Monday, February 20, 2017

International partnerships - the "learning" model

The problem of imbalanced international partnerships among higher education institutions has been a common criticism. The idea of cross-institution and cross-border partnering can be pursued as knowledge transfer, experiential, or learning focused, says Hawawini, author of The Internationalization of Business Schools: A Critical Review. The learning focus isn't a completely new perspective but Hawawini's description may help educators think more carefully about the path they choose for their internationalization work. He says, "the international mission of a higher education institution is to learn from the world, not just to teach the world or experience it." While Hawawini indicates that few institutions have chosen this path, the world is "best served by a global institution that consists of an integrated and interconnected network of complementary campuses operating in a symbiotic fashion to the mutual benefit of the entire system."

If students are to be prepared for the workforce of the 21st century, Stremba urges the adoption of an internationalization imperative. The advocacy for such a view may seem to be at risk in countries such as the U.S.A. and U.K. where greater isolation appears inevitable as politicians close borders and abandon multi-national partnerships. But some higher education leaders are already pursuing new ways to fulfill their internationalization goals. The prospect of Oxford University breaking 700 years of tradition by establishing a program in France is certainly one of the most noteworthy innovations. Offered by France as a way for Oxford to continue to benefit from research funding through the EU, both Oxford University and France could benefit from the partnership. It's interesting how something as onerous as political isolation that separates countries from each other can still be overcome by creative educators driven by the belief that internationalization is here to stay and a commitment to making sure students grasp this reality.

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