Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Choose Student Affairs

One of the great benefits of working in student affairs and related university work is the joy of the work itself. Laura Burge, a residence educator at La Trobe University in Australia, makes a very appealing pitch for choosing student affairs for a career.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sam Clovis of Morningside

Donald Trump hired Sam Clovis of Morningside College in Iowa as a political strategist after he left Rick Perry's unsuccessful campaign. Inside Higher Education provides insight on the implications of a college professor joining a conservative politician's campaign staff, with responses to the article questioning why a conservative professor's role would be highlighted when many liberal professors are involved in campaigns but don't receive the same attention. A defender of the U.S. Constitution and advocate for religious freedom while a professor, he now supports Trump's proposed ban on Muslims, including current students who return to their home countries and then try to return to study. Clovis is quoted as saying, "nothing in the Constitution bars discrimination based on religion against those outside the United States." Wow! You mean religious freedom is important enough to be a Constitutional right for U.S. citizens but not others around the world? In addition to this interesting stand, Clovis indicated to Inside Higher Education that Trump is working on a revolutionary plan for higher education. I'll go ahead and be political - that Trump is even looking into higher education as part of his campaign strategy is terrifying.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Qatar's Education City continues to unfold

Two articles in the Washington Post of December 6, 2015, by the same author capture the accomplishments and challenges of one of the world's most ambitious higher education projects. The first of the articles includes several references to Her Highness Sheikha Moza who provided the vision and inspiration for what many thought would be impossible. The second article describes Education City as an educational oasis and quotes a number of the faculty and administrators who are presently involved in pushing/pulling the project forward to fruition.

Both articles are balanced, recognizing the difficulties that are present when advocating educational practices in different cultures where the core principles and values of learning may diverge. Having been involved in the formative years of Qatar Foundation's Education City efforts, it stirs a lot of pride that the project has achieved so much already. Many of those who were involved in the early days, particularly Dr. Abdulla Al-Thani, the Qatari national leader who worked tirelessly to fulfill Her Highness' dreams, are no longer at Qatar Foundation. Others who are now gone were part of the original Education Division that blazed trails in new facilities, programs, and perspectives of how higher education could look if based on best practices from Western institutions but adapted those practices in ways that were more effective in the local context.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Adapting educational practice at international branch campuses

An article on branch campuses around the world by Lane and Kinser in the Chronicle of Higher Education quoted a finding of a UNESCO report that "no single type of foreign university can, in itself, meet the aspirations for the [local] people for social and economic development. Each country has its own genius and its societal characteristics. Its institutions must bear the stamps of those special characteristics." The experience of Qatar working with Education City most assuredly affirms this conclusion but Lane and Kinser's assertion later in their article that Qatar and the UAE "should be considering the local implications of welcoming foreign institutions to their shores," is bizarre. Having worked with the branch universities in Qatar and having worked diligently with colleagues to adapt practice in the local context, it would not have taken much research for Lane and Kinser to use Qatar as an example of what UNESCO advocates rather than a case about which they would offer advice.

Monday, November 16, 2015

International student numbers up again

The number of International students in the USA is up another 10%, with Chinese students the largest in total but with Indian students increasing faster than any other national group. USA students studying abroad also increased by 5%.

A December 17, 2016, article by Elizabeth Reddin provided additional details on the increase in international student enrollment in U.S. universities.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Internationalization lacking as criteria for faculty tenure and promotion

A study by the American Council on Education reported that references to internationalization in faculty tenure and promotion criteria don't match the goals related to internationalization of many universities. While the majority (52%) of institutions espouse internationalization as a goal, explicit attention to internationalization in faculty tenure and promotion decisions is much lower (8%). A further disconnect was evident in the prevalence of internationalization as a criteria for research and service but not for teaching, again contradicting many university's reported focus on enhancing student learning related to internationalization.

These finding are important in identifying gaps in the reward systems that support internationalization. As university leaders begin to understand that internationalization needs to be a comprehensive and integrated priority, changes in tenure and promotion criteria will hopefully follow.

Monday, November 9, 2015

International academics have strengths that others may lack

A study of Indian academics pursuing their careers in the United Kingdom, found that they are uniquely able to handle the pressures of research and publishing while maintaining a sense of balance in their personal lives. The authors of the study suggest that their success may be a model for others and that the broader cultural perspectives they bring to their institutions may be an unrecognized gift.

Monday, November 2, 2015

British Council looks at what international students in STEM subjects want

The U.S. emerged ahead of the U.K., Australia, and Canada in a survey of why students choose what and where they study. Undergraduates were most interested in the advantages they believe they have on the job market with a U.S. degree and graduates reported interest in rigor, reputation and the opportunity to stay in country for a period after study. Although only 15% of international graduate students want to permanently migrate, a large proportion of students want to take advantage of the 29 months allowed by U.S. policy so that they can get a good start 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Career counseling disconnect

The disconnect between international students' ideas of how to get a job after graduate school is described in this piece. U.S. institutions need to realize that they have done little to understand and accommodate the circumstances of study, expectations of family, and even the way work is viewed in other country contexts when international students seek career advice and assistance.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What employers seek in new hires

While some in higher education are ambivalent about adopting a career preparation charge from prospective employers, the reality is that students are very interested in positioning themselves for employment. The research is very consistent on what employers want and the latest Committee for Economic Development report of Essential Competencies on the Job continues the string of reports that call for problem solving, ability to work with others of diverse backgrounds, and critical thinking as the top attributes they seek. The next question is where might students cultivate these competencies? Seamless education environments that reinforce these skills both in and outside of class will be most successful.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Political ramifications in distant places

Two articles note that political difference can be a target in higher education environments anyplace. Israel is considering legislation that will bar entry to those who have advocated boycotting Israel, indicating that it seeks to block their opportunity to act within its borders. Hong Kong Lingnan University students protested actions that they view as evidence of growing political influence and potential limitations on academic freedom.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Professor's concerns about educational benefit for international students

Hats off to Adele Barker, a professor at University of Arizona, whose essay for Inside Higher Education revealed her ambivalence about whether the international students she teaches are ready for or experience higher education as we would hope. Her point is that the bargain goes both ways - students from other countries should come fully prepared to engage in English and to meet the high expectations of the research universities they attend. U.S.A. institutions need to look at their reasons for admitting international students and need to make the resource available for them to succeed. Ultimately, at issue is maintaining standards of quality and making sure that students so full of hope and aspiration truly receive the gold-standard education they seek.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Recruiting international students

As the number of international students choosing U.S.A. universities slides, institutions are beginning to pay more attention to the unique ways they need to recruit students. Inside Higher Education offered on perspective advocating designated materials focused on the unique interests of international students, including the adjustment process and feel of the campus, and on use of global English with direct and uncomplicated communication. Advice for international students who want to study as transfer students from community colleges in the U.S.A or from their home universities can find helpful advice through the U.S. News and World Report.

Both of the linked articles note that the perception of career choice may be different, with international students being more motivated by their interests in preparing for the jobs they hope to obtain after university. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Internationalization for everyone?

This article on Internationalization for Everyone summarizing emerging ideas in South America poses that internationalization should go beyond mobility, research collaboration and initiatives that reach only small portions of faculty and students. No mention is made of students' out of class experience. This is why student affairs educators need to be part of internationalization planning.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pushing to increase the number and diversity of U.S. students abroad

The Institute of International Education's Generation Study Abroad Summit is where you would expect advocacy for U.S. students to study abroad. Nevertheless, participants at the conference explored how to increase the numbers beyond the current 9.4% of undergraduates estimated to have at least some kind of abroad experience, with a focus on greater breadth among those who do. The pitch to students who are studying abroad in lower numbers (1st-generation, community college, military veterans, and students with disabilities) is possibly that study abroad significantly improves your employability after graduation. In her keynote, Angel Cabrera, President of George Mason University, said, "You cannot have a successful career unless you develop the skills to interact with and work productively with people who are different from you. It's absolutely essential."

Internationalists excel in research/publications

Although an article comparing research and publication records of internationalists and locals in Europe indicates that no cause-effect can be determined, internationalists (those who engage across national borders) are almost twice as productive. The limitation of the study is that more productive scholars may have more access to international networks to support their work. Nevertheless, that there is a pattern of higher productivity when scholars reach across borders is an important finding in itself. As academics in other areas of the world consider whether or not the findings are applicable to them, the fact that Europe's Erasmus framework was created to establish greater access and mobility should be understood as the policy basis for such advances.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

More U.S. students choosing to study abroad

A recent report in the Wall Street Journal indicated that more U.S. students are studying abroad - and not just for a short time. The front-running destinations are the U.K. and Canada and the rationale is sometimes the benefit of learning about another culture but other times it's escaping the rising cost of higher education in the U.S.A.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Will Chinese student enrollment decline in U.S.A.?

Thirty-one percent of international students at universities in the U.S.A. are from China. With a drop in the numbers of university-age students, slowdown of the Chinese economy, and decline in the value of the Chinese currency, U.S.A. universities may have to adjust their expectations sooner rather than later.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The role of liberal education

The stereotype of some higher education institutions emerging around the world is that the focus is narrowly focused on preparing young people for careers and service to their countries. This focus is assumed to contradict what most people perceive of classic liberal education.

Fareed Zakaria offers an alternative view of liberal arts and sciences and provides both historical context and a contemporary example where new models are evolving in his 2015 book, In Defense of a Liberal Education. A review on my "Pursuing leadership" blog provides a summary should you want to learn more.

Indiana University to fund 300 million research on global problems

Indiana University is launching a $300 million research grant initiative to focus on understanding and addressing global problems. Grand challenges such as international water supply, energy availability, infectious diseases, and climate change will provide the focus for interdisciplinary research teams comprised of nonprofits, industry and government. Having been marginally involved in considering the Grand Challenges for research focus in Qatar, a critical element of "interdisciplinary" research is that the teams need to include humanities, arts, behavioral and social sciences if the grand challenges are to be addressed in comprehensive ways. Qatar had both water and food security issues but addressing their vulnerability had as much to do with human behavior as it had to do with the science of water supply and food production.

Striving for diversity in South Africa

Adam Habib, vice chancellor at the University of the Witwatersrand, advocated the urgency of change when interviewed by the Times Higher Education. The future of South Africa is imperiled if its higher education institutions are not able to increase the proportion of indigenous faculty, staff and students. Habib commented, "The [South African] constitution's objective is, can you build a cosmopolitan nation and at the same time address the historical disparities of the past." He insists that cosmopolitanism and inclusion are complementary and are dependent on each other. Faculty have expressed trepidation about diversifying the faculty because they believe it has the potential to compromise quality. Perhaps faculty/staff should look at the entire package when recruiting colleagues - who has the disciplinary knowledge, research and scholarship capacity, and the cultural and pedagogical expertise to support student success?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Universities in China to establish press relations

The Chinese Ministry of Education informed universities that they will be required to establish a press spokesperson, inform the public who it is, conduct polls of faculty/students on policy matters, provide training in media relations, and do more to promote the accomplishments of students and faculty.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Internationally minded students will make the difference

The University World News ran an article drawing attention to the importance of helping all students on our campuses becoming internationally minded. Not only will this result in their being better prepared for life and the world of work they will face in the future, it will create a better climate for the international students who are presently on our campuses.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Retaining international students after graduation

Support to retain international students on H-1B visas from an unexpected source, Donald Trump, may confuse the electorate. After all, this is the same person who believes that we need to build walls at U.S. borders and roll back the provision of U.S. citizenship to those born in the country. This is also the person who claims that other countries are economically beating the U.S. because our leaders are "stupid." While supporting the retention of international students may seem contradictory, it's really a very practical matter. Those international students who are highly motivated and educated and want to stay in the U.S. can contribute through research and highly skilled work, the same dynamic that has fueled growth in the U.S. through immigration for the last 200+ years. It's not a new idea - just an affirmation of giving people a chance to thrive.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Restricting internet access for students at some S. Korean universities

With a rationale that roommates will have a better chance to sleep, internet access is being restricted for some S. Korean university students. At issue is late night internet use, especially gaming, that keeps some students, and their roommates, up at night. Other students complain that their universities are treating them like children who can't make good decisions for themselves.

Reestablishing diplomatic ties with Iran laying the ground for higher education exchange

Iran and the U.S. had numerous academic ties prior to 1979. Academics are beginning to resurrect arrangements for exchanges and other academic partnerships. The joint engineering degree program partnering Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis and University of Tehran is one example to come out of the gate quickly. While bringing Iranian students to the U.S. may be an easy way to get started, study or research abroad by U.S. students may be hindered by continuing concerns over diplomatic issues between the two countries.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Comparing educational paradigms - U.S. versus China

In a thoughtful review of Dr. Yong Zhao's Who is Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World, Qiang Zha advocates important dimensions of comparative study if one wants to understand the benefits and liabilities of both U.S. and Chinese education. China's achievement in test scores are likely the product of authoritarian educational practices that were part of the political/cultural environment, an environment that now shows signs of change. The question then turns to what new educational practices will be required to allow China to move forward in educating highly motivated students who see education as the pathway to success.

Zha uses one example to demonstrate the effectiveness of Chinese authoritarian practice - rote learning in math. While youth in the U.S., comfortable in declaring what they like and/or don't want to do, often proclaim that they are not good at math, Chinese youth would seldom succumb to such a defeatist attitude. The authoritarian system pushes Chinese students to stick with content that is difficult, knowing that the reward will be superior performance. (Is the rise of Chinese musicians on the world scene evidence of the same dynamic?) The point is that perhaps U.S. youth should be pushed harder and not allowed to defeat themselves while Chinese students likely need to be encouraged to go beyond the mastery of content, delving into critical intellectual analyses with which independent thinkers are more comfortable.

Zha's most important critique of Zhao's book is Zhao's assertion that a new educational approach needs to be designed that will meet the needs of a global future. Contrasted with Zhao's "globalist" claim, Zha encourages educational practices designed with distinct cultures and traditions in mind, a perspective that would hopefully preserve the uniqueness of world cultures while advancing toward educational practices that will benefit all.

Extended training visa for international graduates at risk

Overturning the training period extension for international graduates will not go into effect immediately due to concerns over the crises it would cause in students' lives as well as the disruption it would cause in STEM research programs where international graduates contribute so much to U.S. research productivity. The court ruling cited irregularities in the process of approval for the extensions. One can only hope that these "irregularities" can be resolved soon enough to reenact the extensions for the benefit of both graduates and institutions.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Are US universities missing on-line education opportunity?

The former Whitehouse Director of Global Engagement, Brett Bruen, proposes that the expense, cultural constraints and complexity of international students coming to study in the U.S., or setting up branch campuses abroad, has limited potential. He advocates more on-line engagement and suggests how this could head off competition that is emerging from other countries ready and willing to offer on-line academic programs.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Internationalizing Higher Education and Student Affairs - Roberts in About Campus

The American College Personnel Association's About Campus magazine May-June 2015, Vol. 20, No. 2, carries an article authored by me entitled "Internationalizing Higher Education and Student Affairs" (pp 8-15). I wrote the article to capture some of the learning and realizations from the seven years I spent in Qatar in service to Qatar Foundation. It is a call to view internationalization more broadly and my hope was to convince all those in high education to consider internationalization as at least a portion of their work.

Unfortunately, there were two errors in the article, both appearing in the digital and the print copies. One error is on p. 10 where the heading "Recommendations for sources on internationalization" should have read "Why internationalization is a shared concern." The second error is that "Exhibit 1" referenced on p. 11 does not appear in my article but was misplaced in the interview of Condoleezza Rice on p. 5 of the magazine.

Should you wish to have a corrected copy of the article for your use, please do not hesitate to contact me personally (dcroberts48@gmail.com) as I am allowed to provide a corrected copy to anyone who requests it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Inside Higher Education articles on recruiting international students

Inside Higher Education has a compilation of their articles on recruiting international students that may be of interest. You will be required to register if you take this link to receive your copy.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Liberal education and workplace preparation

In a move to placate business interests, Japan is requiring its 86 national universities to submit restructuring plans to focus more on preparation of graduates for the workplace. The anticipated result is that resources previously directed to liberal education will move to business and vocational areas.

This move raises the fundamental question of why higher education officials have allowed liberal arts to be disconnected from the reality that students need to be prepared for work. Some would say it is all about where you place the emphasis - on intellectual pursuit or vocational preparation. As a liberal arts graduate, I cultivated workplace dispositions by coupling my courses with loads of cocurricular and extracurricular engagement. Perhaps we should get back into the conversation about holistic educational experiences...

Friday, July 31, 2015

Proposed laws in China could restrict academic partnerships

American institution managers are raising concerns, but indicate that they are willing to wait to see what the impact will be of proposed new laws in China. The laws would require foreign NGOs to register their activities with Chinese police authorities. The questions being raised relate to how broadly registration, and possible intervention by police authorities, will go and the fear is that the mere requirement to register activities will have a chilling impact on educational programs. Another fear is that the laws prohibit foreign NGOs from challenging state powers and security. The directors of NYU's U.S.-Asia Law Institute warn that the non-intervention restriction could even apply to activities outside China - meaning that action taken in the U.S.A. could jeopardize the ability to have a program in China or could result in prosecution of U.S.A. faculty, administration, and students who are in China for actions undertaken outside China.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Numbers and structures don't equal internationalization

A study of internationalization in UK institutions reveals that the proportion of international students doesn't necessarily result in constructive interaction across cultural groups. Nor does interaction across cultural groups necessarily result in enhancement of cross-national interaction and workplace skills that employers are asking higher education to deliver. The study cited Gordon Alport's "contact theory" and proposed that, in order for students to learn across culture and grow in their appreciation of each other, four conditions are necessary - equal status, common goals, institutional support, and perception of similarity across groups. Perhaps internationalization educators should return to some of these early (1950s) ideas about what it takes for groups, and individuals within them, to learn from each other - resulting in students who graduate with the world-wise dispositions to be effective.

Faculty international mobility enhances research and citations

A Times Higher Education summary on research productivity and number of citations of publications reflects that British faculty are more mobile than those in other countries and benefit as a result of their networks and associations. The pattern of faculty in the U.K. being more mobile is likely one of the outcomes of past colonial presence but it may also relate to the economic benefits that they receive from working outside of the U.K. - lower cost of living and no taxes in the U.K. Countries interested in expanding their academic reach will need to look at all the factors that contribute to international mobility and its relation to standard measures of productivity.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Having international students doesn't make a campus "international"

As the number of international students continues to grow at U.S. colleges and universities, some materials and statements by institutional promoters use their presence to justify the claim that the campus is internationalized. Confirming reports of international students many times not even feeling particularly welcome on some campuses, a new report indicates the fallacy of claiming internationalization simply because international students happen to be present in a student body.

No doubt about the impact of international students in the U.S.A. who contribute $27.2 billion to the American economy. With American students studying abroad only contributing $6.5 billion to other economies, the $20.7 billion net is important not only to U.S. higher education but to the general economy. Education Week indicates that, while international student numbers in the U.S. continue to grow (perhaps topping 1 million by 2017-18) there is a lot of competition from other countries that has resulted in a proportional decline of internationals coming to the U.S.A.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Are U.S.A. hiring processes relevant in other nations?

A job posting at Wenzhou-Kean University in China is raising concerns about different criteria being imposed in hiring at international partner campuses of U.S.A. universities. Specifically, the job posting expresses preference for candidates with Chinese Communist Party membership. Staff at Kean University (New Jersey), the U.S.A. partner, are affiliated with the New Jersey AFT which has criticized the posting as violating anti-discrimination agreements and raising concern over whether or not WKU has the academic freedoms advocated at universities in the U.S.A.

The concerns being raised demonstrate tensions that are present at many campuses that partner between the U.S.A. and other nations. Three questions come to mind:

  1. To what degree should U.S.A. laws, policies, and practices be observed when a U.S.A. entity is operating outside of the country?
  2. What local/cultural adaptations should be expected in partnerships between U.S.A. institutions and entities in other countries (WKU is a dual-degree)? The point in the WKU job postings are that they are for residence halls and discipline, both areas typically staffed in China by cultural officers who are Communist Party members.
  3. What should U.S.A. institutions expect in relation to their role in changing the international locations where they are going?
A distinguished law professor at the University of Houston is quoted in the article as advocating that U.S.A. institutions should not "acquiesce to regimes that need us more than we need them."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Internationalization in Russia

Internationalization in Russia may be rolling back, according to a Times Higher Education article. With a particular focus on the dismissal of the Rector at Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod, Elizabeth Redden pointed to a number of other indicators including policy statements and NGO targeting, that reflect governmental ambivalence about international academic cooperation.

Based on my experience and interaction with others in international higher education, ambivalence about imposition of "Western" perspectives and the desire to replace expatriate workers with locals is typical. These may or may not be motivated by governmental politics.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Higher education in post-conflict settings

The Brookings Doha Institute has issued a report on the importance of higher education to countries recovering from conflict, with a particular focus on the Middle East. The report proposes that higher education is key to "combat violent extremism, address economic challenges, and encourage social stability." Citing the Brookings report, University World News asserted that capacity building at the local level is key, indicating that the "conventional 'neo-liberal' reconstruction policies, which are partly responsible for the poor record of reconstruction efforts, have not sufficiently realized the importance of higher education for addressing it."

Students' views of European higher education

Two articles in the University World News pose important questions for the continuing evolution of higher education in Europe. The first article, focused on students' perception of the Bologna agreement, expressed concern about unevenness of implementation coupled with a lack of will in pursuing commitments to open access to greater numbers of students. The second article indicated that fees will remain stable but raised questions about the quality of French students' university experience. A new report compiled by students and French officials indicated that several issues needed to be addressed - "simplifying procedures and access to rights; improving students' conditions of living and studying; improving student healthcare; galvanizing campus life and student involvement."

Some European countries offer incentives for improved teaching and learning practices, a strategy that could address some of the quality concerns students expressed. This map shows the differences in strategies among those countries that have adopted this approach.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Internationalization partners - shoppers beware!

With the momentum around internationalization in higher education, many colleges and universities are seeking to establish partners across national and regional borders. How to find and then secure the partnership will impact cost, fit, customization, sustainability, and outcomes.

Let me illustrate by using the analogy of shopping for three types of cars. The first is a Bentley Flying Spur Mansory. The salesperson will probably serve cocktails and caviar while you shop, will personalize your potential purchase to whatever degree you wish to pay, and the price is non-negotiable (how rude to talk price if you’re shopping for a Bentley!). The outcome will be an incredible vehicle sure to draw attention wherever you drive, an engineering/technology wonder that you may or may not be able to completely utilize (who drives at this Bentley’s top speed of 204.4 miles/hour?), and it will cost $600,000 and change. The second is an Audi A6. The showroom will be lively as a result of the recent popularity of the Audi brand, but you’ll have an attentive sales assistant who will approach you when you slip behind the driver’s seat. Three trim and engine packages are available with powertrain variations within the three; interior and exterior packages can be mixed and matched and numerous accessories can be added. The price may be a little negotiable, but primarily on the higher-end models and you’ll pay anywhere from $46,200 on up to $63,700 for maximum impact when you drive out on the street. The third is a Toyota Camry. As one of the most popular cars on the road, you’ll join many people shopping at the dealership and you’ll have to work to get the attention of a salesperson. You have several options from which to choose but no customization; you can haggle price a little. The outcome is that you’ll join the throngs of look-alikes, struggling to figure out which is yours in the parking lot, it will be predictable and easy to service and you may drive it until the wheels finally fall off at 200,000 miles and it will cost $22,970 and change. (Apologies to U.S.A. auto-makers who have many great options as well!)

What’s the point? Comprehensive internationalization pursued with the intent of substantive impact will likely require one or more partners to make it happen. Whether the institution is in the U.S.A., looking for ways to internationalize as a value-added piece of their portfolio while generating a little extra revenue, or in China, seeking ways to bring prestige to their institution and to create ways to hold Chinese students in China, the shopping excursion should be undertaken with caution. At present, far too few institutions have seriously looked at their ultimate vision in partnering for internationalization let alone tried to determine if they are in the market for a Bentley, Audi, or Toyota.

Not long ago I interacted with an international team visiting the U.S.A. on a shopping trip for a partnership. My sense was that they were in a hurry and really needed to have something to show for their efforts – now! They wanted a broker to help them secure a partnership and when I probed to ask what they were looking for, what they had to gain and to offer, and shared my experience in negotiating the complexity of partnership in Qatar, they at first seemed interested. Not far into the follow-up correspondence, I found that they had selected a partner institution and that a representative from the U.S.A. side was en route to visit. I cautioned about the importance of mutuality, cultural appreciation, and shared responsibility and funding; I never heard from them again. The bottom line is that this international partnership, initiated by a foreign entity seeking a U.S.A. partner, slid toward finding a “prestige” partner where I suspect bargaining would be very limited, customization might be available but certainly not compromising the “Bentley” brand the “selling” partner believed they had, and may ultimately result in an arrangement that is very costly, unsustainable, and underwhelming in its impact.

This is clearly an editorial piece and represents only my own opinions. It is, nevertheless, based on considerable direct experience and interaction. Regardless of which side of the partnering you may be on – seller or buyer – anyone involved in shopping for internationalization partnerships - BEWARE!

Education hubs in Asia drive innovation and economic growth

With a focus on driving innovation and stimulating economic growth, Asian countries have continued to established education hubs to serve students from their own and other countries in the region. The models vary by country but the purpose is unmistakable - attract more institutions to open universities so that national/regional students will stay in Asia to complete their higher education studies and remain as workers in the emerging economies of the region.

These education hubs stimulate economic growth, allow students to study closer to their homes, and blend exposure to Western models while still preserve cultural traditions important to families and students. That is, if the institutions engage in ways that create mutual benefit and are founded on the assumption of respecting the local cultural environment. For Western higher education institutions to participate and sustain such programs, humility will be required and a view of the long-haul will be essential. There is huge potential in numbers and in potential impact.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

English instruction - requires educational rather than economic/ideological rationale

Hans DeWit summarizes the important discussion about English instruction around the world. His summary indicates that advocating for local/national language isn't just coming from conservative nationalist-oriented perspectives but includes those who are pushing for educational rationale for English instruction. For example, a statement by Dutch educators says that decisions on English instruction should be made on "content-based arguments and not on economic or ideological grounds, such as the recruitment of international students or progress in international rankings." The statement went on to link language of instruction to goals of preparing students for career and service to society.

Looking at language proficiency from the multi-lingual perspective, European universities require students to learn at least one language other than their first language in order to graduate, resulting in fluidity and opportunity throughout Europe.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Cultural awareness and proficiency

One of the greatest challenges that many organizations face today is how to develop awareness about cultural difference and increase proficiency engaging across culture among their employees. A UK company, People Development Team, offers programs that address dynamics of unconscious bias, leadership development for female employees, and inclusion dynamics that could be important for higher education to understand. If this is what for-profit businesses are asking for, how is higher education helping to cultivate this kind of awareness through the education and experience of students? How will graduates from universities throughout the world respond when they are either expected to come with an inclusive disposition or welcome and support their employer's staff development programs that advocate this perspective?

UK now offers student affairs/services degrees

Two UK schools are launching degree programs to prepare student affairs/services staff. The rationale - to recognize the importance of student affairs/services as a method to increase retention and graduate students prepared for the world of work. The two programs, one at Kingston and the other at Anglia Ruskin, offer course and content structures that do not require the extended residence required in many U.S.A. programs. Anglia Ruskin's program includes the possibility of a period of study in the U.S.A., complete with an internship.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Top Chinese universities compete for highly qualified students

The Wall Street Journal reported that competition over recruitment practices for top Chinese students has resulted in a public dispute between two of its top universities. Part of the issue is that increasing numbers of top students are also applying to study outside of China. The article raised two additional issues that are perhaps more interesting to those who will work with Chinese students. The first is the educational outcome for students - the article indicated that admitting excellent students shouldn't be the primary focus but instead the focus should be on on producing excellent talent. The second concern was that in general Chinese students have not defined for themselves what they care about and therefore what they are most motivated to study.

Applications for international graduate students up 2% in U.S.A.

The number of international students applying to enroll in U.S.A. graduate programs continued to be stable with a 2% rise overall. The two countries with the greatest numbers are China and India, contributing 67% of the total. However, the number of applicants from China continue to decline while those from India are rising at double-digit levels (12% in the most recent figures).

Friday, June 26, 2015

Is there academic freedom in China?

A recent U.S.A. legislative committee hearing included representatives from U.S.A. universities who have established programs in China (NYU, Fort Hayes State University, and the Kissinger Institute were quoted). The question being raised was whether or not the faculty teaching in these programs were able to exercise the same freedoms in selection of course content that they would in the U.S.A. The representatives reassured the legislators that faculty prerogatives in teaching had not been altered in order to accommodate Chinese government interests. Instances of covering political dissent in China were noted, with the caveat that sometimes faculty members may not cover topics like Tiananmen Square because of the sensitivity of the topic and the faculty's comfort with the subject.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Montana Tech confronts international student academic dishonesty

The report of Montana Tech's experience with Saudi Arabian students' cheating raises challenging questions. The first is the possibility that cultural background may in some cases cause students to see rules differently - whether it is the change of a grade, having someone write a paper for you, or passing on details about an exam to others who will subsequently take the test. The second challenge is that, as access to study abroad expanded in Saudi Arabia, the standards of admission widened which may have resulted in students who weren't really qualified being admitted to the institution.

While the report raised question about how the Saudi students' cases were handled at Montana Tech,, the broader issues are how cultural differences influence patterns of behavior and the possibility that U.S.A. institutions, motivated by revenue generation, may be offering admission to students who can't really succeed without added support, services, and time. These issues are not unique to Saudi students.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Helping students explore "vocational calling" supported

The rationale for pursuit of higher education, often contested among by various stakeholders, sometimes includes preparation for career and sometimes it does not. The Lilly Foundation's research looked at "vocational calling" and found that the idea of finding a worthy calling in life was very important to students. Student development staff have long seen career and calling as central to students' success - knowing why you're studying and where it leads often results in both retention and higher performance. Purpose and finding ways to be fulfilled through one's effort is also critical to leadership efficacy and integrity, a theme very much imbedded in the writing of a growing number of leadership scholars.

Institute for International Education meets with Iran educators

As an indication of warming relations between the U.S.A. and Iran, a delegation of the Institute for International Education recently visited Iran. The educational diplomacy may lead to growing numbers of Iranian students studying at U.S.A. universities.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Scholars at Risk report documents incidents across countries

Academic scholars can be at risk for both intellectual and personal harm, as documented in the Scholars at Risk summaries that have recently been made available. Championing ideas that counter prevailing cultural or political perspectives can draw attention to and place scholars at risk of having their ideas repressed or worse.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) a new model of international partnerships

With a 40 million dollar start-up grant from Microsoft, Washington University (USA) and Tsinghua University (China) will establish the Global Innovative Exchange Institute in Seattle. GIX will be a graduate program focused on technology innovation for up to as many as 3,000 students. The model may be a precursor to a departure from U.S.A. universities establishing branches in other countries; this time the international partner comes to the U.S.A. with faculty and student exchanges going both directions, all intended to develop talent, research, and innovation capacity. Other locations that have toyed with a hub model in the U.S.A. are the University of California at Berkeley and the Cornell University and Technion Israel Institute of Technology campus in NYC.

Europe, Asia and higher education regionalism

Que Ahn Dang's summary of the growing regionalism trend in higher education provides a picture of increased cooperative work within Europe and Asia and between the two. Using Europe's Bologna agreement as an example, other regions have begun to adopt statements across countries that offer frameworks for cooperation. The author concludes with a warning that lauds the regionalization movement but warns, "Let's hope they (i.e. the agreements) are about advancing scholarship, connecting cultures and individuals, and about building a different future instead of reshuffling old ideas, pandering to economic concerns, or play to the hegemon's tune."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Quality assurance statement for international higher education

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation now recommends seven principles that frame the commitment to quality. While brief, the seven principles at least provide a broad view of what quality would like like, including a commitment to students' learning.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

U.S.A. considering extension of international student visas

Although some labor organizations oppose it, consideration is underway to allow international students to stay for longer periods for job-related training after they graduate. The move would help the U.S.A. stay competitive in attracting international students (Canada has more open policies) as well as retain highly motivated, competent and young workers who will contribute to the knowledge and innovation economy. Extension of the job-related training could also lead to permanent citizenship for immigrants who are highly trained and seek the opportunities that the U.S.A. provides.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Add the local community to the mix in welcoming international students

A research study conducted in Findlay, Ohio, determined that local businesses and citizens had mixed views of the international students who were attending college in the community. Jamienne McKee's research indicated that locals had a variety of views that could result in international students feeling less than welcome. Her co-presenter at the NAFSA conference, Patrick Lilja, indicated that colleges and universities could help by educating the local community on the economic benefit of international students' presence and by purposefully bringing community members together with them. Efforts directed at improving the climate both on and off campus are essential in order for international students to feel comfortable engaging with others outside of their cultural group, the kind of behavior that leads to everyone's enhanced educational outcomes as well as satisfaction in cultural exchange.

Chaos around higher education language

Inside Higher Education carried a story about a recent report delivered at the "Going Global" conference identifying language as one of international education's biggest problems. The report proposed using the term "transnational education" (TNE) as a catch-all that characterizes everything from branch campuses to stand-alone institutions. Beyond the broad category of what to call these universities, the report calls attention to variations in other definitions as fundamental as registration, accreditation and quality assurance which make it difficult to compare across institutions and to know if educators are even talking about the same thing.

English as dominant language of instruction?

There has been considerable debate in international higher education circles about what language should be used for instruction. A paper delivered by Russell Kaschula of Rhodes University in South Africa at the "Going Global" conference raised questions about whether English should be the primary or dominant language. The relationship between local/regional language preservation and pride in one's culture is very important. Perhaps bilingual and multilingual programs will allow for English to be the connector while many languages contribute to protecting the uniqueness and value of many cultures.

Colorado State University new academic home for Semester at Sea

The announcement that Colorado State University will become the academic and administrative home for Semester at Sea offers new opportunities to both programs in moving study abroad to another level. As a graduate of CSU, I know that the commitment to engaged and experience-based learning has been something that CSU does very well. Educational intentionality and reflection are the keys to study abroad having an impact and I assume these will be at the core of the new partnership. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

U.S.A. Justice Department indicts 15 for fraudulent testing in China

The report of the Justice Department of the U.S.A. indicting 15 Chinese nationals for fraud in entrance examinations raises concern about the validity of many international students' applications to attend universities in the U.S.A. The article indicates that the number who cheat is small but discerning schemes to falsify credentials is not only important to the credibility of admission processes but it raises the question of the purpose of the tests in the first place. Are these tests seen only as hurdles to admission or are they seen as a way of determining who is best fit to study at a variety of types of institutions? Unfortunately, the latter goal has been overlooked by many prospective students and their families.

Interest in branch campuses declines in Europe

With the U.K. having dominated in its number of branch campuses, it appears now to be leading the exodus from branch campuses among European universities. A recent survey conducted by the European Association of International Education indicated that establishing branch campuses was the lowest ranked strategy for internationalization among its members. Citing the high cost and reputational risks of branch campuses, the trend appears to have shifted to joint and dual degrees as the preferred approach to increasing the internationalization of their institutions.

The survey also assessed the reasons institution leaders pursuing internationalization. Improving the quality of learning (56%) and more adequately preparing graduates for the global world (45%) in which they will live were the most often endorsed purposes.

NAFSA attendees discuss expanding access to study abroad

The NAFSA conference attracted 11,000 attendees, quite a statement about the growing importance of international students to U.S.A. higher education as well as study abroad by domestic students from the U.S.A. One program explored strategies to increase access beyond the privileged white students who account for the vast majority (76%) of those who study abroad as part of their educational experience. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Australian students increase study abroad

Previous cohorts of Australian students were reluctant to pursue study abroad but now 14.8% are leaving the country for some of their study years. This figure is now comparable to students in the U.S.A. and comes with a package of benefits, including increased civic interest and better career preparation.

Access to higher education is pivotal and variable

Higher education is critical in preparing students around the world for changing economic conditions and work opportunities. The problem is that access varies so much across various regions o the world.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Comparative and international higher education journal

Those looking for resources on international higher education may benefit from browsing the Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education. The articles are focused and tight so reading is quick and efficient. This particular issue carries two articles of interest to those who are involved in, or considering, branch campus models. Sadly, all of the articles in this issue are authored by individuals who are working out of North America.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Publishing in China

Due to the potential of alterations in academic work, guidance for how to handle publishing in China have been offered to assist authors. Among the recommendations is encouragement not to allow modifications that alter the core of arguments in published works.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Japan Studies at U.S.A. Institutions

In his recent visit to the U.S.A., the Prime Minister of Japan announced gifts to Columbia, Georgetown, and MIT for Japan Studies programs to endow professorships in contemporary politics and foreign policy. Japan's initiative mirrors gifts from China and South Korea to support an increased focus on their countries.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tool to see where students attend university

The UNESCO student mobility tool provides a nice visual representation of student flows around the world. When you take the link, you can select the country you want to analyze and then select one button for where students go when they leave for study abroad and another button for what countries send students to that country.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Graduate students' impact on research

One of the long-valued aspects of graduate programs has been their contribution to the research productivity of their advisors. A study reported that the influx of graduate students from China in mathematics programs in the U.S.A. resulted in increased productivity for some professors but not others. The link was intra-cultural academic collaboration. For those professors of Chinese heritage who mentored Chinese graduate students, research productivity increased but the productivity of non-Chinese professors dropped.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Number of students from India rising

The number of students from India who choose to study in the U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand, UK and Canada rose in the last tabulations reported by University World News. The rise out-paced China, although China still sends more students abroad than India. The UK experienced declining numbers, attributed in the article to less favorable visa conditions that have recently been implemented.

American University of....

Question is being raised regarding if American-style education is really part of the scheme through the programs of the American University of Malta. Even though DePaul University of the U.S.A. has consulted on academic programs that will be offered through the new institution, the backers are involved in for-profit ventures in Jordan.

With American-style education practice being adopted to achieve instant credibility, what is included is a huge question. For instance, in the case of the American University of Malta, it appears that nothing is being considered other than coursework. Those of us dedicated to the unique commitment made to student holistic development in the U.S.A. would challenge that course-based academic initiatives could qualify for "American-style."

Friday, May 8, 2015

Higher fees charged for international students in the U.S.A.

Elizabeth Redden summarizes a variety of different fees charged for international students studying in the U.S.A. Spokespeople from the various universities, largely Big 10 conference, justified the charges based on the extra provisions they must offer for international students. However, in some cases the revenue from the international student fees go to the general budget or in one case (University of Illinois $3,000 per student surcharge in engineering), half the revenue goes to fund scholarships for Illinois residents.

While this free-enterprise approach may seem logical in a time of state and federal funding cuts for higher education in the U.S.A., are other groups who require or demand special support charged comparable fees? If the rational of universities for the fees is that international students pay neither state or federal tax, then what effort has been taken to analyze the true proportion that should be fairly charged back to international students?

The article also notes that some less-prestigious universities offer scholarships to international students to attend their institutions because they bring the value of broader cultural value to the institutions they attend. Do not all universities benefit from the presence of international students?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

OECD's assessment initiative a challenge to existing rankings based on reputation

OECD is set to undertake an assessment of teaching effectiveness that may provide an alternative to the current university rankings that are substantially based on past institutional accomplishments and reputation. The Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes is likely to be blocked or demeaned by those institutions and officials with the highest rankings at present. One of the issues sure to be raised is that higher education is more than just student learning with research and service to community (among other things) being other important outcomes. While it is important to recognize a variety of outcomes, devising a measure that places student learning and development in a prominent place related to institutional prestige is something that would likely benefit everyone.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Minnesota's Charlie Hedbo poster and free-speech vs. hostile environment

A University of Minnesota panel on the French Charlie Hedbo event was challenged by the Muslim Student Association for its impact on their religious identity. The complaint indicated that depiction of the Prophet Mohammed was "blasphemous and insulting." The findings of the investigation communicated to the dean whose faculty were involved in the panel indicated that the poster advertising the event had "significant negative repercussions" and that "the organizers knew or should have known" that the decision to print the image "would offend, insult, and alienate some non-significant proportion of the university's Muslim community."

The report of the incident portrays the complexity of negotiating the typical American university commitment to free speech versus creating hostile environments for some students. If institutions want to enroll increasing numbers of students from diverse backgrounds, they need to consider what is required to create a positive and supportive atmosphere. Measures needn't place limits on expression of diverse ideas but perhaps should at least strive for approaches that demonstrate compassionate accommodation.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Australia struggles with dependence on international student enrollment

Reports from Australia covered by Inside Higher Education indicate that the growth and now dependence on international student enrollment (20% overall) has resulted in admission of students who are unprepared for study but who universities cannot afford to fail. University placement services used by some students results in universities not being able to judge the true level of preparedness among their prospects and these students, once admitted, drag down standards in academic programs which impact the quality of education for all.

Earn to learn in Singapore

Government officials in Singapore are now actively discouraging youth from enrolling in university programs. The move is focused on correcting a misalignment between the educational backgrounds and workforce needs of the country. This article indicates that the strategy of encouraging internships and work instead of university attendance may be part of a trend in some developed countries.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

US Department of Homeland Security opens up

The U.S.A. Department of Homeland Security has announced greater flexibility for international students to enroll in academic programs. In addition, guidelines of who can authorize study visas has been broadened. These steps recognize the growing number and the increasing importance of supporting prospects who wish to study in the U.S.A. from other countries.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Turkish educator seeks to open university for Syrian refugees

A Turkish educator has promised $10 million of his own wealth to support the creation of universities to serve Syrian students who are likely to spend the formative years of their youths as refugees in Turkey. The article indicates some caution among Turkish citizens who fear that Syrian citizens will take employment opportunities away from Turkish nationals. However, Enver Yucel, the donor who made his fortune creating private K-12 education institutions in Turkey, says that "refugees left to languish without education or mobility will be a problem for Turkey and the region," noting examples of marginalized groups in Europe who have become prospective recruits for extremist groups.

Hong Kong University students to study in mainland China

A plan to require all Hong Kong University students to study abroad in mainland China by 2022 was announced with mixed response. Concerns raised included how students who have been involved in political protests would be treated and other logistics required in order for all to participate. The core purpose of encouraging all students to broaden their experience appeared not to be in question.

Administrators quickly retracted what it described as "clumsy" remarks regarding mandatory study abroad in mainland China. Seventy-eight percent of Hong Kong University students were found to not want to study in China in a poll, a strong indicator of hesitation about strengthening ties between the former British colony and its larger mainland territory. The ambivalence of Hong Kong students is largely related to perceptions that mainland China is shifting toward more conservative political and social policies.

Monday, April 13, 2015

New Georgetown study proves higher education investment pays off

The investment that the U.S.A. made in mid-20th century paid off in preparing a new generation of workers that would be ready for the knowledge-based economies of the 21st century. While this study (conducted by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce) is of the impact within the U.S.A., the implications for higher education around the world are undeniable. In fact, the impact in developing economies may be even more dramatic as capacity is built for the jobs of the future.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

More investment in higher education in Africa is urged

The investment in higher education in Africa is showing a strong return but those who attended a recent World Bank meeting called for more. Some students are studying abroad, which can be a way for some to acquire the education they need. Developing full capacity of citizens requires much broader education opportunity at the local level.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Webster University's troubles in Thailand

Webster University claims to have a global reach through a variety of programs around the world but the one in Thailand is faltering. This extensive article covers numerous examples of how Webster's Thailand campus is falling short of the promise to deliver comparable educational experiences to those of its home campus in Missouri. One of the areas that has suffered during budget reductions is support to student services, risking not only the quality of the educational experience but safety as well. One of the concerns raised in the article is that those making decisions about the branch campus may not even understand what is involved in a serious academic institution, perhaps due to not having experienced it themselves in their higher education background.

A follow-up article published by Inside Higher Education and referencing an internal review of the Webster campus in Thailand identified a number of short-comings. Most notable was the deficit in student services/affairs.

While Webster University's case brings the question of offering student services/affairs into the spotlight, many of those who advocate student services/affairs in international settings struggle to articulate their value. The reason the case is hard to make is that most of the research on student learning and development, even simple retention, comes out of North America; this results in potential questions of the applicability of the research findings. In addition, student affairs has long been perceived as secondary to the core functions of higher education institutions in North America and elsewhere. Those in North America and around the world who are committed to improving conditions for student learning and development have a shared credibility challenge, although the dynamics may be very different in various national/cultural contexts.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Shift in Chinese higher education policy

Analysts continue to pose questions about shifting policy related to higher education institutions in China. The Times Higher Education indicated that experts are trying to determine what recent statements about not using texts advocating "Western" values and other statements about the need for academic programs to reflect Marxist and socialist values will mean in practice. A couple of interesting replies to the article are posted at the end of the article that also reflect ambivalence in Western circles about the tension between espoused and enacted values as well as the West/East question.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Taiwan to cut higher education sector

The Taipei Times reported that, due to demographic decline of the number of prospects for higher education study, a number of both public and private institutions would draw down enrollment or close. The process of retrenchment while seeking to maintain quality is a precarious challenge. A core consideration should be positioning higher education in ways that maintains the governmental/public commitment and equally benefits the individual as well as contributing to the public good by preparing workers and citizens who will be productive contributors to their passport country.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

China's looming economic challenges likely to impact education

China's commitment to expanding education opportunity may be influenced by the pressure of national debt. Infettered opportunity may be curtailed as the Chinese government seeks to shape the public's perception of what it has offered to its citizens.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Iran enters branch campus movement

Iran is entering the branch campus movement, so reports University World News. Questions about purposes are raised. When British, US and others do the same, are their purposes questioned as well?

Ignorance of international dynamics a risk for USA

American's (USA) ignorance of the world puts all at risk. In particular, politicians suffer from not having citizens who can understand everything from diplomacy to economics. Lack of awareness of world issues at minimum keeps individuals and organizations from engaging critical issues and at its worst leaves citizens vulnerable to crass manipulation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

NYU professor barred from return to Abu Dhabi

Another case in the Middle East is sure to raise academic freedom questions - a professor from NYU was denied entry to a flight going to Abu Dhabi. The issue reported by Inside Higher Education was his research on migrant worker conditions in the country.

Qatar's Education City university partners have studied, published about, and intervened to improve the lives of migrant workers yet none, to my knowledge, have ever been threatened or punished in any way. Not knowing the details of Abu Dhabi, I can't compare. However, the key in the examples from Qatar seemed to be that the students and faculty involved in migrant worker research appeared to be very careful in attributing causes and were also engaged in bringing about positive change. The fact is that migrant workers come to the Arabian Gulf in desperation, are often exploited by private or governmental officials in their own countries, and are often employed by multi-national companies with headquarters in Western countries. To intervene sometimes puts migrant workers at risk of losing their jobs, an outcome with devastating consequences for families in poor home countries. Who's at fault and who's responsible for finding a solution is the question - a very complicated issue that requires discerning and sensitive research.

Additional comment and complications were noted in this Inside Higher Education article. The even more interesting twist came when the New York Times reported that a private investigator had begun inquiries into the activities of the NYU professor and NYT reporter who were linked to the articles criticizing NYU and its Abu Dhabi partnership. The NYT implied that the motivation behind the investigations was that both the professor and the reporter were involved in criticizing migrant worker conditions in Abu Dhabi.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

KAUST (Saudi Arabia) faces questions on academic freedom and future

With Saudi Arabia's punishment of a prominent blogger as a backdrop, the Times Higher Education says that pressure is mounting for the President of KAUST to speak out regarding academic freedom. Enrollment numbers, expenses associated with the KAUST project, and the change of Saudi leadership were noted as additional potential concerns.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Attending to international students in the U.S.A.

An article providing examples of what international students need while studying in the U.S.A. and strategies to meet those needs is available in the March 2015 NASPA Leadership Exchange.

Expatriate workers in international higher education - Roberts

One of my persistent concerns related to internationalization of higher education and student affairs is the effective identification, on-boarding, and support of expatriate workers. Expatriates are often needed to help begin student affairs work in places where it has previously not existed but how they are engaged makes a world of difference. I've just published an article on expatriate workers through the Journal of College and Character. The article, titled Expatriate workers in international higher education, is available free to the first 50 people who follow the link. Otherwise, you will need to be a NASPA member or pay the fee to download the article. The contents could be helpful not only to expatriate workers and those working with them; travelers, study tour participants, consultants and others are likely to encounter similar issues to those I note, although to varying degrees.

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Going Global" conference focuses on opportunity and challenge in emerging systems

Even with the pressure of restrained economies, the growth of the international higher education sector has continued. The "Going Global" conference particularly focused on cost considerations, inequality of access in higher education systems with large prospective populations, and the mismatch between academic programs and workforce needs. One of the largest emerging systems is India, which has adopted community engagement as one of its priorities. Interestingly, the link between workforce preparation and community engagement is not explicitly made in these articles. A promising aspect of the community engagement model is that it includes 5 dimensions that could clearly help with workforce preparation as well as relating higher education programs more directly to the needs of the community.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Defining international parternships

While it's important to quantify what's involved in a partnership, as was discussed at the Association of International Education Administrators meeting, the bigger question for me is the quality of the relationship and how "partnering" benefits all and builds capacity in ways that achieve partner objectives. Those institutions with numerous partnership agreements are likely to be pressed to demonstrate quality outcomes in their efforts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Study Abroad critiqued

The Institute for International Education included a program on study abroad, concluding that U.S.A. students who participate in them need to go deeper. One of the issues addressed that, for convenience and expense, some students choose short one or two week experiences that are completed orchestrated for them rather than diving into a longer semester or year-long experience. Another critique was that U.S.A. students are allowed to take their culture with them and are not asked to adopt to their new environment. Study Abroad is a wonderful introduction to engaging or living abroad but the question is how it can be enhanced for greater impact.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

OECD comparison finds U.S.A. millennials lagging

An OECD comparison of U.S.A. students on Educational Testing Service (ETS) scores shows that they lag behind their peers in a number of other countries. A key variable that was not controlled is the cultural and socio-economic diversity of the sample, with Finland, Japan, Sweden, Netherlands, and Norway coming out on top in ETS-measured outcomes. Still, the fact that contemporary U.S.A. students do not have comparable literacy, numeracy, and problem solving skills may present a vulnerability in the workforce of the future.

International students and institutional/personal identity

A study of international students in the U.S.A. (composed primarily of Chinese and Indian participants) indicates that they do not readily identify with the institutions they attend, a key factor often correlated with retention and success among domesticate students. Alternatives may include groups and events that affirm international students' own cultural identity and sharing it with other students from the U.S.A. and elsewhere.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chinese universities prohibited from using "Western" texts

An announcement that Chinese universities should never use Western texts that denigrate China or Communism may be a slippery slope when it comes to an academic environment. While governments  (including the U.S.A.) may not be pleased at what some academics say or publish, the "free market of ideas" is pivotal in establishing inquiry an innovation.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Berkeley proposes new kind of branch campus model

While the branch campus phenomenon has been documented as expanding around the world with U.S. institutions as the donor and foreign governments or private entities as the hosts, Berkeley has proposed that it establish an international education hub where international universities come to them. Depicted by Jason Lane as a new form of internationalization partnership, Berkeley officials indicate that hosting foreign universities will counteract the problems of academic freedom sometimes encountered in another country. The article also indicates that Berkeley will cash in on its reputation and location in order to make this new model work.

Evidence of Chinese students' challenges in U.S. study

Perhaps the separation that some educators have observed between Chinese international students and their U.S.A. colleagues may be due to alienation resulting from questions or challenges they encounter. A new study reported in Inside Higher Education revealed that comments of U.S. students are sometimes perceived to be hostile or at least reflecting bias and stereotypes, putting Chinese students in an uncomfortable defensive posture.  Faculty and staff could help buffer these interactions if they were better informed about China and were ready to engage in fostering dialogue.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Evidence of higher education impact

The University World News cites more evidence that higher education provides greater economic opportunity for those living in developing economies.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Unemployment among university graduates

While many in higher education bristle at the suggestion that gaining a university degree should lead to a job, unemployment rates of young people with university degrees in many countries is troubling. While career guidance/development practices will necessarily vary by country/culture, international higher education would do well to look at what they can do to help students clarify their intent. Particularly in cultures where family and status have a strong influence on career decision making, it is important to raise the question of interest and expertise so that young people have ways to negotiate these pressures and/or make changes as their work-lives unfold.

Friday, January 16, 2015

University of Illinois' rise in international students

Inside Higher Education provides an article on the University of Illinois and its raising international student numbers. Elizabeth Redden's article poses important possibilities and challenges, particularly in relation to including international students in the full experience of an American university.