities, among others. Clearly, JMU’s long-term commitment to international engagement is further realized by this project,” said JMU President Jonathan R. Alger.      

JMU and faculty from Kansai University in Osaka, Japan, will collaborate to develop joint syllabi and students in the two countries will then work together to complete assignments that meet shared learning objectives.

JMU will send a three-member team to participate in a workshop alongside other U.S. and Japanese teams in Washington, D.C., Oct. 24-26. 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. Students who attend community colleges, small private, large public or other types of institutions deserve access to global perspectives,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell.

Originally developed and disseminated by The State University of New York’s 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 initiative 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.

Follow along with JMU’s progress under the hashtag #USJPCOIL. With questions about the initiative, please email


The U.S.-Japan COIL Initiative 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​.


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 over 1,700 college and university presidents and related associations. For more information, visit or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.

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Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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