Thursday, June 27, 2013

India's requirements of foreign universities

An update on India's plans to accommodate foreign universities is reported by Inside Higher Education on September 11, 2013:

The June 27 Inside Higher Education noted that India has approved requirements that foreign universities will have to meet in order to establish branches.  Aside from being non-profit and carrying a minimum account balance, an interesting requirement is that universities "would not be permitted to offer a course that, as the newspaper reported, 'adversely affects the sovereignty and integrity of India or its friendly relations with other countries.'"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

2013 OECD Education at a Glance implications

The 2013 OECD Education at a Glance report documented the positive impact on employability of receiving a university degree.  However, it also reflected a continuing decline in the proportion of young adults in the U.S.A. completing a university education (43 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds compared to the OECD average of 39 percent), resulting in it being number 12 internationally, significantly below the 64 percent figure boasted by South Korea, the world leader.

In relation to countries hosting internatinoal students for study, the U.S.A. leads with 17% of the total number of 4.3 million in 2011.  The bad news, with no policy or strategies to guide practice in hosting international students, the U.S.A. has slipped 6% from its 2000 high, with the exodus moving to Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, South Korea, and the United Kingdom in small proportional increases for each.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Humanities as a foundation for careers

"The central message must be that thriving long-term in the job market depends on developing 'qualities of mind: inquisitiveness, perceptiveness, the ability to put a received idea to a new purpose, and the ability to share and build ideas with a diverse world of others.'”
Read more:

This statement from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences reasserts the importance of the humanities and liberal arts at a time when learning in the STEM subjects and preparation for careers has reached a fever pitch.  The point is, enhancing learning in STEM and the humanities has to be a both/and conversation.  While this report focused on U.S.A. education, internatinoal educators are remiss to not consider the topic as well.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Predictions on international students' destinations

A recent ScienceGuide article combines evidence from several studies to predict increases in the number of international students who will want to study an English-language curriculum over the rest of the decade.  The countries currently contributing the largest proportion of these study-abroad students are China, India, and South Korea but other students from the Middle East and Africa are increasing as well.

Australia (2nd in line behind the U.S.A. in popularity) is poised to absorb some, Canada wants a bunch, and the UK will accept a modest number.  If the U.S.A. maintained its 18% of all international students, there will still be 265,000 students looking for a good place to study with an English-language core.  The article suggests that branch campuses may be one of the places these students will go.

The question on my mind is not only where will they go but how will they be welcomed and given the best education their resources can buy?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Kofi Annan urges educators to focus on character development

If student affairs educators ever needed a mandate and license for the work they do, Kofi Annan's remark in his keynote at the 2013 NAFSA is as good as it gets:
A good education is about the formation of character and not merely transmission of knowledge.

This kind of impact does not result from student services; it is the impact of deep engagement with students in educational and developmental initiatives.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Studies of Asian Students in Journal of College Student Development

The latest (January/February 2013) Journal of College Student Development provided two articles on Asian students and their experience. One was about Chinese students studying in the U.S.A. and the other was about Malaysian students’ experience across culture in their home country. With Asian students comprising a very large proportion of the emerging international higher education community, these articles are very welcome!

Kun Yan and David C. Berliner’s article (pp. 62-84) reported the results of a qualitative study of Chinese students in a Southwest U.S. campus. While the results may not be a surprise to those who have had the opportunity to work with Chinese students, the documentation and the conclusions are critical for all campuses to consider. The findings indicated that international students from China experience considerable stress during their study. Personal areas such as job opportunities, visa problems, pressure about dating and marriage, and the pressure of financial affairs cause the greatest difficulty. Even though Chinese students are anxious to study in the U.S., they may have underestimated the financial burden, which is only compounded by the inability to work or the further strain of having to take off-record employment that is culturally demeaning to them. Chinese students’ families urging them to find other Chinese nationals to date and perhaps marry while in the U.S. is significant for both males and females; the unfortunate dynamic is that Chinese students report that their peers are undesirable because most are so dedicated to their studies. The second category that causes stress for Chinese students is in the area of sociocultural concerns – specifically, lack of interaction with American students, language and culture deficiency, and clashes in values. Many Chinese students report having minimal contact with Americans, the lack of which results in poor progress in informal English language use as well as isolation from the “American experience.” This research article proposed a number of helpful suggestions for universities to undertake, a good portion of which is in the area of orientation and acculturation and the rest in career and work-related matters. The call is for real advocacy for Chinese students, a call being taken up by some U.S. institutions that are beginning to realize that Chinese students will be more successful and will contribute much if special services are offered to assist them.

Ezhar Tamam’s article (pp. 85-97) on interracial bridging in a multicultural university in Malaysia found that the pattern of self-segregation that can sometimes be observed on U.S. campuses also took place in the case under study – a multicultural campus of 19,000 undergraduate and 10,000 postgraduate students with a 5:3:2 ratio of Malay to Chinese to Indian students. This campus attempted to increase the multicultural interaction through a mandatory course but found after 5 years that is was not working. As a result of the study, the author recommended that, in order to increase positive multicultural interaction that contributes to building social capital, attention be placed on how students interact outside of class. Increasing the representation of minorities in student organizations and extracurricular activities were two strategies recommended as offering both interactional and structural opportunity for relationship building. This article is noteworthy in its use of research that originated in North America but was then tested in a very different cultural context. More of this kind of comparative analysis is needed.

A common issue that may be part of the dynamics described in both of the above is culturally-derived patterns of social interaction. Having recently read Susan Cain’s Quiet (2012), I began to wonder if the cultural pattern that Cain described might be influencing both the way Asian students engage while studying in the U.S. as well as when they study in their home countries or at other regional locations where high numbers of Asian and multicultural students are present. If Cane’s analysis is correct, then Asian students’ engagement with each other, with students of other cultures, and with campus itself may be exacerbated by a reluctance to initiate or stand out. Cane proposes, and perhaps your observation or experience reinforces, that Asian students are more comfortable with a collectivist feel, one where standing out and bringing attention to oneself is a negative attribute. Understanding this, how might student experiences be shaped that encourage interaction but one more focused on the group, group cohesion, and mutual contribution?