Thursday, February 28, 2019

Khanna - The Future is Asian

I've almost completed reading Part Khanna's The Future is Asian and will soon post a review on my other blog, Pursuing Leadership by Denny. Joshua Kim's brief summary and encouragement of readers to pick up a copy of Khanna's book mirrors what I believe - everyone around the world (not only Americans) need to understand the rise of Asia and begin to think of how to embrace it rather than fear it.

The political environment in many places around the world is in turmoil. Some areas are benefitting from Asian (and particularly Chinese) investment and engagement while other countries fear and strive to counter the emergence of stronger economies and talent throughout Asia. Kim's essay doesn't advocate a particular approach but suggests that higher education needs to devise a strategy and get on with it. And the higher education strategy needs to be contextualized within the history that Khanna summarizes and the copious details that he relates about strides being made across various areas of Asia.

Allies for internationalization

Brian Whalen's essay proposes that international educators may have more allies than they realize. He relates a speaking opportunity where he thought he needed to convince the audience of the merit of internationalization only to find out that he had compelling advocates right there in his audience.

This is an important lesson in a era of increasing nationalism in some quarters. The nationalist push is so strong that it perceptually drowns out the balanced voices of experience that confirm the merit of connecting across national and cultural borders - internationalizing the education landscape.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Studying abroad may have risks

The tragedy of loss of life among young people is always devastating. When it occurs to students studying abroad, presumably having the time of their lives, it seems almost unbearable. Parents of a University of Wisconsin student who was killed during a study experience in Rome has agreed to a wrongful-death settlement. The details are not publicly available but the warning to all institutions who host or send students to study abroad is clear - legal action can be taken and it can cost an institution more than its reputation.

Monday, February 25, 2019

International student enrollment - winners and losers

In an increasingly competitive market, some countries are increasing the number of international students and others are declining. Canada is at present one of the biggest winners with a 16% increase from 2017 to 2018. France has declined 8.5 % from 2011-16. Tuition increases may undermine its goal of hosting half a million international students by 2017.

The largest enrollments are still in the U.S.A., U.K., and Australia but flat or declining numbers in the U.S.A. and U.K. are likely the result of increases in Canada, Germany, and elsewhere. The most recent report from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency indicates that the number of visas granted to international students dropped by 2.7 percent from March 2018 to March 2019 across all levels of education. The report that ICE numbers for international students dropped didn't address the now emerging reports by Chinese students and scholars that their visa processing was delayed.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

International students from Saudi Arabia flee legal charges

The relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia has received wide-spread scrutiny after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, reported by U.S. intelligence as linked back to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman but denied by the Saudi government. Another issue related to the actions of the Saudi government involves Saudi students escaping prosecution for crimes committed during periods of study in the U.S. With 40,000 students from Saudi Arabia in the U.S., there are those who are bound to get into some type of legal trouble and they should face U.S. courts.

Two Oregon senators have proposed legislation to investigate the Saudi government's involvement in helping their students escape prosecution. Jeff Merkley, one of the sponsors of the bill said that "Saudi Arabia's blatant disrespect for international norms cannot be allowed to stand. We need a wholesale rethinking of our relationship with Saudi Arabia - and we should all be able to agree that any nation that helps their citizens escape from the law needs to be held fully accountable."

Thus far only 15 cases of Saudi student cases successfully fleeing prosecution have been documented and the fact that this is a very small number should be recognized. However, no international, student or otherwise, should be able to escape prosecution for crimes committed in the U.S. with the help of their own government.

While some Saudi students may have benefitted from officials intervening to help, others have reported that Saudi Arabia monitors their conduct while studying in the U.S.A. If true, such monitoring would likely result in self-censorship and reluctance to engage in free intellectual discourse.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

On-line English as a path to U.S. higher education

The online provider StraighterLine is offering a way for international students to improve English before coming to the U.S. for their study experience. Not only is acquiring English through distance study cheaper, StraighterLine is partnering with three schools to help reduce the cost of enrollment even further. Offering enrollment assistance and academic support, students may be enticed into studying with StraighterLine partners once they've completed their on-line language proficiency.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Four Logics of International Student Mobility

Alex Usher, President of Higher Education Strategy Associates, offered a brief essay on the "Four Logics of International Student Mobility" that provides a very useful framework for anyone who affirms the value of hosting international students on university campuses around the world. The four logics capture the essential motivations behind recruiting and hosting international students and include;  pilgrimage, soft power, the war for talent, and financial gain.

Usher's point in identifying the four logics is that these views can implicitly or explicitly drive policy decisions. The emerging reality at many universities is that international students are a source to balance budgets, even though these financial motivations "regularly get dressed up in War for Talent and Soft Power clothing, partly for public consumption but also because many universities find it unseemly to talk about money where international students are concerned."

As international student numbers plateau or decline in specific locations and institutions, the financial aspects may take precedence in campus and broader political conversations. The fact is that financial motivation, complicated by decline, "represents a very different level of threat" to institutional or country-specific competitiveness. If the War for Talent is undermined it not only hurts specific institutions but also hurts an entire country.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

International graduate student enrollment in U.S. declines again

The latest reports indicate that international graduate student enrollment has declined again from 2017 to 2018. The 2018 decline of 1% follows 1% in 2017 and is uneven across types of students, countries of origin, and academic programs. Overall, masters students have declined more than doctoral. Suzanne Ortega, President of the Council of Graduate Schools, noted that it's too early to determine if two years is marking a trend and said, "We continue to monitor issues, including changes  in immigration and visa policy, with growing concern over the possible negative impact to the U.S.'s image as a welcoming destination for international students and scholars."

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Advancing higher education in India through faculty development

Faced with a looming reelection bid in May, Prime Minister Modi of India must demonstrate that he has taken actions to improve the prospects of India joining the knowledge-based economies of the world. One of the ways Modi has chosen to do this is by launching a faculty leadership development initiative. "Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) is a customized three-week leadership development prorate for professors in publicly-funded higher education institutions in India. The program's main objective is to provide select senior professors with necessary leadership and managerial training to respond to challenges under the National Mission on Teachers and Teaching Scheme. Professional development with a focus on institutional competitiveness, learning outcomes, resources mobilization, autonomy, accountability, research capacity, internationalization, and institutional performance are key components of this programme."

While Modi's purpose is laudable and a number of highly respectable universities around the world are involved in the LEAP initiative, a three-week faculty training program focused on institutional competitiveness, learning outcomes, resource mobilization, etc. is hardly leadership development. Barbara Kellerman at Harvard has highlighted the importance of a professionalizing leadership in ways that: "differentiate management from leadership; offers leadership training, education, and development; recognizes that bad leadership exists; gives credit and equal attention to teaching and cultivating followership; makes leadership urgent, and acknowledges that learning to be effective and ethical in leadership is a life-long learning and development commitment.

It's tragic to have so much need in higher education capacity building and then to land on a simplistic strategy that has little chance of making a real difference. Indian higher education needs reform and one can only hope that Modi's LEAP will at least begin a process that will eventually drive to a deeper level of true leadership development.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Experiential transcripts

The idea of cocurricular transcripts have been around much longer than most people realize. Before technology was available to make them easy, the University of Maryland offered the Student Activities Involvement Log in the mid-1970s. The idea is seeing some resurgence as a result of software that makes them easier, more attractive, and can be used to document learning outcomes that many students and educators value.