Thursday, October 31, 2019

International educators in the U.S.A. - it's not the time to disengage

An interesting question has been raised about where international educators representing the U.S.A. are willing to go to engage with educators in the Americas. Hans de Wit reports having been one of a handful of U.S. educators who attended the 2019 Conference of the Americas. By contrast, almost 1,000 participants joined from Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, Europe, China, and New Zealand. AIEA responded that de Wit had misrepresented their engagement in Latin America. Nevertheless, it is important to consider de Wit's critique and what it means for U.S. educators

With a theme of "Hubs of Knowledge and Innovation: Synergies for Development," one would think that U.S. associations and international education leaders would be eager to participate. De Wit mused if it was arrogance that the Americas will come to the U.S. so why bother going south? Was it continued over-reliance on traditional European partners? Was it bad timing or a sense of hopelessness as internationalization takes a hit with the decline of international students' interest in the U.S.A.?

Whatever the cause, de Wit comments that it's not the time to isolate. International educators need to engage more fully now than ever before if they hope to sustain gains in numbers and visibility over the last decade.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Wesleyan passes on China campus

Citing the potential of misalignment of the focus of a proposed China campus and its core liberal arts program goals and concerns about academic freedom, the President of Wesleyan University announced that it will pass on establishing a China campus.

Student protests in Taiwan

Following the example of Hong Kong, protests are now spreading to Taiwan. The protests involve mainland China visitors and students who have defaced "Lennon" walls where sympathy for Hong Kongs' protests have been expressed. Bi-yu Chang of the Centre of Taiwan Studies at SOAS, University of London commented, "These Chinese students seemed to form a different idea about what democracy is, how it operates and the rights and responsibilities it entails."

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Loans for International students in the U.S.A.

The stereotype of international students in the U.S.A. is that they are financial able to fund their education. However, new options are now emerging to help international students by providing loans to support their education. While likely addressing an unmet need (counter to stereotype), one can only hope that international students fully understand the higher interest rates that will be charged and then burden of debt this will create.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

India aspiration for higher education recognition

India's National Education Policy was formulated to position India's higher education sector for its distinctive high quality. NEP places "emphasis on developing a distinctly Indian approach to internationalization of higher education. Recommendations to build the soft power potential of Indian higher education by facilitating international research collaborations and international expansion of Indian universities and programs, et. could be viewed in this context."

Some of the provisions of the NEP have already been implemented but the more pervasive implementation lies ahead. Some Indian academics are concerned about establishing standards that will support a thriving higher education sector. Of particular concern is academic freedom, a core tenet that Joyce Lau says will likely keep India from achieving its aspiration to have its universities ranked among the best in the world.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Grad enrollment shifts

A new report from the Council of Graduate Schools and Educational Testing Service indicates that enrollment in U.S. graduate programs is shifting - declining for international students and increasing for domestic minority students. Representation by domestic cultural minority groups reached 24.1% for first-time enrollees. Continuing a three year decline, international first-time graduate school enrollment dropped by 1.3%. One area that has been popular with international students is business schools and the interest there has dropped by 13.7% in 2019.

These figures reflect a key educational resource - the mix of those who enroll in graduate education. Both domestic minority and international students are a critical talent resource as well as represent an opportunity for cultural exposure to each other and to other predominantly white domestic students. Managing the mix is increasingly recognized as an important institutional responsibility.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Higher education change

There are many who predict that higher education must change. One statement by Steve Mintz provides a cogent summary of why and how. The insights he offers are not ground-breaking but it's helpful to have this as a reminder of the urgency of the problem and it's reassuring that he offers what he refers to as "sustaining innovation" which he contrasts with "disruptive innovation."

These terms reflect the differentiation between what Bahcall refers to as "franchise" and "loonshot" innovation. Linking Mintz and Bahcall's ideas, it seems that successful change for higher education will require sustaining/franchise modifications that are more or less proven enhancements to current practice while at the same time taking big risks (disruptive or loonshot innovation) that fundamentally change the face of higher education practice. Bahcall advocates that organizations need to figure out ways to support both franchise and loonshot change, which is only possible if leaders undertake fundamental organization structure and culture change.