Tuesday, July 24, 2018

U.S. preferred post-doc placement for internationals

Concern over attracting international students and retaining them after graduation has been top of mind for many U.S. academics and research/tech businesses. Good news was found in a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study found that talented international STEM graduates are more interested in academic positions and that they prefer to stay in the U.S. for post-docs and employment.

The National Bureau study is contradicted by a decline in the number of international students seeking post-graduate work in the U.S. The number of applications increased by 34% in 2016 but slowed to an 8% increase in 2017.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Students and democratic learning

Campus Compact has been advocating for deeper engagement of students in preparation for democratic participation for a number of years. Thomas Ehrlich, a former Campus Compact board member and one of the co-authors of Educating for Democracy, and Andrew Seligsohn offer their update of engaging students in democratic learning and they urge higher education to renew its focus on civic learning through experiential education.

Governments across the world differ in their operating principles, forms of representation, and policies. However, informing students of all countries about the ways they can be involved is crucial.

Ambivalence of academics

One of the interesting questions educators face in choosing to work in another country is if their expectations for academic freedom will be the same as their passport country. Even if the presumption is that the typical freedoms of western countries is respected, transparency about whether or not the host country fully embraces everything an academic wishes to say or publish can lead to self-censorship.

The recent elimination of his position caused Christopher Balding to leave China. Balding was an active blogger and openly offered critiques about Chinese governmental affairs. Some other professors who have worked in China have similar concerns to those expressed by Balding but others have felt no threat to their academic freedom.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Research impact - China may be closing in on U.S. by mid-2020s

One of the metrics used to claim dominance in the world's academic market is research productivity and impact. Educators/researchers indicate that China is rising and could overcome the 1st-place position that the U.S. has held by the mid-2020s. This articles indicates "countries such as the U.S. and Britain that were turning inward politically should also be aware that many Asian nations - and the European Union - were increasing collaboration with China, stimulated by its Belt and Road initiative to improve connectivity across Asia and Europe."

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Access to higher education in Ethiopia

Access to higher education throughout the world is expanding, yet some fear that it will not have the equalizing impact that many had hoped. An essay on Ethiopia's attempts to increase access mirrors what is found in many countries around the world - students who have greater economic privilege have greater access and are more successful in completing their degrees.

Wondwosen Tamrat indicated that Ethiopia has expanded public and private institutions and tried to offer opportunity to pursue education readily available to all. While primary education levels of participation across economic strata are close to the same, secondary participation drops, and 87% of technical schools and 82% of university enrollment comes from the wealthiest families. Tamrat suggested that Eastern Europe and Central Asia provide models of how to counteract the impact of economic privilege. It's also not just about access, it's also completion. Students from all socio-economic strata should expect to complete their studies in comparable numbers.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Another obstacle for international students in the U.S.

Creating more barriers for international student enrollment in U.S. higher education institutions, the U.S. government has proposed to increase fees for individual student visa processing. Universities/colleges will also see the fee for initial certification doubled and new fees for recertification levied if the proposed changes are approved.

The rationale for the increases is that the fees have not been changed since 2008 and that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be underfunded by 68.9 million dollars in 2019 if the fees are not increased.

Higher education as a public good

There have been reports as of late that U.S. citizens have lost faith in higher education and don't support the public funding going into universities/colleges. Contrary to a perceived deterioration of support, Noah D. Drezner of Columbia University found the opposite. "Given how much the recent public discourse centers on the individual return from higher education, Drezner said he was heartened to find that respondents overwhelmingly 'understand that there are larger benefits to the public' from higher education."

Although the study was of U.S. citizens, the question of private benefit versus public good is key to how higher education is understood and hopefully embraced around the world. The question is not either-or. Of course individuals benefit from pursuing a higher education AND the public good is served as graduates are prepared for a 21st century workforce and participation in their communities. The push among those who would like higher education to be seen as a private privilege and benefit simply want to retain the advantage that economic disparity has created.

Unfortunately, a study by the Pew Charitable Trust came to conclusions that oppose Drezner's findings. Report of this study indicated "A solid majority of adults (61%) believe that higher education is headed in the wrong direction." Republicans were more likely to view higher education in a negative light although concerns are represented in multiple sectors - Democrats express concern about the cost of higher education, Republicans view faculty as biased toward liberal causes, and university staff continue to be concerned about the hate speech and hostile climate issues.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

International graduates seek work experience

Higher education in the U.S. is coveted among students world-wide. Coupled with that, and perhaps equally as attractive, is pursuing work in the U.S. after graduation. This desire isn't necessarily for long-term employment but primarily for job training with U.S. entities that demonstrate best practices in a variety of field.s

International graduates who want to stay for training and employment in the U.S. may be well-advised to consult an immigration attorney to make sure they do what needs to be done and maximize their chances of approval. Leslie Dellon, an attorney at the American Immigration Council, advises, "The immigration system is not a crossword puzzle. It's risky to not get a consultation."

Employers may also want to consider the value of hiring international graduates since they represent some of the best talent the world has to offer. Rather than leave it to the prospective international employee, assistance from those in charge of hiring could be a simple way to increase the talent pool and secure a loyal employee.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

China's shifting higher education landscape

As countries around the world develop their own capacity to provide quality higher education opportunity and as the evidence emerges regarding what is useful and not so useful, the landscape for relationships is bound to shift. Such is the case in China as the Ministry of Education terminates more than 200 cooperative programs.

The terminations are across a variety of academic areas and involve several countries. The U.S. cooperative programs that will be eliminated number a little more than two dozen and the U.S. is fourth on the list in relation to number of terminations behind the U.K., Australia, and Russia.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Saudia Arabia's investment in education and research

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has been very visible lately, touring the U.S.A. to promote his commitment to progressive change. He befriended Donald Trump early in his presidency and managed to con Jared Kushner and Trump into seeing Qatar as a terrorist state. Fortunate for all, that didn't work.

Saudia Arabia has been investing in education for some time and, in fact, has scaled back its support for Saudi students to study abroad. However, part of the 2030 vision advocated by MbS includes enhancing education and research. It remains to be seen if the investment will pay off. Saudi's rentier economy has created a dependence that will be difficulty to shake. There are many young Saudis who expect the government to take care of them and this is likely to be a formidable obstacle to empowerment through education.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

India expanding and targeting international students

Joining the shared space of higher education internationalization, India has begun to chart a course of hosting increasing numbers of international students. Coined as the "Study in India" initiative, India hopes to attract students for both short-term as well as complete degree programs. Some of the countries being targeted include Nepal, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Thailand, Malaysia, Egypt, Kuwait, Iran, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Rwanda. U.S. students are part of the mix but more likely only as short-term study abroad visitors. The goal is to host as many as 200,000 students by 2023.