W1- Introduction and reading response

Hello all,

My name is Alina Ilazarova this my third semester in the HEA program. I graduated from Queens College with a BA in Psychology. As a part of my undergraduate career, I was introduced to academic advising and found it rewarding to be able to help students at such an important transition in their lives. Currently, I am a team leader for the behavioral health department in a medical insurance company, and with the help of this program looking to shift gears and become part of the higher education administration team and attain my goal as an academic advisor.

Fundamentally the readings discuss the history and the current changing trends in international of higher education. The readings mainly indicated that the U.S is lagging behind other countries in terms of internalization. This did not come as a surprise, considering my previous courses held multiple debates on how international students are not properly tended to. The readings also indicate the shift to international learning was initiated due to political incentives. The mass amount of International students come from China India and South Korea the enrollment rates of these students are currently declining for the US as opposed to Europe where the rates of international students are on the rise. These numbers indicated that the US would need to come up with a better strategic plan to encompass more students from other countries to complete their higher education studies. Personally, this may become beneficial for U.S in terms of an economical standpoint.

Oxford states that there is a high emphasis on research in higher education that can benefit both parties when it comes too international learning. Furthermore the rise of international age is making very large strides in the changes of higher education as well. Overall study abroad is viewed as a very positive thing that a student can do for ones self. However, I feel that there is very brief mention that it is currently out of reach for many students. Even with scholarship opportunities this is a very costly schooling to an average student from any country. In conclusion I sense that according to these articles , internationalization is not necessarily looking educate the average person, and that countries have found yet another thing to compete over without tending to their populations overall best interests.

Allison Olly: Intro and Reading Response

  1. Hello, my name is Allison and I am in the HEA program, planning to finish this summer.  I have a fine arts background, having earned my BFA in 2000.  I have worked at the Fashion Institute of Technology since 2009. I first worked at the Registrar, where I was involved in international credential evaluation. Currently, I work in the International Student Services dept, which involves documentation for visa obtainment, work opportunities and maintaining lawful student status. Living in NYC and working at an institution with students from 70 countries sparked my interest in international education.  I have been looking forward to this course and am excited to learn about what this topic involves beyond study abroad and student services.

2.   The topics in Altbach article, Internationalization and Global Tension are especially timely during this election cycle, with multiple presidential candidates voicing anti-immigration and Islamophobic viewpoints. If such candidate were elected, how would this affect the demographics and experiences of international students in the US? The concept of international higher education as a means to expand or hold on to global power was interesting, as given in the examples of the US and programs like the Fulbright created as part of their strategy to become a world leader during the Cold War, and former colonial empires such as the UK using higher education as a means to maintain power in their former colonies.

I would like to know the history of the shift between the the mostly European focus in the Altbach article to the present, with most students studying abroad hailing from Asia.  The sections on student mobility from the Oxford chapter were of the most personal interest to me, as  the countries of origin reported match closely with the international student body at my institution.  The discussion of the Russian government initiative to combat ‘brain drain’ by offering overseas scholarships in return for a commitment to work for the state brings up a separate topic of student intent.  What are the long term goals of students who study abroad? How many intend to return home and pursue careers vs. those who want to remain abroad and work?  Many of the students I work with pursue practical training in their field of study and wish to be sponsored for a work visa.  Is this a common goal for the overall international student population in the US?

I would have liked for the Green article on US Internationalization to discuss the how and why US institutions are behind the rest of the world regarding the role of internationalization in institutional strategic plans and leadership.  Unlike many countries, US public schools have no mandatory foreign language training at the primary level and limited training at the secondary level.  Language is an important part of internationalization and US students as a whole fall short.  Does the limited language training of the student body have any influence have any effect on how an institution ranks the importance of an international focus?  Also, US internationalization of higher education appears to be largely the responsibility of individual institutions, in contrast to the national efforts listed in the Oxford chapter- government funding of an education hub in Qatar, and the German government initiatives and funding to increase the number of students studying abroad.


W1- Ben Levine’s Intro and Blog

Hello! I’m Ben Levine, and this is my fourth and penultimate semester in the HEA graduate program at Baruch. Previously, I attended Binghamton University, but transferred and earned my degree in History and English from the University of Connecticut. While higher education wasn’t necessarily the field I intended to work in, I’m very happy that my first job after undergrad was at a college. Since then, I have worked at several colleges, and plan on working at one the rest of my career. Currently, I am an Academic Advisor at a CUNY community college. As far as career goals go, I am a bit torn; part of me wants to move up the administrative ladder and possess high-level responsibilities, but conversely, I would like to find a niche demographic to help. Only time will tell!

The readings for this week opened my eyes to international education, but not in the ways I thought they would. Throughout my years working in higher education, I have maintained a sense of idealism, partially because I do not have enough experience yet for that to change, and also because I think it is necessary to stay engaged and passionate about what I do for a living. While my idealism is slowly transforming into pragmatism, I would like to preserve a modicum of naïveté; however, the readings, especially the trends listed by Oxford, have removed any hope that people believe that education can exist for education’s sake.

Yes, I am being melodramatic. The readings did not suck my soul away or persuade me to switch careers. Still, the theme that I have gleaned from them is a little disheartening- international education always serves a larger, non-academic purpose. I suppose this is to be expected, for altruism and pure motives are rare. As an advisor, the majority of my students interested in pursuing nursing are doing it because they want to earn a good salary as quick as possible, and not because they want to help others. This mentality has always baffled me, but it is understandable. The same goes for international education- what tangible good does it do for anyone? Perhaps a few thousand people learn a new language or gain an appreciation of a different culture, but is that enough to fund these ventures?

Altbach provides an historical background of international education that goes back approximately one hundred years. At first, exchange and other international programs are depicted as beacons of globalization and peace. By sending students to other countries, there is a semblance of unity; on the contrary, intended or not, these exchanges had political motives. As Altbach notes, the Cold War drove the United States and the Soviet Union to vie for power around the world. International education was a perfect vehicle to push their ways of life on developing nations. Yes, many people probably received educational opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise, but was it just a side effect of propaganda?

Green’s discussion of international education focuses on something less nefarious- the new obsession with being as internationally-driven as possible. Based on surveys conducted by the IAU, the United States directs considerably less attention to internationalization that many other nations. I personally say ‘so what?’ This country doesn’t have to be the leader in everything. There are many great study abroad and exchange programs here, and plus, so many international students want to come here that there will always be a market. People are obsessed with rankings. Sure, it promotes competition and the improvement of quality, but it can also be a distracting factor and force institutions to do things they might not do otherwise.

To me, the most depressing of the three readings was the list of trends by Oxford. There are many fantastic and exciting opportunities and programs that it mentions, but it also trivializes the educational aspect of… education. While it is written like an academic piece, the words are more business-oriented than anything. Even its content is business. It states, “The driver for international campuses in western countries (as with Imperial West, in London) has thus far been part of an institutional push towards globalisation and support for international collaborations, rather than a need to fill a significant gap in education, research and knowledge production in the host country” (p. 13). There is nothing wrong with collaboration, but not at the expense of education. There are so many places around the world that truly need more educational opportunities for their people, but these locations are being overlooked. Instead, institutions of higher education are looking for the most lucrative ventures.

Perhaps some of my statements are oversimplified, but over the course of the semester, I hope to develop a better understanding of how international education works and what drives it.

W1- Introduction & Readings

Hi All!

My name is Zeline Santana and this is my final semester in the Higher Education Administration program. My experience in higher education falls under the Enrollment Management division and Financial Aid. My professional interest at the moment is to excel within my division. I am not very familiar with the history of international higher education, but as a student that was exposed to study aboard opportunities during my undergraduate degree I understand the important of Internationalization.

This weeks reading touched many concerns I had after the Paris 2015 attacks and IHE. Altbach and Wit’s reading “Internalization and Global Tensions” validated my concerns that political forces and peace building wars affect international higher education globally. The reading helped in understanding the importance in how past wars and future global tension mold international education on a global scale.

Overall, in the higher education program we have also learned that U.S faculty members have pushed back on Internationalization and distant learning because of its quality. There are multiple reasons why faculty members may or may not agree with Internationalization, but it is evident that quality is their main concern. Green concluded that the study performed by IAU found the level of importance U.S gives Internationalization is low. I believe this is because the United States feels they are the best in the world, however, I also believe the under development of Internationalization in the United States is caused by political forces that stress graduation rates, low completion rates for different ethnic backgrounds, retention rates, and many other factors that place pressure on the U.S higher ed system. This can also be the reason why Internationalization in the U.S has received low importance due to other factors affecting the system even though they may place a small level of importance in strategic planning.

What caught my attention the most in the Oxford article “International Trends in Higher Education” was the implementation of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). I agree that MOOCs do provide a wide access to learning on a global scale, but I do not feel it enforces Internationalization. A 2013 study on MOOCs found that students do not complete the MOOCs programs. I believe this is due to low quality. Free courses at times in my personal opinion can lead students to think that the quality of a course is low or if difficult an easy way out. It will be interesting to see if anyone agrees with me, but I do feel that a leading cause of MOOCs low enrollment is that there is no ramification for students who do not complete the courses. In hopes to find more research that validates my thoughts I found that Welsh and Dragusin article “The New Generation of Massive Open Online Course (MOOCS) and Entrepreneurship Education” agrees that obstacles that face MOOCs are weaknesses in providing assistance to different learning styles, low revenue production, and quality of student learning (Welsh and Dragusin, 2013). To conclude, I feel these obstacles are essential for any program that wishes to have a great level of completion and impact on a global scale.

Outside References:

Welsh, D. H., & Dragusin, M. (2013). The New Generation of Massive Open Online
Course (MOOCS) and Entrepreneurship Education. Small Business Institute, 9(1), 51-65.

Kristen Van Vleck Introduction

Hi Everyone,
I’m Kristen. I’m in my 2nd year (4th semester) in Baruch’s HEA program. I majored in International Studies at Fairfield University, and I currently work at the Institute of International Education (IIE) as a Program Officer for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. I am the main contact for a caseload of about 250 Masters and PhD students from over 70 countries. My responsibilities include corresponding with the students to ensure a successful exchange program and addressing any problems related to their academic performance, cultural adjustment, visa status, and overall personal well-being. Since I work on the program side of international education, I am excited to learn both about overall trends and institutional policies.
I often fall into the trap of thinking of higher education as an independent entity that takes place in a bubble. It is easy to forget that programs and policies in US higher education are affected by various outside influences, including politics, the economy, and general public opinion. These influences are magnified when you look at them on a regional or even global scale, as is necessary for international educational exchange. The article by Altbach and De Wit which focused on the historical influences on higher education since World War I was a really interesting piece about the evolution of international education and the role that higher education plays worldwide.
As the article notes, historical influences affect how international education works today. I work at IIE, so I knew it was founded in 1919, in response to World War I, but I had never considered that efforts such as IIE, DAAD, and the British Council, in addition to many others within and outside the education sector, were unsuccessful in preventing a second world war. It is important to be cognizant of these historical factors to be more aware of current realities and future trends. I was recently at a meeting at work where I learned that Iran was one of the leading senders of international students in the 1970s. I was surprised to hear this as US relations with Iran have not been good for most of my life. This made me realize that looking at the entire picture, not just the recent past, is important.
In her article, “Is the United States the Best in the World? Not in Internationalization,” Green takes the stance that the US could improve on such aspects of internationalization in higher education including emphasis on international initiatives by institutional leaders and increasing infrastructure to support internationalization on US campuses. She also uses the relative lack of promotion of internationalization in strategic plans as evidence that, when compared to other countries and regions, the US is not a leader in internationalization. However, it is crucial to note that in terms of sheer numbers in educational international exchange, the United States is still the number one destination for all international students.
According to the Oxford publication and IIE’s Open Doors data from 2015, the US was the top destination for international students, with over 970,000 international students during the 2014/15 academic year. There was a ten percent growth in numbers of international students compared to the previous school year, which was the largest percentage growth in international students in the past 35 years. The second most popular destination for international students, the UK, hosts just a bit over half of the number of international students that the US does (Open Doors 2016). Although I realize this could be a function of size of the US (and, as a result, size of higher education sector), rather than institutional emphasis on internationalization, I still think this is an important point to bring up. For example, perhaps one reason most regions did not focus on North America as a region of interest is that they are already sending a large number of students there.
Looking at the various initiatives worldwide outlined in the Oxford publication, it does seem like the US could be doing more, both on a policy and institutional level, especially when it comes to sending US students abroad. For example, DAAD, the German Academic and Exchange Service, has an initiative to send half of all degree-seeking students abroad, up from the 30% that currently study abroad. IIE’s initiative named Generation Study Abroad aims to double the approximately 10% of US students that currently study abroad. Even if the US does fulfill this ambitious goal and Germany sees no improvements, Germany will still send a much larger percentage of students abroad than the US.
I believe in what I do, so I am a big proponent of the benefits of educational international exchange both on a personal and policy level. As Altbach and De Wit note, educational exchanges have been used as a “soft power” in international relations for some countries. They note that although, “international cooperation and exchange are not guarantees for peace and mutual understanding, they continue to be essential mechanisms for keeping communication open and dialogue active” (p 4). The Oxford publication notes that international experiences are also beneficial for individuals that can gain important life skills that are increasingly valued by employers, such as decision making and problem solving skills.

Additional References:
Institute of International Education. (2016). Open Doors: 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.iie.org/Who-We-Are/News-and-Events/Press-Center/Press-Releases/2015/2015-11-16-Open-Doors-Data