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.