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.