Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Compilation of Inside Higher Education articles

Inside Higher Education has compiled articles previously published by them for easy reference.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Advocacy for Study Abroad

Michelle Obama advocated the importance of study abroad during recent trip to China.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Turning away from branch campus model?

Lack of reference to Qatar's Education City in Elizabeth Redden's article on skepticism over branch campuses in today's (March 12, 2014) Inside Higher Education is interesting.  Perhaps it was not referenced because Qatar doesn't fit her model of failure (e.g. Qatar has the largest sustained collection of branch campuses anywhere in the world).  One of the issues Redden highlighted was that it is difficult, or impossible, to replicate the program of the donor university.  In this blogger's humble opinion - AND IT SHOULDN'T.  By contrast, educational practices should be adapted and focused on the local/regional cultural context.  If carefully adapted, perhaps the success could be even greater at a branch campus and the donor campus may learn how to be even more effective with its home campus students.

One quote in the article from the president of USC indicated that the only place a student can experience the quality of its "...residential campus environment – which in USC’s case boasts a larger number of international students than any other U.S. university" is at their campus in Los Angeles.  Going on, he said, “there’s no way you can replicate this environment anywhere else. It is not going to be the same."  Again, in this blogger's humble opinion, no, it won't be the same because it might even be better (e.g. Qatar's Education City LEED certified sustainable learning community includes students from 85 countries who study in top-ranked academic programs from 6 of America's finest universities).

At least the article concluded with a couple of positive voices, including Jason Lane who countered the "growing anti-branch rhetoric..." by saying that it was "something of a straw-man argument. They’re playing off this idea -- and I think it’s an incorrect one -- that branch campuses are just teaching outposts or they have very little engagement overseas. There are examples of that, but so many branch campuses that we’ve encountered, the longer they’re there, the more engaged they are in their communities and in the higher ed community and the research community.”

Branch campuses, or in Qatar's preferred terminology "partner universities," are a relatively new idea and they are small in number compared to the dominant models of higher education around the world.  There are issues to be worked out for sure but it is short-sighted for educators to rush to judgment without serious analysis of what works and/or can be improved in the branch model.  And, don't forget to consider the possibility that the branch model may have attributes that are superior to prospective donor institution current practices (e.g. explicit connection to human capacity building, integration of learning and living, fresh organizational models).

Monday, March 3, 2014

150+ U.S. universities agree to double study abroad numbers

The Institute for International Education has signed 150+ U.S. univerisities up for the Generation Study Abroad scheme, one designed to double the number of American students studying abroad to as many as 600,000 per year by the end of the decade.  The primary blocks appear to be curriculum planning to make study abroad easier and the cost of travel and study away from the home campuses.  With the goal of preparing American students for the era of globalization, encouraging students to see study outside North America as realistic and desirable is only the first step,  The more important goal will be to encourage American students to be thoughtful, curious and respectful cultural learners.