Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Policy matters in attracting international students

A recent study by economist and education research, Janet Ilieva, demonstrates that national policy decisions directly impact the rise and fall of international students. The analysis demonstrates that countries like New Zealand, Canada, and Australia are gaining ground over the U.K. and U.S.A. because strategic policies are in place to attract international students to study in these countries.

By contrast, not only does the U.S.A. not have a national policy, the Trump administration is considering restrictions that will deter some international students from studying in U.S. universities. The number of students in the U.S.A. may presently be the highest in the world but policy statements and the rising competition around the world could put an end to $39billion in national revenues as well as undermine the role of higher education as a diplomatic measure.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Collaborating for Student Success

One of the most persistent and troubling aspects of U.S. higher education is the division commonly found between faculty and staff. The causes for this are numerous but one that I've addressed in my previous writing (most notably in Deeper Learning in Leadership, Roberts, 2007) is the bureaucratization that emerged when higher education opportunity expanded in the U.S. in the middle of the 20th century. The practical issue was that, as student numbers expanded, roles were segmented according to the management theories of the time; these management theories advocated specialization and hierarchical bureaucracies as being best for the efficient handling of students.

U.S. universities struggle with the impact of a 'divided house' and this is something that international higher education faculty and staff should seek to avoid at all costs. There are institutions that have found ways to bring faculty and staff together and these universities' practices should be replicated or adapted wherever possible. Georgetown University started a collaboration effort over a decade ago and it may be an approach worth considering. Essential to the Georgetown example and any effort undertaken to link faculty and student affairs staff is letting go of a sense of privilege or superiority that often undermines building respectful relationships focused on shared work - helping students be successful.

Monday, December 11, 2017

U.S. admissions staff need to talk with Chinese recruits

Which Chinese students study in U.S. universities and which institutions they attend is a potentially life-changing decision for them. However, many lack a substantive understanding of the process.  Xiaofeng Wan indicates that many Chinese students and their families have misconceptions that need to be corrected about how admissions works and where to place their priorities, a result of reliance on admission agents who have previously served large numbers of Chinese applicants.

The role of high school counselor is new to many Chinese schools and countering the bias toward private agents is difficult to challenge. These counselors urge U.S. college admissions staff to "visit China and meet with students and parents in person" (73%) as well as establish more effective Chinese social media for parents who do not understand English (62%). These are simple steps are probably only the beginning if U.S. institutions want to help Chinese students/families make decisions that are in their best interest.

Friday, December 8, 2017

New strategy for internationalization in Brazil

Brazil is trading its previous efforts to advance internationalization by sending STEM students to study abroad for a new, and less expensive approach. The Capes-Print program redirects a portion of almost US$2 billion spent on "Science Without Borders" to an application process that will allow institutions to identify their own internationalization strategy and pursue it with governmental funding.

The Capes-Print program comes with a more modest pricetag - US$90 million. The goal is to "transform colleges and universities into internationally-oriented institutions. By developing research networks, international cooperation, and the mobility of faculty and graduate students, it will promote change that should benefit more cohorts of students." The move by Brazil represents the challenge faced in other Latin American countries - "to invest in internationalization in order to stay relevant." There is growing realization that higher education institutions should internationalize in order to engage in research and prepare graduates for the dynamics they will face in work and private life.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How Chinese students engage U.S. higher education

With Chinese student numbers increasing so dramatically in the U.S. over the last decade, many educators have struggled to understand how to address their needs. Elizabeth Reddens' review of Inventing the World Grant University: Chinese International Students' Mobilities, Literacies and Indentities (Fraiburg & Wang) suggests that this new book may be a helpful resource.

Redden indicates that Fraiburg & Wang's theoretical grounding is particularly useful. The research for the book was undertaken at Michigan State University, which increased from 600 in 2006 to 4,527 Chinese students in 2016. The influx of Chinese students during this time resulted in some professors teaching courses where domestic U.S. students were in the minority, a dynamic unusual for both professors and students. As a personal anecdote, I frequently travel by train from Chicago to East Lansing (location of MSU) and have enjoyed seeing the dynamic of Chinese students traveling to Chicago for the weekend. The dynamic I've observed that is most disconcerting is that other passengers on the train seem either disinterested or disoriented by Chinese students' presence.

One of the apparent strengths of Fraiburg & Wang's book is that it identifies how Chinese students find supports that allow them to be successful. This is something that is so important for educators to understand; Chinese students have strengths that they bring to their learning. Focusing on these, rather than their deficits, has a much higher likelihood of resulting in both individual student and institutional success.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Future of Undergraduate Education

A new report, The Future of Undergraduate Education, raises concerns about the condition of higher education in the U.S. While the focus is only U.S. institutions, there are likely implications for higher education around the world.

Particular issues addressed in the report include; improving graduation rates, the need to garner public funding, and improving quality. Particularly related to quality and graduation rates, the report advocates improving the quality and relevance of teaching for the "17 million diverse students in many types of programs" that should be helping them learn and develop the "skills and dispositions that will help them succeed in the 21st century U.S." The recommendations are directed primarily at the curriculum and teaching although there is recognition that learning takes place in extra and cocurricular settings.

In addition, the report "asserts that the long-standing debate over the value of a liberal arts education versus a more 'applied' program is a 'false choice.'" In the ideal learning environment, in and out of class experiences would be valued and classroom content would include strong liberal arts and discipline-based mastery of knowledge. The result - students would see that the "ability to work and learn with others, and to disagree and debate respectfully, as a skill essential for a high quality of life and a future of economic success and effective democratic citizenship."

A professor at Knox College, Laura L. Behling, advocates a "whole college - whole student" view that encourages students to relate learning across disciplines as well as across experiences. Based on Martha Nussbaum's "Education for Citizenship in an Era of Global Connection," Behling probed students about their: 1) capacity for living a critically examined life; 2) understanding of other human beings, and; 3) critical imagination. She found that asking students to explore these capacities demonstrated "that there is more to students than just who they are in my class and that all of their courses are presenting them with opportunities for success and challenge." And I would add, that all of their EXPERIENCES could be explored for even greater impact.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Liberal Arts in the global era

Liberal arts institutions in the U.S. have experienced considerable criticism over the years for their lack of practical outcomes - particularly related to workplace preparation. Global trends indicate that 36% of the non-U.S. liberal arts programs can now be found in Asia with the explicit purpose of preparing students for rapid global change that requires graduates to have skills and character traits of "creativity, innovation, adaptability, collaboration, and communication." These attributes are perceived to be essential to individual success and they are the bread and butter of liberal education. in the U.S.

The challenge of liberal education in the U.S. has been that it has most often been confined to elite and smaller institutions. Criticism has also been asserted by current U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, who believes there should be more focus on job training and internships as a way to expand educational access; these kinds of programs would most likely be offered through 2-year institutions or through certificate training programs. With the U.S. apparently on the verge of backing off the importance of a broad (liberal) education, and with the growing advocacy for liberal arts in China, China may soon be an international leader as it experiments with liberal arts innovations that are scalable to larger numbers of students.

As we advocated in Enhancing Student Learning and Development in Cross-Border Higher Education (Roberts & Komives, eds., 2016), utilizing educational practices may not be directly applicable, or even appropriately adapted, from one cultural context to another. Liberal arts approaches in the U.S. were most prominent in colonial colleges, which were based on British elite institutions. The intent of these institutions was to educate elite, white men for professions such as ministry and law and to prepare them as public servants in government. The liberal arts approach is still very much a part of elite institutions in the U.S. and those who attend these institutions are offered select networks and educational opportunities that other U.S. citizens do not have. The later education policy changes exemplified in the Land Grant movement of the late 19th century or the G.I. Bill of the 1950s were the first concerted efforts to increase access to higher learning; broadening access did not take place at elite institutions but in public institutions that were much more focused on preparing students for workplaces that would drive national prosperity.

The point here is to question the transferability of the liberal arts model to other cultures and to encourage careful consideration about the assumptions of the model and how it could/should be adapted by institutions outside of a Western context. Liberal arts approaches cultivated talent and intellect among the elite for both work and public service. Is this what it now represents and is this purpose understood by those embracing it as exemplary educational practice? If China knew that liberal arts originated out of a commitment to education elite citizens for democratic participation, would they still want to adopt its philosophy? If they know, then what about liberal arts practices might be different especially if the attempt is to expand the number of graduates with this type of education?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sexual education for international students

A topic that I've not seen raised very often is how to educate students about sexual mores and expectations in the environment where they study. A recent essay by Sharla Reid and Jill Dunlap encourages educators to consider what should be modified in the approach with international students in order to be effective.

Although Reid and Dunlap write in ways that reflect a U.S. context, the issue of sexual education is relevant regardless of the cultural/national context. They advise that the "lack of understanding of what domestic students consider to be social norms and sexual cues - like "no means no" - can lead to confusing or awkward situations. Or worse, those misunderstandings can make international students vulnerable to victimization."

Having worked in an environment (Middle East) where physical contact of any type was forbidden, students of other cultures sometimes struggled mightily to figure out what they could or should do in relation to any show of affection. In this situation, missteps of any kind could lead not only to confusing or awkward situations but to disciplinary or legal action. I am also sadly aware of international students from the Middle East who were sexually assaulted while studying in the U.S.; naiveté was a significant contributor to their vulnerability. In both of these examples, sexual education and candor could have prevented the very negative experiences that arose primarily from a lack of awareness. Beyond awareness, international students need guidance on protective measures to keep them from exploitation and abuse.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Internationalization in India

A call for education zones that highlight India's higher education sector may be a way to retain more young people in India's institutions as well as attract students from other countries. The number of Indian students studying around the world has been increasing as its youth population swells. Predictions were that Indian student numbers would eclipse those of Chinese students, however, if India is successful in improving quality and gaining greater visibility, more students may stay at home.

A follow up article noted that India has a long way to go in order to be attractive to international students. Citing the state of Kerala as an example, international students have come there to escape conflict in their own countries or to take advantage of the low cost of living and fees. Two secondary effects of increasing the number of international students are: "foreign students from different backgrounds interact and influence each other in the host country; foreign students and members of the local community have a mutual impact on one another." These are not break-through outcomes but they do reflect a growing awareness of the value of universities courting students from other countries.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Student flows around the world

The explosion of mobility in student populations has caused many colleges and universities to increasingly look at international students as a source of revenue enhancement. The latest OECD figures show a slowdown that may reflect a longer-term decline, potentially impacting the international enrollment growth that Pew Research found was plugging budget gaps for many institutions.

Some countries are bucking the trend of flat or declining enrollment. Canadian institutions report a 10.7% increase overall with British Columbia adding 15.6% to its international student enrollment. This is in contrast to research indicating that U.S. international student numbers dropped across a sample of institutions by 7%.

More recent data reported on December 11, 2017, in U.S. News and World Report indicated that current enrollment in U.S. institutions is down 3.3%. Some states are up and others down with a trend of international students preferring institutions that are near more diverse urban areas. The five states with the highest international student enrollment are California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Illinois.

U.S. News and World Report identified six generalizations that education leaders should know about international students in the U.S. The advice included that international student enrollment increased every year for the last eleven until the most recent year (2016-17) when it declined. The international numbers grew most among postgraduate students beginning in the 2013-14 year. The flattening or decline in U.S. international enrollment varied in both proportion and attribution with one possible factor in common - that other countries have targeted strategies to increase international student enrollment, something lacking in the U.S. under the Trump administration.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Working for Georgetown in Qatar

A new book, written by a professor at Georgetown University's branch campus in Qatar, sheds light on the challenges and possibilities of the branch campus model. Elizabeth Redden's summary captures some of the key tensions one confronts when working abroad in educational settings different than the context of the home campus. A quote from the book that captures the essence of the struggle of working in such a setting, "People say you shouldn't be there because it's not a democracy, which it isn't, and you have autocratic rulers, which they are, but that's kind of where you want to be, isn't it?" captures my sentiment after working in Qatar myself.

Especially in light of the Saudi Arabia and UAE led blockade of Qatar and the unsettled international relations evident among Arabian Gulf countries, Wasserman's book may be worth a read by educators, politicians, and others.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

France invests in higher education

France has committed to investing 1 billion Euro in higher education. The investment will include increasing seats in popular academic programs and as many as 60,000 new spots in student residences. The move is designed to increase student success and graduation rates.

I traveled in France, Luxembourg, and Germany in the fall of 2005 to compare practices in supporting students in these three countries. What's interesting is that the model for residence halls at that time was primarily one of comfortable accommodation with little understanding that providing residence halls could impact retention. When I inquired about retention rates, those I met indicated that they did not know and, further, their institutions did not track these numbers. Some of the institutions provided very interesting cross-cultural programming that looked much like what was being done in the U.S.; in many ways it was better because it was often connected with academic programs.

The lesson is that sometimes organic approaches to student development emerge (in international settings) without the explicit attention to research and theorizing. I wonder if France will begin to put implicit good practice together with more explicit attention, thus yielding improved retention and learning outcomes in the coming years.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Studying in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Few students from the U.S. and Europe study in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The reasons are many and include everything from language to fear of security. In reality, higher education opportunity in MENA is widespread, growing, and offers one of the most important cross-cultural experiences a student could find anywhere. An article about higher education in Morocco recounts ways that faculty, staff, and students can begin to explore educational opportunity in the MENA region and provides evidence why it would be useful.

I can recall to this day all the comments I heard from colleagues when I moved to Qatar. "Will you be safe?" "How will you deal with the prohibitions of Islamic law and culture?" These and other questions reflected little more than stereotypes held by westerners about the people and culture of the MENA region. The bottom line was that I was probably safer in Qatar than I am in the U.S. and I learned what I could and couldn't do and respected the culture of the host country. It took some effort to adapt and, certainly, I often found myself out of my comfort zone. Could there have been a better learning opportunity - doubtful I could have found anything better and I hope others will consider it in the coming years.

Dining in America

Written to acknowledge the importance of adapting menus at U.S. universities to accommodate international tastes, Anayat Durrani provides examples of how campuses are diversifying their menus. The added benefits are that she encourages international students to be active in expressing their needs, all students have the opportunity to expand their palates, and "comfort" foods from international students' home countries can go a long way toward creating a sense of belonging. This is a simple idea that some educators may see as coddling but adopting international perspectives in the dining hall can even be part of an institution's internationalization strategies.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Talent Pipeline Management - business and education partnership

Adding to the continuing conversation related to how education can more strategically align with businesses and communities, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has launched the Talent Pipeline Management Academy. The TPM applies concepts derived from supply chain management to the process of talent development through education. The ultimate end of the supply chain in TPM is workers prepared for their workplaces as defined by employers.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Testing international students

Access, fraud, and fairness of comparison are all dynamics that compromise testing of international students. The National (U.S.) Association of College Admission Counseling is proposing that admissions officials should rely less on the tests and look at other criteria for admission. In the face of declining international enrollment, perhaps tests should be seen less as hurdles to clear than diagnostics to help place and support international (and all) students in their pursuit of learning.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

STEM Grad programs dominated by international students

The presence of international students isn't only useful but essential in many STEM graduate programs in the U.S.A. With 81% international enrollment in electrical and petroleum engineering and 79% in computer science, many programs could not exist if it were not for international students. The report, compiling data from 1995 to 2015, also concluded that international student enrollment has no impact on the number of domestic students in these programs. The issue is that domestic numbers have increased but at a much slower pace than for international students.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Higher education in Hungary under attack

Internationalization of higher education is inevitable if an institution or nation wishes to remain at the center of the advancement of knowledge. Yet, various versions of conservative and nationalistic backlash against internationalization have resulted in higher education being attacked by government officials. Hungary is one European country to follow carefully due to its earlier successes with student mobility and other forms of internationalization. Most of the advances are now being undermined. One can only hope that other countries do not go as far to punish and marginalize higher education for helping to bring citizens into the reality of a connected and cross-border world.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) inverts educational transfer

In its reported first of its kind initiative, Washington University (U.S.A.) AND Tsinghua University (China) have opened a joint university about 10 minutes from WU's Bellevue location.  The programs are starting small, with 43 students in the entry 15-month master of science in technology and innovation program. Generously supported by a 40 million dollar grant from Microsoft, the idea appears to have considerable appeal for learners (the term used instead of students), institutions, industry, and cross-national partners.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Linguistically inclusive student experiences

With the growing diversity of languages that Americans speak as well as the diversity of languages spoken at many campuses around the world, it's important to understand the privilege those who command English as their first language have over other students. Most U.S. colleges/universities conduct instruction in English and many international institutions offer a portion if not all of their instruction in English. The reason - English has emerged as the dominant language of academia.

Engaging in or out of class in a language that is not your first, or most proficient, language is challenging. Yet, many students are willing to take it on because they value the degree, with most subjects including reading, lectures, and discussion all in English. This is a type of privilege that is not readily recognized by those who are first-language English speakers.

A doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts, Florianne Jimenez, offers wise advice on how to modify classrooms so that they are inclusive of students who speak many languages. She makes the point that, although faculty may perceive that discussions in class are open and inviting, they are intimidating to multilingual students. Starting discussion with something students wrote, slowing the pace by writing something on the board, or asking students to reflect for a moment, are all ways to provide space for all students to participate. When it comes to grading written assignments, faculty should focus on what they understand from a student's writing rather than the grammar, punctuation, and other problems.

Linguistic inclusion is also important outside of class and student affairs staff could adapt Jimenez' advice by slowing down discussions in student organizations, encouraging students to actually express in their first language, or simply slowing down enough to listen carefully so the perspective of others is really understood.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

U.K. conservative pushes for increased higher education access

In a move to influence conservative U.K. politicians, Nick Hillman, a conservative himself, published A New Blue Book that advocates 70% attendance of young people in British universities. The reasoning includes the decline of incoming highly educated talent resulting from Brexit, increases in life expectancy of Brits, and a shift in workforce needs requiring more highly educated workers. Recognizing the push-back by conservatives when Tony Blair advocated 50% attendance, Hillman indicated, "at its worst, right-wing politics can sink into a 'them and us' attitude." Constructing the argument as a win-lose proposition is not unlike the political struggles in other countries, a sad reality that undermines the shared need of most countries for a more highly educated talent pool in a rapidly changing 21st century environment.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Higher education - preparing for work or life?

One of the common debates in U.S. higher education is whether attending university should be primarily about preparing for work or life. I've always believed this was a false dichotomy that needed to be challenged. Gloria Cordes Larson, President of Bentley University, apparently addresses this in her book, PreparedU: How Innovative Colleges Drive Student Success. Inside Higher Education's report of conversation with Larson included her saying, "A business graduate, for example, needs to know the technical skills of their discipline, but that is no longer enough on its own. Critical thinking, complex problem solving, empathy, creativity and communication skills are all necessary in today's work environment."

Liberal or general education courses that cultivate the hard (they are not "soft" as some would suggest) skills of complex critical thinking, problem solving, etc. are necessary for graduates in most degree programs and the liberal arts contribute essential perspectives. Student affairs, with its focus on students' experience, also has much to offer. Acquiring these essential skills/perspectives will improve both the quality of life and workplace performance.

Monday, October 2, 2017

What top Chinese and U.S. universities share

Recent analyses of the financial resources and trends in funding China's top universities indicates that China and the U.S. share many commonalities. Both the sources of funding and size of institutional budgets are generally in line with each other. The question is if China's aspiration to overtake U.S. and other western countries in higher education outcomes are realistic if the comparative circumstances of its institutions are roughly parallel. Perhaps the claim that Chinese superiority is eminent is overestimated.

Study abroad linked to job skills

The Institute for International Education's latest survey of students who studied abroad confirmed the link between their experience and important job skills and offers of employment. Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed reported that study abroad was discussed in job interviews and 53% said that they believed an offer of employment was related to the experience and skills/insights they gained.

Determining the benefits of international exposure is important to building support for these experiences. The documentation that the "majority of students (more than 70 percent) reported that studying abroad helped them, to a significant degree, to develop intercultural skills, flexibility/adaptability, self-awareness, curiosity and confidence" justifies a claim to victory and also points the way to the need for more research.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Threats to academic freedom = threat to democracy

The Scholars at Risk issued a report covering incidents over the last year from travel restrictions to firings that undermine academic freedom. Adding concern to the annual report, the Executive Director noted, "What you're seeing I think is an erosion of respect for the idea that society tolerates questions. And when the state starts to punish people simply for asking questions, that's not just a threat to academic freedom, that's a threat to democracy. Obviously, if the generally rights-respecting states are having their own democracy erode, they're less viable partners in trying to help states that have bigger security problems."A directive from the Chinese Ministry of Education is only one example where the threat of controlled speech may impact academic freedom for all types of higher education institutions.

Educators and political figures in the U.S. are embroiled in debate over the boundaries that should be observed in order to protect dissent and free speech. When Attorney General Sessions was scheduled to speak at Georgetown University's School of Law, reflecting a commitment to freedom of thought in speech in itself, faculty and students protested his appearance. The faculty were particularly careful to indicate that they did not object to Sessions' appearance but were protesting a wide variety of positions Sessions has taken during his political career. While protestors demonstrated outside the venue where Sessions was scheduled to speak, Sessions himself decried the restrictions he claimed are being imposed regarding free speech on many college campuses.

The link between academic freedom and democracy is long and deep. John Dewey's advocacy for democratic classrooms in the early 20th century served as one of the pillars of student affairs work and Dewey's influence in China was so profound that the Communist party banned reference/use of  his philosophy when it came to power. Protecting academic freedom is key to unfettered research, learning, and the advancement of knowledge; maybe that's why it was such a threat to China and is so widely disputed on many campuses.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Civic learning in a divisive era

Creating campus environments that are welcoming to students from broad domestic and international backgrounds is essential to attracting and retaining diverse students and it is also central to preparing all students for the interconnected world in which we live. Carol Geary Schneider wrote an essay on The Equity-minded civic learning all Americans need advocating that "Overcoming long histories of exclusion, estrangement and simmering distrust will further require the creation of curricular pathways - from school through college - that are well designed to build all graduates' capacity and commitment to engage difficult differences, work collaboratively on tough problems and create over time a more just and equitable future."

While Schneider's essay is directed at U.S. educators and confined to the curriculum, those who work outside of classroom settings have much to offer to the conversation. Creating inclusive environments for students who study in other countries, no matter whether the U.S. or elsewhere, is a common challenge throughout the world.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

U.S.A. Title IX not applicable to on-line

A recent court decision has determined that the U.S.A. Title IX, a measure designed to protect students from sexual harassment, is not applicable to international students who study on-line. The ruling may open the way to questions about the appropriateness of other U.S.A. laws imposed in different course contexts. As one example, branch campuses at Education City in Doha, Qatar, assert that all U.S.A. laws are applicable, including the Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA) and Clery Act, for all students regardless of nationality. While the Title IX case related to on-line courses may be a narrow decision, it highlights both jurisdictional as well as cultural standards across national borders.

Controversy over colonialism

The Third World Quarterly recently published an article by Bruce Gilley, an associate professor at Portland State University, advocating a return to colonialism in some circumstances. The publication of the article has now resulted in resignation of several of its editorial board members who claim the article was not properly reviewed and that it did not meet the standards required for publication.

Although the article may well have not met standards, it is also interesting to ponder the possibility that the idea of colonialism is so repugnant to academics that it was too hot to handle in the Third World Quarterly.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Policy determination in international higher education

Who is involved and the drivers associated with policy determination in the international higher education sector impacts many stakeholders in very real ways. A helpful reflection on European officials and how they engage in policy formation provides a broad picture of how the Bologna Process has shaped the present and future of European universities.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Chinese students - some happy and some stressed

As any population group, students from China are diverse and come to university study with a broad number of strengths and challenges. Two separate articles paint that picture in graphic ways. The first article references a lifestyle study conducted by Sodexo that identified U.S.A. domestic students having great anxiety about paying for college. By contrast, the Chinese students in the sample (who studied either in the U.S.A. or U.K.) reported the least concern about paying for college. The second article reflected the disillusionment over job opportunities among Chinese students who returned to China after studying abroad. The salary advantage that study abroad previously ensured to Chinese students has been eroding, a particularly troubling change in the face of the significant sacrifices made by many Chinese parents who have funded their study.

The lesson for higher education faculty, staff, and domestic students is not to assume that Chinese students are all privileged. As with any cultural group, there is great diversity and assuming unanimity is not only inappropriate but may add to the pressure any group that is stereotyped experiences.

DACA and its impact

The latest media saturation includes a number of issues (hurricanes, debt ceiling deal, Ivanka's stop by Daddy's office, and a declining portion dedicated to Russian meddling) but a portion of it remains to focus on President Trump's repeal of DACA. As we now know, the direction is anything but clear. It looks as if President Trump is kicking the issue to legislators with the potential for them to actually take action to confirm President Obama's original action in protecting the young people who came to the U.S. as children, many of whom are now in colleges and universities throughout the nation.

The many declarations of support for those protected by DACA indicate that the 800,000 or so young people in this category are law-abiding, striving for a better life, may comprise a significant proportion of health professionals, and any number of other positive attributes. Higher education is making it clear - we want DACA students and it makes no sense to put them under stress or particularly at risk of deportation.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

International enrollment in the U.S.A. - and the figures are coming in

Much ambivalence has been expressed over the last several months about international student enrollment in U.S.A. institutions. The figures are now coming in and they indicate a mixed bag. Some institutions are down precipitously but others are holding their own. The predictions are that higher prestige universities will see less decline. In addition, those institutions that have carefully planned their enrollment and made sure that international students' needs are being met will not suffer but those who have simply ridden the international enrollment wave for financial gain will struggle.

In the face of the hostility expressed by the Trump administration and rising costs of attendance, those institutions fighting back appear to focus on the safety of their campuses and creating a broad commitment to hospitality for international students.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Global workers needed!

A growing number of people now work globally, moving around the world from job to job and country to country. This trend is only accelerating and will be a norm for many types of workers moving more deeply into the 21st century.

So, what does a global worker look like?  A Harvard Business School article indicates that there are five key skills that are characteristic of those who now work abroad, a good indicator of what will be required of future global workers

These are perspectives and skills that higher education, and leadership educators more specifically, need to cultivate in their students. And they aren't that difficult!

Prime Minister of U.K., Theresa May, reported erroneous figures

In the battle for internationalization in the U.K., reports are now that Prime Minister, Theresa May, was party to misreporting figures to make it look as if students studying at U.K. universities overstayed their visas. New indications are that very few did as claimed and now U.K. higher education officials and students are pushing back.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Ideological control in China

After government inspectors identified ideological weakness among faculty, seven Chinese universities have established departments to review and oversee how to reinforce the ideological focus that has been a part of education in China.

To pretend that Western universities don't have an ideological center trivializes what faculty and staff seek to accomplish. Western views related to freedom of thought, critical inquiry, challenging authority, and progressivism are some of the most prominent ideological perspectives that conservatives in Western countries fear. The reality that these ideas are present and advocated is clear and the question that has to be raised is what do these ideologies have to do with the life of the mind? Research and theorizing on the impact of university education indicates that progressive values are absorbed to varying degrees by students who attend Western institutions. Some researchers even bemoan the fact that the impact is not greater which is a clear statement of intent. A large proportion of faculty and staff in Western institutions would embrace freedom of thought and critical inquiry as essential to higher education outcomes and this is exactly what is being targeted in China.

Four years ago Chinese universities were told to avoid topics such as universal values, press freedom, and civil rights. Now there are mechanisms to evaluate whether or not these topics have been eradicated and if the values of Marxism are being supported. The question looming in the background is if the ideological press of Marxism in China can be construed and cultivated in ways that are consistent with the values that most Western universities have found central to the qualities of advanced learning.

The most frightening aspect of commitment to ideologically control academic messages is that some Chinese students have turned to 'snitching' on professors who dare to counter the orthodoxy of the Party.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Learning outcomes open window to purposeful learning

Cathy N. Davidson, a CUNY faculty member and author of soon to be released book on revolutionizing the university in order to prepare students for a global future, advises in her essay that the "key to successful learning is for the learner to be aware of what the given knowledge will add to their goals and their life." She goes on to say, "We do a poor job helping students translate the specific content or knowledge gained in our classrooms into a tool (informational, conceptual, methodological, epistemological or affective) that will help them thrive in life. If higher education doesn't do that -- if it isn't geared to helping students succeed beyond the final exam and after graduation -- they why bother?"

Professor Davidson's realizations were sparked by a workshop on designing learning outcomes and her own commitment to involving students in determining what they want to learn based on the assertions of education philosophers such as John Dewey, Paulo Friere, bell hooks, and Carol Dweck.

The realizations that Davidson recounts can and should be exploited by those who value holistic learning and particularly by those who work in student affairs. Since its official founding through the "Student Personnel Point of View" in 1937, student development educators have always sought to teach through experience-based learning and they have connected this learning to the reality of what students need to learn in order to be effective in their workplaces and communities. Student affairs educators have also been at the head of the "learning outcomes" movement. It's time to connect with faculty who are now beginning to value these perspectives as well.

Friday, August 25, 2017

International student ambassador - a chance to learn and help

Those who have traveled or studied abroad (including faculty, staff, and students) can be a huge resource to international students studying on your campus. "Study International" offers some helpful advice on how being an ambassador to international students can serve students well. It shouldn't only be about how serving as a gracious host to international students can benefit students.

Having an international ambassador cohort can do many things: 1) it can make the transition and ultimate experience of international students much more positive, impacting retention, satisfaction, and the richness of the experience for internationals; 2) it establishes an advocacy group on campus to support the broader comprehensive internationalization schemes some institutions are now launching; 3) it can help ambassadors maintain language proficiency when they speak in the first language of internationals; and 4) it renews the experience of traveling, studying, or working abroad.

Having taught abroad for Miami University and then working for Qatar Foundation for 7 years, I still relish the incredible experiences I had engaging with people from other countries and cultures and every time I encounter someone different from me, I renew the excitement of traveling and living abroad.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The "diversity" question facing higher education graduates

Inside Higher Education's "Career Advice" offered advice to graduate students when they face questions in interviews about diversity experience and advocacy. The other question that might be asked is what are graduate programs doing to introduce their students to domestic and international diversity experiences during their study?

International alumni relations

Some U.S.A. campuses are beginning to court international alumni. This is one of those very interesting U.S.A. practices that may need to be modified in order to be successful among the growing number of alumni distributed around the world. The traditional model may not work, especially if the leading message is solicitation for donations.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Funding for U.S.A. students to study or research beyond borders

Two institutions, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Colby College, are now providing funding so that financial ability does not restrict students' opportunity to have an international experience. The experience at WPI includes the possibility of working on a global project with other students at over 40 centers around the world. In this case, the focus on inquiry learning related to topics deemed critical to the local environment has great potential to take students deeper into the locations where they study.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Patriotic internationalism

In an Inside Higher Education essay Patti McGill Peterson who guided ACE's Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement from 2011-16 offers sobering advice to those who advocate for internationalization in higher education. She links internationalization to the opportunity of redefining patriotism in the 21st century by saying, "Rather than national pride and loyalty leading to xenophobia, we have an opportunity and an obligation to widen the discussion and to present patriotism in a very different light as part of our advocacy for internationalization. We will need to show that patriots of the best stripe see global connection and cooperation as essential to our national welfare."

Monday, August 14, 2017

AIEA standards for Senior International Officers

The Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) now provides standards of practice for those who serve in Senior International Officer positions throughout higher education. Providing standards is one of the most important signs that a work area has "professionalized" with a body of knowledge and expected best practices for it to be effective.

It is gratifying that the first two of the twenty-one standards are; 1) comprehensive internationalization that impacts the three principal aims of the academy (teaching, research, and service) and 2) recognizes the centrality of the curriculum and co-corriculum in preparing students for participation in an increasingly interconnected, divers, and rapidly changing world.

Congratulations to AIEA for moving forward to advocate for approaches and practices that will help higher education be more effective in preparing their graduates for the world of the future.

International enrollments in the U.S.A. - Is the sky falling?

An update from the American Council on Education's Higher Education Today ends with, "working to ensure that international students feel safe, welcome and supported on our campuses is most certainly good policy and practice." It's so good to see ACE putting the emphasis where it needs to be - making sure that international students have an exceptional experience studying in the U.S.A.

The update questions if the current political and policy environment under the Trump administration is deterring students from considering U.S.A. institutions, which has been raised in numerous other articles such as the Chronicle of Higher Education. The report indicates that it's still too early to tell but hopes are that the decline in international students will only be small and in line with the fact that students around the world now have many more choices available to them, mostly in their home countries.

In the face of the possibilities of decline in international numbers, the "You are welcome here" campaigns continue to launch to counter the negative perceptions that may be emerging among international applicants.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Educational diplomacy - winning in Saudi-led blockade of Qatar

The role of educational capacity building, specifically through higher education, can have implications beyond just better educated citizens prepared for work and community development. Amid the ongoing updates about the Saudi Arabia-led blockade of Qatar, the power of educational diplomacy has emerged as a key factor.

For now, two months into the blockade, Qatar is doing pretty well. Specifically, the higher education sector is pursuing matters in a calm ‘business as usual’ way. Additional reports indicate that food shortages that initially occurred due to panic have been addressed by other countries providing all that Qatar needs. Qatar has also moved to greater self-sufficiency by doing things like creating a dairy industry out of nowhere in a matter of weeks.

How does educational diplomacy work? In two examples Qatar’s investment in its university partnerships are paying off very well. The first is in relation to developing a free media industry that cannot be easily questioned (which Saudi, UAE, and others questioned in relation to Al Jazeera). Northwestern University’s new building in Qatar’s Education City just opened and is an amazing example of Qatar’s dedication to fostering robust and free media and in ways that are really unmatched elsewhere in the world.

While I’ve not seen official statements from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, a Professor of International Relations & Gulf Studies, Gerd Nonneman (@GerdDoha) offers regular comment about the situation in Qatar. His Twitter account indicates that his Tweets do no represent views of employers which is what one might expect. However, his academic freedom at GSFS-Q and in Qatar itself, allows him to comment and he has offered numerous points that discredit the Saudi coalition blockade and reiterate the balanced role Qatar plays, and has been playing, in the Arabian Gulf region.

Regardless of the initial statements made by U.S.A. President Trump when he was being manipulated by Saudi Arabia, he equivocated on his original statements and Secretary of State Tillerson has made it clear throughout the blockade that Qatar was a good partner to the U.S. StateDepartment and that it was in the best interest of the U.S. to continue to work toward resolution and rebalancing the relationships among the warring GCC countries.

Educational diplomacy is very powerful. It develops trustable relationships and ones where transparency and authentic problem solving can take place. Those who believe that military armament and intervention is more effective need only look at the long game. In the case of Qatar, smaller and less visible than Saudi Arabia on the world stage just two months ago, seems to be winning through its alternative educational diplomacy, begun over twenty years ago and now paying off in very significant ways.

Monday, July 31, 2017

China imposes cultural expectations in higher education

As China's higher education institutions continue to rise in international rankings and the number of international students attending university in China now ranks #4 in the world, the government reiterates that party cultural/political expectations are still required. The view that Chinese higher education must adhere to cultural/political expectations has been reiterated in previous actions but the recent statement that "higher education must make foreign students aware of 'Chinese law and regulations, school regulations, national spirit and school spirit, traditional Chinese culture and customs and other elements in its education content'" makes it clear - anyone who studies in China must conform to the cultural expectations of the country. In addition, traditions other than those celebrated as part of Chinese culture are prohibited.

The interesting question is in what ways would dissent from Congress of Party Leaders edicts be a threat to China? The answer is - in many ways. Restrictions on cultural and political activity are a way of controlling the liberalizing effect of higher education that has been evident in many countries throughout the world. Indeed, the fear of this liberalizing effect among political conservatives in the U.S. reflects the same skepticism. The threat, perceived and probably real, is that independence of thought, critical thinking, and willingness to act on one's convictions is often an outcome of attending university. These traits are highly sought for their impact in advancing science, innovation, and creativity but they are inconvenient for governments that seek to maintain control of their citizens.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Advising international students on higher education choice

A new study of international students who attended high school in the U.S.A. revealed that counselors need help. The needs range from speaking with international students with poor English skills to how to deal with 3rd party agents, a practice used by 75% international students (90% in private schools) when they apply to U.S. colleges/universities.

At the core of the question of advising international students on where to study is fit. A recent U.S. News Report article indicates that the primary fit areas are; the academic programs available, the extra/cocurricular environment, affordability, and the degree to which students can count on reaching their career objectives.

As an editorial comment, what are high schools doing whose international students speak such poor English that counselors can't work with them? Not a good statement...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Academic talent for hire?

In the face of the U.K.'s "Brexit" vote and the perceptions that the Trump Presidency will negatively impact higher education and research support, some countries are throwing out the welcome mat and offering significant packages. The U.K. is defending its research position and Canada, France, and Germany have established new funding sources to lure U.S. researchers to their countries. Canada's initiative was reportedly stimulated by inquiries from U.S. researchers who have expressed interest in relocating.

It remains to be seen how successful the funding strategy will be to encourage academic relocations. Some faculty in the countries offering the research packages have raised questions about targeting only international faculty as well as the fact that the grants are to individuals, which neglects to support the critical importance of collaborative research.

Regardless of the impact, the message is clear - academics are nervous about the Trump Presidency and other countries intend to take advantage of the opportunity.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Economic mobility and college attendance

The rationale for governmental and personal investment in higher education attendance are many and are widespread especially in the growing international higher education institutions across the world. Fostering talent and improving employment prospects are often noted by governments as reasons they support higher education attendance. Tied to talent development and employment is ultimately economic benefit for the country as well as individual students.

A report of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Research found that college attendance varies widely across socio-economic status (SES), which is commonly assumed to be true. The report also confirmed that higher SES families' children are 77 times more likely to attend Ivy League colleges, recognized by many as one of the primary ways that SES privilege is perpetuated across generations. However, there are also benefits to low and middle SES families and students. For example, those from lower SES families who attend elite universities receive similar economic earnings increases to those of higher SES families.

One of the most significant findings of the report was that potential future earnings vary widely across types of institutions. Specifically, the bottom to top SES movement of students is most likely to increase at certain mid-tier public universities, noting particularly the California state college system and the City University of New York.

The findings of this study may not be replicable across countries but the economic benefit to students and families should certainly be considered when governments invest in higher education opportunity for young people. If the greatest benefit for all is the goal, the U.S. experience would suggest that investment in quality mid-tier public universities is the way to go.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

On-line education opportunity for refugees

In a unique initiative designed to help one of the communities most at risk, Southern New Hampshire University has been offering on-line learning to refugee communities. Recent gifts to the university will serve as demonstration initiatives to assess the potential of offering programs in other countries; Kenya, Lebanon, and two other countries yet to be chosen are included in the next phase. SNHU has been a leader in on-line and competency-based education, both of which could be perfectly aligned to serve refugee groups.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Trump proposals will make U.S.A. less attractive for international students and entrepreneurs

Continuing to act on statements he made during his campaign, President Trump is moving to make it harder to get into as well as stay in the U.S.A. for study and work. The first proposal would require international students to apply every year for a study visa rather than applying once for the full period of study. Increasing the bureaucratic hassle as well as increasing uncertainty from year to year is likely to discourage some international applicants, a "serious concern" raised by twelve higher education associations who have registered opposition to the new requirement.

In a second action, Trump administration officials have determined to rescind a provision that would "allow international entrepreneurs who have 'demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation that would provide a significant public benefit to the United States' to stay in the U.S. for a renewable 30-month term."

Friday, July 7, 2017

Yield from offer of admission to attendance varies for international students in U.S.

July is the time of year when all those involved in recruitment/admission in U.S. institutions are watching yield - the percentage of those admitted who are accepting the opportunity to attend. The latest survey results of Institute of International Education and graduate deans indicate that there is only a small decline in the anticipated number of international students who will attend U.S. institutions this fall. However, the degree of decline is very different in some areas of the country - most notably the southern U.S. While not conclusive, the suspected causes of the decline in southern universities include; fears regarding safety from violence, challenges of obtaining study visas, and hostile climate for internationals.

The article summarizing the projected yields and enrollments for Fall of 2017 indicated that international students are increasingly cautious about their choices and that they study all available information before making their decision. The impact of public statements seen as reflecting anti-internationalist views are considered and it appears international students choose to avoid places where these dynamics are perceived most prevalent.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Value of intercultural relationships

It's common for educators to laud the benefits of intercultural relationships in workplaces but Columbia University and other researchers have identified an added benefit - they contribute to creativity and innovation.

"People who had deep connections with someone from another culture experience growth in creativity - but this creative boost does not occur when people only have shallow connections with people from other cultures," said Adam Galinsky, Chair of the Management Division at Columbia Business School. In addition, he commented, "For example, we have consistently found that people who have lived abroad have an increase in creativity, but that travel abroad has very little effect. The deeper your connection, the deeper your understanding of this other culture, and the more creative you're going to become."

The full findings will be published in Journal of Applied Psychology at a future date.

Attracting international researchers

In the face of uncertainty regarding international student numbers, some institutions and countries are turning to attract international researchers to move across borders. The U.K., Canada, and France are at the head of the line, offering handsome grants to attract researchers to relocate within their universities. The French government's initiative, Make Our Planet Great Again, takes an obvious jab at U.S. President Trump's mantra, a mantra that has sent a chilling message around the world regarding mobility across borders.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Regional universities in Japan struggle

Sustaining the decline in college-age youth isn't easy for Japanese universities. With students preferring to attend university in Tokyo, smaller regional universities struggle to reach their enrollment goals. The National Governors' Association of Japan has proposed that the number of new programs offered in Tokyo be restricted but this defensive move may not work. In the meantime, regional universities such as Utsunomiya University are innovating by combining liberal arts and sciences students in inquiry teams to address local community questions. Such an approach is exemplary in terms of student engagement and innovation; the hope is that more students will buy into the kind of innovation that is emerging from the challenges of maintaining/growing enrollment.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The role of "truth-seekers in a post-truth world"

The Times Higher Education World Reputation Summit was recently convened to explore the question of what universities should do when their research, scholarship, and expertise has been pushed to the side as elitist and impractical. With Harvard as host and attendees including MIT, Oxford and other formidable institutions, participants were encouraged to explore how "truth-seekers in a post-truth world" can redefine their role.

Backing away from those who are hostile to higher education is not the answer. Ceri Thomas, director of communications at Oxford University warned, "it would be a dreadful mistake in my view for us to retreat to our core support and ignore the sections of society that see us part of a disconnected, globalised elite." As an example of striving to stay relevant, MIT has begun producing 30 to 90 second videos that they believe are effective. One of the most compelling recommendations was to engage the post-truth era as a stimulus for serious, engaged, and useful research, writing, and teaching. Paul Andrew, vice president for communications at Harvard, said, "There's nothing like a good existential crisis to mobilise people. It is unfortunate that it has to get to that point, but [faculty] recognise at the highest level, from the president through the entire administration, that we are in lock-step with them in supporting their work."

Friday, June 23, 2017

China's gap for women and people with disabilities

While Chinese higher education opportunity has expanded in gross enrollment from 15% in 2003 to 40% in 2015, women and people with disabilities have not faired well in proportional participation. Opening access has not expanded in proportion in mature higher education systems either but eventually governments realize that not providing equal opportunity for all neglects to develop the talent of citizens who are a resource for economic and social development.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Institutional impact as a measure of excellence

Reputation and elitism has dominated higher education rankings for a very long time. Attempts to challenge this approach have emerged in the U.S. through the work of Alexander Astin at UCLA's Higher Education Institute and more recently through the National Survey of Student Engagement housed at Indiana University. These other measures take into account the nature of students and the different kinds of institutions throughout the U.S., leveling the playing field from the hierarchy of resources that can only be won by institutions with lots of resources.

The U.K. rolls out its Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) findings in the coming days, which is another way to measure institutional impact outside of the hierarchy of reputation/elitism/resources. The TEF takes into account the differences in the types of students attending U.K. universities and the results are different than the conventional repetitional rankings. Some of the elite institutions emerge in the rankings but others do not while lesser known institutions are recognized for the good teaching they support in their faculty.

While the outcomes of the new TEF rankings are yet to be determined, including how students and families might change their priorities in university applications, the effort to measure institutional impact outside of the hierarch of reputation is laudable. The article on TEF questioned if the U.S. might not benefit from such a ranking as well. Jamienne Studley, former deputy under secretary of education for the Obama administration, opined that the critical issues to assess in institutional rankings are not only teaching quality and student experience but, "Is your employer satisfied, do you report five years later that you feel prepared for the things you're called on to do in the workplace, did you pass the licensing test in your field that tests practical knowledge of nursing or engineering? It's very hard to get at that fundamental [question of] where do people learn important things and where do they learn them in ways that have the most effect and significance."

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Travel and study abroad in the "America First" era

Educators who prepare and guide U.S. students in their study abroad experiences are facing a new and interesting questions - What might be different about studying abroad in the context of "America First?" A Chronicle of Higher Education article suggests that studying abroad may be a little more complicated than in past years. The good news is that the numbers of U.S. students studying abroad seem to be holding strong and there have been few, if any, reports of students facing negative treatment in other countries. Proper preparation for students of all political perspectives can go a long way in preventing bad experiences but perhaps more attention should be focused on the impact of reverse cultural shock, especially when the political climate in the U.S. can change in a matter of weeks while students are abroad.

Having recently traveled in Europe for three weeks, I was relieved by not feeling that I needed to obsessively watch the unfolding saga of the Trump administration every day and I was further relieved by not once being asked, "What's going on over there?" For whatever reason, the Europeans I encountered either have separated Donald Trump from the American people or they are simply tired of hearing about U.S. problems associated with his presidency.

An important thing to remember for U.S. citizens traveling, studying, or working abroad is that we are the face of person-to-person diplomacy. The way we act, how we encounter others, and our presence send messages that are likely to have more impact than many realize.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The state of internationalization

The American Council on Education has published the latest of their assessments of internationalization in U.S. institutions. The report concludes that the focus on internationalization has accelerated at 72% of campuses, with "improving student preparedness for a global era," "diversifying students, faculty, and staff at the home campus," and "becoming more attractive to prospective students at home and overseas" as the first three and revenue generation rounding out the top four drivers of enhanced internationalization. The most often cited activities reported as part of institutional internationalization efforts were increasing the number of domestic students studying abroad and recruiting more international students. The full report can be downloaded.

The ACE assessment demonstrates the growing importance of internationalization on university campuses but noted that the overall data reflect an outward rather than inward focus on institutions and campus culture. The underlying belief is that, in order for internationalization to deeply impact students' learning, institutions should focus more on curriculum and the overall collegiate experience.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Whose history?

One of the most important questions facing educators in an environment of expanding internationalization is whose history should be taught in classrooms. NYU at Abu Dhabi instructor, Deborah Williams, explores this question in relation to teaching when classrooms are much more diverse than is typical of homogenous domestic environments. She also notes the power of learning when issues discussed in class seep into the informal conversations of students outside of class.

Preparing ourselves, both faculty and staff, to integrate different histories and cultures in our teaching and conversations is one of the most important challenges we face. There is no question that, when students are affirmed by including their histories in learning, the quality of learning is enhanced for all.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Trends around the world in higher education

As the competition in providing quality higher education continues to escalate around the world, national moves need to be considered in the broader context of international higher education. Three interesting trends that have emerged recently include:

  • China - visiting international students from outside China will now be required to take language and culture classes. In addition, religious and political activity is prohibited.
  • Europe - with full employment and young people's career aspirations a central consideration, a recent survey of Europeans indicates greater support for vocational education programs.
  • Germany - referencing skepticism about other countries' ability to measure teaching effectiveness (i.e. U.K and Australia), German higher education officials have rejected proposals to measure faculty proficiency.
These three examples may seem localized to their national context but they may reflect broader questions that all higher education leaders should consider - cultural appropriateness of the learning experience, the purpose of tertiary education, and how to measure the impact of one of the precious investments a young person and her/his family can make.

Serious times for international higher education

The recent meeting of NAFSA (National Association of Foreign Student Advisors) had a number of issues to consider, not the least of which was the ever-changing picture for international students' study in the U.S.A. President Trump's erratic tweets and public comments have had an impact on international students' interest in studying the U.S.A., evidence that perceptions result in potentially substantive action. 

The hope is that U.S. higher education institutions can still maintain their preeminent position in the world in hosting international students through the "Your are welcome here" campaign. Some indications show hesitation among internationals but the real numbers will begin to emerge as the summer of 2017 rolls on.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Optional Practical Training visas up

The numbers are up for international students staying in the U.S. on "Optional Practical Training" visas according to the Pew Charitable Trust. The largest number of visa approvals go to STEM graduates and those of Chinese or Indian nationality. The U.S. institutions heading the list with the most graduates granted OPT visas include: 1) University of Southern California, 2) Columbia University, 3) New York University, 4) Carnegie Mellon University, and 5) City University of New York.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Study abroad for those studying abroad

A U.S. News and World Report article addresses one of the great opportunities that international students in the U.S. might pursue - studying abroad at another institution while studying at the U.S. university. While some might think studying abroad at another site might not be warranted, if it's an advantage to U.S. students, why wouldn't it be for international students as well? The article provides advice on how and when to choose a temporary study abroad location, including issues of fees and visas.

Higher education massification in Africa

Like China, India, and other countries where the demand for higher education is growing due to massive youth demographics, many countries in Africa are facing similar problems. Due to the lack of government funding for increased numbers of institutions, the growth has been in the size of institutions, resulting in the massification of universities, increasing faculty/student ratios, and declining quality. Two solutions might be to encourage more private education and to welcome greater diversity of types of institutions (including polytechnics and technical institutions). The issue in both cases is cost and quality.

Language and intercultural understanding

The study of foreign languages among U.S. students has declined over the years, likely the result of the preponderance of English throughout most regions of the U.S., although larger urban centers have greater language diversity. This decline places U.S. citizens at a disadvantage in a world where travel, work, and living across borders is becoming so prevalent. Reisinger poses a rationale for why a renewed commitment to language learning should complement educators' commitment to intercultural understanding.