Thursday, July 12, 2018

International graduates seek work experience

Higher education in the U.S. is coveted among students world-wide. Coupled with that, and perhaps equally as attractive, is pursuing work in the U.S. after graduation. This desire isn't necessarily for long-term employment but primarily for job training with U.S. entities that demonstrate best practices in a variety of field.s

International graduates who want to stay for training and employment in the U.S. may be well-advised to consult an immigration attorney to make sure they do what needs to be done and maximize their chances of approval. Leslie Dellon, an attorney at the American Immigration Council, advises, "The immigration system is not a crossword puzzle. It's risky to not get a consultation."

Employers may also want to consider the value of hiring international graduates since they represent some of the best talent the world has to offer. Rather than leave it to the prospective international employee, assistance from those in charge of hiring could be a simple way to increase the talent pool and secure a loyal employee.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

China's shifting higher education landscape

As countries around the world develop their own capacity to provide quality higher education opportunity and as the evidence emerges regarding what is useful and not so useful, the landscape for relationships is bound to shift. Such is the case in China as the Ministry of Education terminates more than 200 cooperative programs.

The terminations are across a variety of academic areas and involve several countries. The U.S. cooperative programs that will be eliminated number a little more than two dozen and the U.S. is fourth on the list in relation to number of terminations behind the U.K., Australia, and Russia.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Saudia Arabia's investment in education and research

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has been very visible lately, touring the U.S.A. to promote his commitment to progressive change. He befriended Donald Trump early in his presidency and managed to con Jared Kushner and Trump into seeing Qatar as a terrorist state. Fortunate for all, that didn't work.

Saudia Arabia has been investing in education for some time and, in fact, has scaled back its support for Saudi students to study abroad. However, part of the 2030 vision advocated by MbS includes enhancing education and research. It remains to be seen if the investment will pay off. Saudi's rentier economy has created a dependence that will be difficulty to shake. There are many young Saudis who expect the government to take care of them and this is likely to be a formidable obstacle to empowerment through education.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

India expanding and targeting international students

Joining the shared space of higher education internationalization, India has begun to chart a course of hosting increasing numbers of international students. Coined as the "Study in India" initiative, India hopes to attract students for both short-term as well as complete degree programs. Some of the countries being targeted include Nepal, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Thailand, Malaysia, Egypt, Kuwait, Iran, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Rwanda. U.S. students are part of the mix but more likely only as short-term study abroad visitors. The goal is to host as many as 200,000 students by 2023.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

1st Generation students

The topic of "First-Generation" students has been around for a while in U.S. higher education. However, it is relatively uncommon for international educators to even think of their students this way - perhaps because the proportion of first-generation students they serve is so high that recognizing and serving the group is "just what we do." I was a first generation student in the late 1960s and neither my undergraduate university (Colorado State University) nor I even recognized the dynamics I experienced.

First-generation implications are real and many of these students could benefit from understanding how they are different; institutions certainly need to think about how to serve them. Campus Labs, a higher education data collection and software company, released a report on its analysis of the difference between the 14% of first-generation students in its sample of 750,000 total students who responded to their survey. They subsequently conducted a follow up with the 29% of first-generation students in a smaller sample of 53,000.

The analysis of the 14% in the larger pool indicated that "The first-generation students outscored their peers in educational commitment, self-efficacy, academic and campus engagement. But they lagged behind multigenerational students in resiliency - or the ability for students to overcome challenging situations and stressful events - and social comfort." Of course - why? First-generation students don't have the parental coaching to know what to expect and how to handle it.

The deeper study in the smaller sample indicated that institutions should be careful that "The negative language leads to a narrative that students are unsupported" or that "assumes [first-generation] students are coming from poverty or have a lack of education." Being first-generation students shouldn't be characterized as a deficit and should, instead, be lauded for the asset of high motivation, striving, and commitment to life enhancement that they bring. This is likely even more important to U.S. institutions that have large proportions of international students or for higher education centers around the world serving growing numbers of students who may be first-generation as many baby-boomers were in the 1960s in the U.S.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Building a major

While the stereotype (true in many cases) is that international students have very specific academic majors that they wish to pursue, some seek flexibility in defining their own majors. Several examples of institutions that offer international students greater flexibility were profiled in a U.S. News & World Report article. One of the advantages of studying with U.S. institutions is more independence and responsibility in pursuing a course of study, a benefit that U.S. institutions may want to increasingly advocate in their international recruitment.

Changes required for the future

Gazing into the crystal ball can be daunting or encouraging. While some may see storm clouds on the horizon, I believe there's plenty of reason for optimism. The changes circumstances of our world are stimulating reconsideration of old approaches and encouraging innovation that will advantage those universities willing and able to respond. Reporting from the 4th International Universia Rectors meeting in Spain, Marcelo Knobel indicated, "The 21st century requires universities to get closer to society and strengthen their relations with different social groups. There is no longer a place in today's world for ivory towers unaware of the demands that emanate from around them. In order for universities to effectively contribute to social and regional development, it is crucial that they seek new idea and good practices, and be open, at the same time, to reviewing and changing their models according to the needs of society."