Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Media and how they see Student Affairs

I was invited to a roundtable discussion hosted by the New York Times/International Herald Tribune yesterday which included about 20 higher education administrative staff who work in Qatar.  The invitation noted that the meeting would include, "Don Guttenplan, the London-based International Education reporter for the IHT and The New York Times, who, with the participation of ThomsonReuters correspondents in Doha, will lead discussions on the current opportunities and challenges in higher education in the region."  As participants waited for the meeting to begin, I spoke informally with two of the NYT/IHT staff who noted that they had just completed the same type of meeting in Dubai the previous day.  Out of curiosity, I asked what kind of issues emerged in the Dubai discussion and was told that the most prominent message was that Dubai higher education claimed to be offering the full "student experience."  I asked what "student experience" meant and the response was, "The social life of the city, bars, clubs, etc."  WOW!

You could have scraped me off the ceiling.  After I regained my composure, I indicated that bars and clubs were certainly not what Hamad bin Khalifa University and our university partners were about and then I went on to extol the benefits of wholistic student engagement advocated in the American model.  The staffers, one Greek and the other British, seemed to only vaguely understand what I was saying as I desperately attempted to explain the research and theory building around issues of student involvement and development and its deeper impact on the "student experience."

Encounters like yesterday continue to amaze me.  I wonder if those involved in the Dubai meeting actually said what was reported.  Or, was it the lens of the NYT/IHT staff who come out of European educational tradition and have never experienced serious student engagement?  We have a lot of work to do in articulating what we do, the importance of it to the educational enterprise, and differentiating the role of student affairs as a serious endeavor in the emerging international higher education community!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Penn's new global strategy

Another institution, this time one of the elite Ivy League, is launching its "Global Strategy" with a commitment to enhancing its global presence through a variety of means including an annual research focus.  The "global solutions program," will involve world leaders and faculty experts in taking on a new problem every year.  Interesting that when asked about the possibilities of establishing a branch campus, Penn's first Vice Provost for Global Affairs, Ezekial Emanuel commented,"That's a crazy idea, we're in the education business. We're not in the real estate business."

With all due respect, isn't it amazing that an elite university in Pennsylvania can convene "world leaders and faculty experts" who will solve the world's problems from afar on a one-year project basis.  And isn't it fascinating that Emanuel equates branch campuses to real estate investments?  Pardon my cynicism because I am sure that Penn will offer something of substance.  The report of their "Global Strategy" unfortunately trivializes both their and others' efforts to internationalize and global higher education.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

FIU - accenting the "I" for International

One of the dilemmas of preparing university graduates for the global world in which they live is offering broad access to students from various socio-economic levels.  Florida INTERNATIONAL University, an institution that has long served a high proportion of Hispanic students, many of them with lower ability to pay for such "add-ons" as study abroad, has initiated a global component to their curriculum.  Part of the strategy includes offering opportunities for student affairs staff to gain a fuller understanding of what is involved in being "global" as well as an assessment strategy to determine if FIU's efforts are working:

"...professional development workshops for faculty and student affairs staff and is working to increase the number and awareness of co-curricular activities that relate to global themes. The office also coordinates assessment: in addition to collecting data from the embedded course assessments, it is using the Global Perspective Inventory and an internally designed Case Response Assessment (CRA) to determine levels of global awareness, perspective and engagement among entering freshmen and transfer students and departing seniors."

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/02/20/florida-international-university-attempts-infuse-global-learning-across-curriculum#ixzz2LR14NWEr

Inside Higher Ed

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Berkeley - Center for Studies in Higher Education

The Berkeley Center for Studies in Higher Education is conducting research on globalization and its impact on higher education.  Links to select published works are available that could be useful in thinking about, and refining, cross-border education initiatives.