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...