Thursday, May 30, 2013

FAFSA Conference program on working with students from Saudi Arabia

It's good to see that the FAFSA conference presently underway had a session on working with students from Saudi Arabia who are studying in the U.S.A.  It's disappointing to see the comment buried in the article:

The university has a newly implemented $300 per-semester sponsored student fee, charged to SACM (Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission), which it used to expand its staff and fund such initiatives.
When has any other cultural group in American higher education been taxed for services to help them be successful?  Those U.S.A. institutions who are comfortable admitting full-pay international students should expect to provide whatever assistance is necessary (without extra charge) for them to be successful.  If the response to the extra fee is that this is a service that no other students require, then what compensation is being provided to international students who add value to American institutions by diversifying and internationalizing the campus community?

Monday, May 20, 2013

International students bring more than money

A student from Pakistan provides insights on his journey in higher education and admonishes those institutions that host internationals to look at the benefits they bring beyond just balancing the budget.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Accreditation threat for not meeting Western standards

The Chronicle of Higher Education carried an article on the potential for branch campuses to lose their accreditation if they cannot guarantee the typical expectations in Western universities about academic freedom.   This is a critical issue for countries where political systems do not provide the same guarantees as the U.S.A. and elsewhere.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The difference investing in education makes...

The New York Times article,"China's ambitious goal for boom in college graduates ," includes the quote:
China is on track to match within seven years the United States’ current high school graduation rate for 18-year-olds of 75 percent — although a higher proportion of Americans than Chinese later go back and finish high school.
Those students completing high school are going on to university in dramatically increasing numbers and higher education is expanding to accommodate them.  The impact of China's investment is not only resulting in a more educated and work-prepared citizenry in China, it is attracting the attention of recruiters from other countries who are increasingly hiring Chinese graduates who can then become the bridge between Western businesses and the world's 2nd most populace country and one of the fastest growing economies.

The question is whether Chinese graduates who graduate from Chinese universities, Western-style universities popping up throughout China, or who studied in America (the largest number of international students studying in the U.S.A. are Chinese students weighing in at 194,000 in 2012) will have the insights, knowledge, and will have acquired the life skills that the best of higher education can offer.  The answer to this question is at least partially up to student affairs educators.  If U.S.A. universities take student affairs principles and practices seriously, finding ways to better respond to the needs of Chinese students, and if the export of Western educational practices to China includes serious attention to what student affairs has to offer, then Chinese students will be well served.

The NYT article goes on to describe the challenges of building the Chinese higher education system, including the difficulty of securing mature and productive scholars to teach the expanding number of students.  Only a tip is made to the importance of outside of class learning when an example is recounted of a young female student who does her studies quickly to get to what she really values - conversational English practice she learns from a student club.  Although question is raised about the relevance of student clubs, there is already a pattern among Chinese students of learning outside of class, albeit on their own and without much of a student affairs support system.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Socioeconomic class and elite university selection

Inside Higher Education covered an issue that has been a perennial problem for U.S. higher education - bright students who should have bright futures often choose less expensive universities where they may have less opportunity both during their university years and afterward.  The U.S. has notable exceptions to the criticism that socioeconomic elitism is perpetuated by "elites" attending elite private (and a few public) universities.  However, Alexandria Radford found in her research on valedictorians, that those from lower SES don't know what the elite institutions do nor do they see themselves as eligible to attend.

This is an exceptionally important issue for student affairs educators who are in international settings.  Many developing higher education systems are very eager to have elite brandnames and these institutions may have a DNA about them that is elitist and, therefore, discouraging to many students who could be capable but just don't see themselves in such settings.

The question is - What can student affairs educators do to buffer this elitism so that the emerging global higher education community does not have the same impact of perpetuating privilege that, at least by this research, has stunted the opportunity of U.S. students over the years?