Saturday, November 17, 2012

Spread of branch campuses

It's interesting to see where branch campuses are being established, especially when you look at the donor and recipient dynamics of Western institutions to Eastern locations reflected in this map.  Another interesting comparison is the types of institutions that are serving as donors.  Looking at this list, it would be fascinating to analyze the motivations behind each relationship.

I attended the recent WISE conference in Doha, with over 1,000 educators and policy makers present from around the world.  Much of the conversation was focused on how to make sure that all children have access to education.  There are a reported 61,000,000 children who don't even have access to a basic primary education due to poverty, conflict, or neglect.  Two of the primary issues touted as having the potential to invite more young people into education were technology and experience-based learning.  These two are the potential great levelers of educational opportunity.

It will be interesting to see how branch campuses open opportunity for tertiary education across borders.  Will student affairs be part of the conversation?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

South Korea's expansion of U.S. higher education

Inside Higher Education carried an interesting piece on South Korea's expansion of higher education by hosting U.S.A. branches - particularly George Mason University whose branch in the United Arab Emirates recently failed.  The question is how these campuses will reflect student affairs practices and if the South Korean government has any idea that students affairs is an important part of the U.S. higher education model.

The George Mason University faculty vote supported trying it again in South Korean on the conditions that 1) the academic offerings be comparable to those in Virginia and 2) that the branch campus be self-support from a finance perspective.  These two conditions reflect an interesting naivete about what branch campuses can be.  First of all, it is naive to think that the home campus will not have to invest at least time and effort in support of the South Korean campus; it would be inappropriate for there not to be ongoing talent investment in the branch.  Second, the financial question reflects a lack of awareness that branch campuses can bring great value to U.S.A. universities other than just cash flow.  All the U.S. universities with international branch campuses are bursting on the global stage as leaders and innovators and they are serving a critical diplomatic role for their institutions and the U.S.A.  To look at international higher education as only a commodity to balance cheapens what U.S.A. institutions have to offer and to gain.