Monday, August 22, 2016

Preparing for life by studying religion

One of the topics not often discussed in U.S. universities is the importance of religious understanding and tolerance. William "Chip" Gruen makes the case that study of world religions has become more important asserting that the "Study of the variety of religious traditions around the world makes it abundantly clear that different people operate under different assumptions about the way the world works. To understand their actions, we must also understand their motivations." Perhaps the place to learn about other religions is in the classroom but many students learn more from late night "bull sessions" where different perspectives are explored among friends.

UK universities final push to recruit students

United Kingdom universities are turning to social media to close the deal on admissions to their programs. "Getting Creative with Clearing" provides links to several videos that reflect interesting variations in the approach each takes to distinguish itself from others. It might be of particular interest to international educators to see how the holistic experience of students is portrayed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Canadian university withdrawing from campus in Saudi Arabia

Algonquin College of Ontario began three academic programs at an all-male campus in Saudi Arabia three years ago but has now determined that they will turn the initiative back to its Saudi operator. While details on the withdrawal are not available due to negotiations with Saudi Arabia on the withdrawal, the reports focus on financial viability as well as human rights concerns. An earlier report also reflected concerns that "it has become clear that the students applying to AC-Jazan do not have the academic and social preparedness for which our academic programs were contractually designed."

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Investment in higher education pays

In justifying the expansion and improved quality of higher education, return on investment is a frequent question. A new study referenced in Inside Higher Education indicates that, indeed, it pays. The investment has to be seen in the long-term but the study indicates that enhancing human capital and innovation will be the result.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Stress and student success

An article by Karen Costa, an adjunct professor working out of Massachusetts, addresses the issue of stress in students' lives with the apparent primary target of U.S. domestic students. Costa's views were partially informed by Medina's (2014) warning that our brains don't function as well when we are subjected to debilitating stress. If we want students to succeed, Costa recommends that educators take a more careful look at how to help students become more comfortable with their learning community and resilient in the face of intellectual and personal challenge.

Costa does not address the stress that may be different for international students studying in the U.S. or U.S. students studying abroad. However, it doesn't take much to sort out the variables that might cause more stress or make it more difficult to handle - cultural difference, language, family expectation, learning style, support system, and the presence of advocates for their learning. This article raises many important points that should be considered by international educators seeking to enrich student learning and achieve broader success for all.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Changes in faculty hiring procedure at University of Hong Kong

Controversy is emerging from changes proposed at the University of Hong Kong related to faculty hiring. Critics view the move to centralize decisions on faculty hiring to two administrators as autocratic and undermining faculty authority.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Student affairs in the U.K.

A short essay by Eric Stoller for Inside Higher Education supports the increasing professionalization of student affairs work in the U.K. Beyond Stoller's advocacy, there is a lot of evidence of the good work being done by student services/affairs staff in U.K. institutions. One specific example is the work of Andrew West and his colleagues at the University of Sheffield. The work at Sheffield is one example of finely focused and effective work supporting "care leavers" (students who have been in the U.K. state/foster care system) as they seek college degrees. This work is one of the chapters included in the upcoming release, Enhancing Student Learning and Development in Cross-Border Higher Education (Robers & Komives, Eds., 2016). Watch for the release of this book in October 2016; it includes practice examples from around the world.