Monday, December 10, 2012

Branch campuses as contribution or exploitation?

I recently read Farrugia and Lane’s "Legitimacy in Cross-Border Higher Education: Identifying Stakeholders of International Branch Campuses" (Farrugia and Lane, Journal of Students in International Education, 2012, Sage Publications, DOI: 10.1177/1028315312363279).  I was more than a little bemused by the finding that on-line mission statements of branch campuses indicates that the donor campuses are primarily using the branch to legitimize their position of “global” influence and that few of the statements even reference responsiveness and service to the host country.  A particularly telling statement from the article indicates, “Although stakeholders in the home country environment may not evaluate branch campus legitimacy on the basis of service to host country needs, host country stakeholders may use this as the primary criteria on which they base their evaluations of the IBC legitimacy.”

If donor institutions are using the international branch campus to extend and legitimize their brands, while the purpose of the host country is to build capacity related to local and regional needs, how are these two divergent views to be aligned?  One approach to this is to not allow differing motivations to result in zero-sum interactions.  Instead, could donor aspirations to spread their global influence and legitimize themselves as international players be reformulated in ways to insist on a depth of commitment in serving the host needs?  From my perspective, and seeking to serve the vision of Qatar as host to its partner universities, I see alignment of motivations as essential to sustainable and productive relationships.  The impact of alignment could then be seen in such things as enrollment mix, adaptation of classroom pedagogy and content, research agenda of faculty, and a number of others things that would serve both donor and host.

New resource on internationalization/globalization of Higher Education

A new resource that is reviewed in the Review of Higher Education could be of interest to those following the emergence of a connected, international, and global higher education community.  Different strategies to bring international exposure to campus are described, offering the reader a picture of the possible futures for us all.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Controversy over Yale in Singapore - AAUP joins in

The AAUP issued a letter of concern regarding Yale University's plan to establish a program in Singapore.  The essence of the question is summarized in a recent Inside Higher Education piece.  For those interested in international higher education and establishing branches of western universities in other cultural and political contexts, it is important to understand the trade-offs, opportunities, and evolution of freedom to learn around the world.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hamad bin Khalifa University Student Center - model for the GCC

A recent Arab News article singled out the Hamad bin Khalifa University's Student Center as an example of what is needed in the region to enhance students' experience.  It's great to see that the idea is perhaps catching on; our hope at Qatar Foundation is that this is one more way we've made a difference for Qatar and the region.