Thursday, February 27, 2014

Innovation and education

Higher education advocates have turned to a video explaining the landscape for innovation.  It makes the case that, if the U.S.A. doesn't invest in the infrastructure that supports innovation, it could fall dangerously behind other countries that are committing substantial resources to education and research today.  Whether you are in the U.S.A. or in a country seeking to be one of the world's innovation "players," this video is a wake-up call for all.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Higher education as preparation for work

Many Western higher education faculty and leaders have been ambivalent about students' focus on their degrees as a bridge to employment but resisting students' aspirations and dreams may no longer be possible. A recent Gallup Survey indicates that, although academic leaders believe they are preparing graduates for the workplace, only 14% of the general population and 11% of business leaders believe this is the case.

Authors such as Thomas Friedman advocate that more attention should be placed on what employers want.  Citing Google as an example, Friedman noted that the proportion of college graduates has dropped among the Google workforce and that grades and test scores, the currency of academic excellence, are irrelevant to selecting good workers and contributors. The traits mosts prized by Google include; emergent leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability, and loving to learn.

International educators will be wise to observe and sort through the debate on preparing graduates for work.  In many emerging environments, to think that a university degree is not a pathway to a job may almost seem humorous.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Contact with international students has positive impact only if intentional

Speakers at the AIEA conference challenged those attending to sttive for more intentional interaction between international and American students at U.S. campuses.  Exposure to international students can have a positive impact in reducing xenophobia and globalization anxiety but only if students engage with their classmates from around the world.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Educators seeking relationships in India need to take the long view

A new report cautions higher education institutions in the UK (but applicable to others) to take a long-view perspective when developing relationships to establish universities to meet India's goal of increasing its college-going 18% to 30% by 2020.  The 12% increase will require 14 million new seats for India's higher education sector.

Friday, February 14, 2014

UK Consortium strategy lowers cost and brings degrees to China

The Times Higher Education says that British universities are offering quality education at lower expense by joining together in a consortium of multiple branches.  The strategy allows students to study in China and in the UK (for part) receive instruction in English, and get a less expensive British degree than they would have by studying abroad, or at more expensive branches of U.S.A. institutions.  Interestingly, no mention is made of student experienc...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fundamental change needed in higher education

Whether ready or no, change is coming for higher education.  The critique is that graduation rates are not acceptable, life experience is not affirmed, and current educational practices ignore the reality that students expect higher education to prepare them for the workplace.  These issues, and more, are the challenges that educators must tackle in order to maintain relevance in the 21st century context.  The problem is, although higher education seeks to break the intellectual boundaries through research and knowledge creation, introspection about the effectiveness of its practices is rare.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Growth in student services in U.S. raises questions

A Chronicle of Higher Education article reported on a study of faculty and staff increases from 2000 to 2012 that concluded that increases in student services staff has been growing faster than faculty.  This is sure to stimulate considerable protest among faculty members at U.S. institutions and the ripples will likely reach international higher education as well.

For those engaged in international student affairs work, an area just beginning to gain some credibility, the push back from the U.S. could be difficult to manage.  It should be noted that the Delta Cost Project that conducted the study is part of the American Institutes for Research, a private non-profit organization in Washington, D.C.  While "private and non-profit" may suggest lack of bias, review of the Delta Cost Project web site provides insight on the issues in which they have interest - labor expenses, college athletics, and public financial support.  AIR and others in both the U.S. and internationally should pay close attention to costs that can limit access to higher education.  However, it would be tragic to scapegoat student services and development programs without careful analysis of what is being contributed by whom.

 "What is being contributed and by whom" is the essential question that anyone engaged in international higher education should consider.   If student affairs and services cannot demonstrate substantive contributions to student retention, satisfaction, success, and development, then watch out because questions will be raised, if they aren't already.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

GWU pulls back from China operation

Inside Higher Education reported that George Washington University will not establish a campus in Beijing and returned the Dean who advocated for the plan when he was Dean of the Business School and VP for China Operations at GW to duties as professor of international business and management.  Beijing campuses for Duke, Kean and NYU will apparently proceed.