Monday, November 28, 2016

ERASMUS a positive influence for EU

It is not surprising that research on those who completed a university degree and especially those who studied in other European countries as part of the ERASMUS agreement have more favorable views of Europe than those who did not. In the ERASMUS Impact Study, 88% of U.K. citizens who studied in another country reported feeling very European and 84% had a positive attitude towards Europe in contrast to the 62% of non-mobile U.K. students.

The impact of university study, especially when coupled with international exposure, is consistent with the pattern among U.S.A. citizens who voted in the recent elections for President. The difference between university graduates' view of the world has become a defining factor in the struggle between those who advocate isolation versus connection and cooperation across international borders.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Australia benefits from Brexit and prospect of Trump Presidency

The political context of a country can and does heavily impacts its attractiveness when international students consider their options. Australia is coming out on top in the face of the implications of the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the U.S.A. The impact isn't small with an average of 20% international students across Australia's higher education sector. Australia's revenues are up 8% to $20 billion ($14.8 billion USD) per year.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Higher education challenged at the core

As the implications of the U.S.A. electing Donald Trump as its next President continue to be explored, some higher education leaders predict rough water ahead as widely accepted core values are challenged. In a speech delivered on campus Columbia's President Lee Bollinger said that, "The denial of climate change, the rejection of the fact of evolution, the attack on free speech, the dissemination of falsehoods deliberately and intentionally that would make George Orwell seem naive and unimaginative, the attack on groups that we celebrate at Columbia and embrace as part of our greatness - these are not political issues. This is where we stand. This is a challenge to what we stand for."

Harvard professor and former President Lawrence Summers who criticized previous diversity efforts on campus now sees the campaign labeling of certain issues as "politically correct" as a way to marginalize their importance. Citing the rise in hate incidents in schools and at universities after the November 8, 2016, election, Summers said "In the face of all this, the president-elect and his staff condemn those who march in protest over his election but as of yet have not forcefully condemned those overt acts of racism, sexism and bigotry the election has stimulated. They have allowed, without adequate response and rejection, the celebration of victory to metastasize into something dark and evil. It is surely wrong to hold the president-elect personally responsible for all the words and deeds of all who support him. Equally, the president-elect has a moral obligation to stand up for tolerance and against intolerance whatever its source."

Student activism appears to be on the rise in higher education around the world and may only be starting to unfold in the U.S.A. Student affairs educators in all countries must look carefully at the role they will play, examine what their institutions expect, and gaze into the future to see what is in the best interest of universities in the longer term. Lack of forethought, silence and complacency may be very costly.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Should U.S. campuses become "safe sanctuaries?"

As U.S. citizens and institutions continue to sort out the implications of Donald Trump's election as President, campuses are considering ways they might become "safe sanctuaries" much like some of the urban centers of NYC, LA, and Chicago. More than two dozen campuses have movements underway to look "for concrete ways to help those individuals who fear the possibility of deportation or loss of opportunities under a Trump presidency."

Monday, November 14, 2016

International students in the U.S.A. increases but is this at risk?

The most recent Open Doors indicated that enrollment of international students in U.S.A. universities increased by 7% in the 2015-16 academic year, topping 1 million in total; the proportion of international students in all of U.S.A. universities stands at 5.2%. While China is the source of over 300,000 of these students (with an 8.1% increase), India, Vietnam, and Nigeria numbers increased at a faster pace.

When the U.S.A. was contemplating the impact of the election of Donald Trump as President, Philip Altbach and Hans de Wit predicted a decline in international student numbers. Their prediction was applicable to a number of countries world-wide that have begun to embrace more "nationalist, anti-globalist and xenophobic governments." Altbach and de Wit included the United Kingdom, Hungary, Poland, the Philippines, and Turkey in this group.

Now that Donald Trump has begun the implementation of his first 100 days, limiting visas and building walls is becoming a reality. Watching the trends, anticipating the impact, and positioning educational opportunity in various national contexts such as the U.S.A. and U.K. will be an important focus of the attention of many in higher education. For some higher education institutions international student enrollment is a substantial part of their revenue. Particularly for the U.S.A., where 10% of total funding comes from international students.

Impact of study abroad positive for Japanese students

A study of the impact of study abroad for Japanese students documents the strong impact it has for developing global workplace skills, adopting a broader view across cultures, and a different way of viewing their career choices. The study included 2,640 participants who studied abroad as undergraduates/graduates compared to a control sample of 1,298 who had not.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Site of branch campuses shifting to Asia

The phenomenon of branches campuses continues to unfold (249) but the location of these is changing. China has been growing at a faster rate than other areas of the world, growing from 13 in 2010 to 32 in 2015. With the largest number of young people seeking advanced education in the world, it is no surprise that China is including branch campuses in its higher education expansion strategies.

An interesting twist on China's increasing number of branch campuses was raised by OBHE Director, Richard Garrett, who offered the opinion that "universities from developing countries that are engaged in setting up branch campuses tend to be 'unusually large institutions' or 'unusually entrepreneurial' and the goal of their foreign provision is to serve a 'specialized' expat group or minority group that wants some home provision that it cannot get locally."

Perhaps meeting both national's and expatriates' higher education needs is the best capacity building strategy. As the number of expatriates from around the world continues to expand (as Khanna predicts), helping countries blend and leverage diverse workforces will be key. Learning to live and learn together in a mix of indigenous and expatriate learners is one of the best ways to teach the value of all when it comes to capacity building.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Could Trump election result in international student numbers falling in the U.S.?

With all that Donald Trump has said about various racial/cultural groups, women, internationals and others, some fear that international student interest in the U.S. may drop. This would be an incredibly unfortunate outcome of Trump's victory at the polls - both in regard to international students being an important part of U.S. domestic students' learning as well as the loss of opportunity for U.S. higher education to help build human capacity around the world.

Having been on campus to consult at one Mid-Western university the day after the election, I observed on thing that gave me hope. The campus was full of cross-cultural interaction of various types - students walking, studying, playing sports, and a variety of things all together. Perhaps knowing that our shared diverse communities are being threatened by ideologic hostility will lead to students valuing that diversity and each other more than ever!

Implications for student affairs educators of Trump election

Student affairs educators in the US are trying to sort out the implications of Donald Trump's election. Kevin Kruger, President of NASPA, advises that maintaining focus and attention on campus climate for international and multicultural students is key. A challenge I would add to those Kruger suggests is seeking to differentiate the hate-motivated Trump supporters from those who seek change in governmental business as usual and economic policy. Trump advocates are diverse and attributing hateful motivations to too many may create more rather than fewer problems.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

India's complications in establishing branch campuses

Branch campuses are most often initiated by U.S.A., British, Canadian, or Australian universities in the Middle East or Asia. A model where branch campuses are established in the U.S.A. by a private university system in India have run into complications, as Elizabeth Redden indicated in her Inside Higher Education essay. The specific case cited involved the purchase of Amity University and resistance expressed by the Massachusetts attorney journal. The article describes concerns raised about foreign entities sponsoring institutions in the U.S.A. along with questions being raised about accrediting agencies sanctioning programs outside the U.S.A.