Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mumbai University to explore education partnerships

The Vice Chancellor of Mumbai University announced that a world tour is planned to establish partnerships in other countries. Staring with the United States, Vice Chancellor Deshmukh commented, "We can partner with eminent Indians working abroad for degree courses. We may also hold joint degree programmes with existing universities or take over an existing university."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Trying to understand "This Brave New World"

There's nothing subjective about it... Regardless of the widely held perception that Western countries sit atop the world's heap in regard to higher education, the future most likely is in Asia. By virtue of numbers alone, China and India now provide the greatest growth opportunities for those educators who want to be part of change and expansion. This Brave New World (book review by Joshua Kim) could be a helpful resource for those who want more background on what the dynamics are like in these two important countries.

Some educators may believe that we can pass on informing ourselves about China, India, and many other nations. However, it makes little difference that we may never set foot in these countries. If a significant future for our work will take place in, and will need to relate to, China and India, it's time we begin to inform ourselves.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Academic freedom questions in the Arabian Gulf states

With academic freedom as one of the major cornerstones of its learning community, any compromise of this value can be incendiary. After previously being barred from Abu Dhabi, a graduate student now enrolled in Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service sought to continue her research on migrant worker conditions in Qatar. However, Qatar immigration officials denied her visa when she tried to enter the country to conduct research.

Having personally experienced bureaucratic processes in the Gulf states, it is quite possible that the visa was denied simply to be consistent with other Gulf countries (the UAE in this case). It could be more significant and that's what becomes difficult - working through the bureaucracy to find someone courageous enough to take a stance that might draw public criticism. The more effective way of resolving issues like this is to stay calm and quiet and work behind the scenes to achieve resolution. Politicizing the issue and risking the potential of someone losing face is generally not the way to go.

Opposing Global Citizenship

Who could oppose higher education striving to develop global citizenship among its students? The two newly elected leaders of the countries that host the most international students of all the nations in the world - that's who!

While many universities around the world advocate and work toward preparing their graduates to be global citizens, there are powerful forces at play that oppose this move. Two specific forces sit in very high office - U.S.A. President-Elect Trump and U.K. Prime Minister May. Elizabeth Redden's essay "No certificate of global citizenship" identifies one of the shortcomings of those who resist the idea of global citizenship being the binary of the argument. In Trump's words from a recent Cincinnati, Ohio, rally, "There is no global anthem, no global currency, no certificate of global citizenship. We pledge allegiance to one flag and that flag is the American flag." Or in May's pronouncement, "If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere; you don't understand what the very word 'citizenship' means."

The binary of "you are either a citizen of this nation or of the world" is a false dichotomy to which many of us in higher education have contributed by not defining our terms. The first way we have contributed is by not differentiating 'international' versus 'global.' Enhancing Student Learning and Development in Cross-Border Higher Education argues that the terms are different with 'international' education relating to deepening awareness, empathy, and respectful understanding of other nations and cultures where 'globalization' is about trade, economies, and the resulting political imbalances of our world. If you study their pronouncements, both Trump and May are talking about globalization as a trade and economic issue. Secondly, the dichotomy of national versus international is unnecessary and denies the reality of the world that is emerging in our shared life experience. Students needn't dedicate themselves to their own passport country (or country of residence) OR to the welfare of the broader world community we inhabit. Students' commitment and effectiveness in doing both should be the goal.

Redden's essay offers an important warning to those of us who value holistic student development and who seek to prepare students more adequately for the world in which they live. Heeding the warning and more carefully defining terms in ways that don't play into political agendas is critical to our effectiveness moving forward.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Bridges to India and China

Following the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, a number of students and educators have tried to find ways to continue to draw academic talent to British institutions. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) recently released reports on Bridges to the Future, one focused on China and another on India. Politics needn't undermine capacity building and educational partnerships, especially when businesses and universities work together.

Developing True Global Citizens

The language of developing global citizens is often used when universities describe the purpose of their internationalization efforts. Jason Patent of UC Berkley offers some advice on how campuses can integrate an international perspective into students' learning without it becoming a threat that closes down curiosity and growing awareness.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Racing to capture international student revenue

Hans DeWitt weighed in on the growing international student market, numbering 5 million at present and expected to reach 8 million within another decade. The numbers indicate an obvious motivation for many institutions -revenue. DeWitt's brief summary links to several other reports on international student trends and concludes with the admonition that "the priorities must be the best interests of the students, the quality of education, and a commitment to the public good. Any other approach is neither sustainable nor wise."

Inside Higher Education cited a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research indicating that public funding cuts in the U.S.A. are in direct proportion to increases in international student enrollment. The report said, "A very small number of universities have a capacity to draw in sizable numbers of domestic out-of-state students" which leads to the largest international student increases unfolding at institutions that primarily serve in-state students.

When public institutions admit privileged international students who have the ability to pay high fees, they may be creating another level of classism on campus. An expectation of special treatment may accompany the higher socio-economic status of some international students, a dynamic that may further divide students among themselves.

Increasing the number of international students should be considered not only for its economic impact in balancing budgets but also for the impact that these increasing numbers can have on campus culture and learning.