Friday, December 9, 2016

Internationalization in the curriculum

Dr. Ming Cheng asserts that internationalization of the curriculum is not working. She says, "It is high time that Western universities took concerted action to support students and academic staff to increase their intercultural awareness, for example, by increasing the quality of student learning through developing programs that are attractive to students from cultural backgrounds."

Cheng proposes that one of the key issues in failed internationalization is that Western models dominate what is taught in the classroom. This dominance goes unchallenged because many Western-trained academics do not realize how their views of the world are subjective, and privileged, in the process of learning. An issue that is not included in Cheng's analysis is that much of student learning is acquired outside of class, thus requiring concerted focus on learning that takes place throughout students' experiences.

In order to address student learning and development in substantive ways, students must be approached holistically and educational practice must be examined critically. Enhancing Student Learning and Development in Cross-Border Higher Education provides an introduction on how educators might begin this transformation process.

Saudi Arabia student numbers in U.S. fall by 19.9%

As predicted, the number of students studying in the U.S.A. from Saudia Arabia fell by 19.9% from November 2015 to 2016. Changes in policy in Saudi Arabia were credited with the drop. Perhaps there are other issues that should be considered as well - such as climate for Saudi Arabian students on college campuses, perceived return on investment, and the emerging overall political environment in the U.S.A.

Ideological focus reinforced by China's President Xi

The central importance of ideological education in Chinese higher education has been reiterated in recent years. President Xi Jimping recently asserted that "Ideological and political work is fundamentally work about individuals. The work must focus on students, caring for them, serving them, and helping them improve in ideological quality, political awareness, moral characteristics and humanistic quality to enable them to develop both ability and integrity."

Understanding what President Xi and Communist Part of China (CPC) leaders mean when they advocate for intensified ideological focus in higher education is important for institutions around the world who host Chinese international students as well as institutions/countries that now have, or are considering,  partnered programs in China. An important implication of the focus on ideology is that higher education is perceived to have a major responsibility in developing the leaders for the future in the socialist cause.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Duty to Protect higher education

As most educators would assert, higher education is a crucial resource to advance society and build capacity whether in the local community, a state, or region. Not only is higher education a resources to nurture but it is one to protect. The duty to protect higher education is outlined in a report calling for states to take the necessary steps to make sure that institutions are safe in times of political strife and potential persecution.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Do admission representatives cross the line?

In the highly lucrative international student market, the line between admission advice versus exploitation is pretty narrow. One of the specific questions raised in a Reuters article was the propriety of college admission staff accepting travel perks to go to China to advise Chinese students on the application processes for U.S. institutions. The article claims that the "advice" in some cases went as far as guidance on admission essay applications.

There are a variety of ethical concerns that come to mind:

  1. When does providing privileged or inside information to a prospective student bias the selection process in favor of those who can afford to buy the assistance?
  2. If students gain admission to an institution where their true credentials don't really qualify them, is that really a help?
  3. Does a "pay to play" scheme in gaining admission to preferred institutions benefit the institution or students? Who is the commodity under these circumstances and should either the institution or student be placed in this position?
In order to maintain the integrity of higher education, these and many other questions should be considered carefully.

Monday, November 28, 2016

ERASMUS a positive influence for EU

It is not surprising that research on those who completed a university degree and especially those who studied in other European countries as part of the ERASMUS agreement have more favorable views of Europe than those who did not. In the ERASMUS Impact Study, 88% of U.K. citizens who studied in another country reported feeling very European and 84% had a positive attitude towards Europe in contrast to the 62% of non-mobile U.K. students.

The impact of university study, especially when coupled with international exposure, is consistent with the pattern among U.S.A. citizens who voted in the recent elections for President. The difference between university graduates' view of the world has become a defining factor in the struggle between those who advocate isolation versus connection and cooperation across international borders.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Australia benefits from Brexit and prospect of Trump Presidency

The political context of a country can and does heavily impacts its attractiveness when international students consider their options. Australia is coming out on top in the face of the implications of the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the U.S.A. The impact isn't small with an average of 20% international students across Australia's higher education sector. Australia's revenues are up 8% to $20 billion ($14.8 billion USD) per year.