The future of Internationalization will provide a continuous push to provide global citizens for the world through collaboration of Institutions around the world. Higher Ed will continue to reach countries that once had no presence of Higher Education by ways of internet with online courses and other technologies. Technology is the driving force for accessibility, allowing students to learn through virtual mobility and other new platforms. Social media through the use of phones will increase as many in third world countries have phones but no computer.
The future will also be diverse with a wider range of options to earn a degree or achieve skills. As the monopoly on Higher Ed dwindles, new providers will enter the arena of Higher Ed providing students with an education passport of skills to be added to the their transcripts of life learning achievements. Students will be able to create an a la cart version of education ranging from everything including traditional classroom learning, to study abroad, to virtual classes at remote place that one may never have the chance to visit.
As Higher Ed expands, quality of an education will be in question. Consolidation of resources may be inevitable to assure traditional Higher Ed does not lose its place in society. Cost of education will be a driving factor for the future direction of Higher Ed. If the market expands, and the monopoly dwindles, how do we protect the institution of Higher Ed through quality measures that make new providers accountable for the education they produce?
And what about the global competitors that do not promote academic freedom the way we do in America. Is this a good thing or bad? For a student to have the perspective of how education is achieved in other parts of the world, would be an education in itself. Deardorff et al reminds us that “Active engagement with the rest of the world has become fundamental to a high quality education…” (p. 461.) The definition of what a global education is yet to be determined but the importance of an education and the Institution of an education remains the same. Bassett states “Higher Ed reaches into the lives of every person on earth – through research, technology, teacher training and others” (p.5). But only the global elite get to contribute and benefit directly. Access to a global education will be the single most important challenge for Higher Ed.
Last week, a colleague shared a short New York Times article with my academic advisement department titled “Study Abroads Seven Deadly Sins”. I thought to myself what a strange title and why is it so dramatic. Not everything can be considered a deadly sin, of course. But, after I read the article I understood the drama. The article is about the 7 faux-pas’s american youth that study abroad commit; many of which are obvious. For example, american youth that study abroad in Europe or Asia where the drinking age is much lower or nonexistent, seize the opportunity to legally binge drinking.These types of experiences are not the same experiences that study abroad programs are meant to give students. If students are going to study abroad with the idea that they are going for fun and trying to get away from their parents, then study abroad programs are not achieving what they claim to be doing for those students in particular. Also, if American students are committing these “sins”, then it is a poor reflection and representation of American youth and our higher education system, which could hurt future partnerships and collaborations.
In relation to the articles we had to read for this week, this Times article reveals the unspoken reality of how many students use study abroad opportunities not for the same reasons administrators claim. The survey that was conducted by the International Association of Universities indicates that the “most significant expected benefit(s)” to the internationalization of higher education is heightening student knowledge and the appreciation of international issues. In addition, according to the survey, one of the top priority internationalization activities institutions want to work on is increasing outgoing mobility opportunities for students.However, I believe that institutions might want to work on internationalization at home first before creating new outgoing programs for students. If the student’s first exposure to a different culture is studying abroad they might not have the cultural awareness capacity to get the learning experiences and outcomes that administrators want. The institution should firstly internationalize their curriculum at home, so that students are familiar with different cultures and have an appreciation for other cultures. Having some level of cultural appreciation and those soft skills prior to studying abroad, might prevent some of these deadly sins from happening.
This week’s readings covered what internationalization in the U.S. looked like in 2012 and a global survey of various higher education institutions (HEIs) around the world and the challenges and trends faced in internationalization of higher education in their institution and countries. It was interesting to read about how issues faced in the U.S. are issues faced around the world in other countries, which is not too surprising since we’ve gone over the similarities in certain aspects pertaining to internationalization of higher education in previous discussions. One aspect in particular that interests me is how other countries and the U.S. take on internationalization at home.
In a University World News article, the authors explicitly redefined the term to give more clear meaning to internationalization at home (IaH) and what actual constitutes as IaH. The article defines IaH as “the purposeful integration of international and intercultural dimensions into the formal and informal curriculum for all students, within domestic learning environments“. In the CIGE report, it seems the U.S. in 2012 did include the importance of foreign language requirements and co-curricular programs that included a international theme, as well as stressing the important of determining student learning outcomes for assessment. There’s also mention about funding for faculty to gain experience and learn how to internationalize their curriculum. But the report also mentions that while there is some efforts to internationalization, a majority of the efforts still lie in mobility and while the institutions say they are also including internationalization efforts at home, it is not reflected in the general curriculum required for everyone. Internationalized tracks are great but they only reach a limited number of students. There needs to be more efforts to utilize IaH since there still remains a large majority of students that are not able to actually go abroad to get international experience.
Even in the IAU Global Survey, a foreign language still ranks first while integrating the contributions of international students into the learning experience, which would be a form of IaH, is ranked second to last in importance. For regional level results, only in Africa and in Asia and Pacific was professional development of faculty to enhance their ability to integrate an international dimension into their teaching, which is potentially a form of IaH depending on if they teach domestically or elsewhere. And consistent with the CIGE report, the IAU Global Survey found that in North America there was a focus on offering programs or courses with an international themes, but as pointed out above, that can only reach a limited audience. There’s still much to do to fully integrate IaH, but I still think it can be a cost effective way to allow mass amounts of students gain exposure to global themes and cultures.
Before taking this course, I viewed student mobility as the most significant part of an internationalization strategy. One where some institutions had an advantage over others, with more capital, staffing and programing built into the curriculum to support these initiatives; not all colleges could compete. The ACE article we read this week, as well as many of the other articles and case studies we have looked at throughout the semester, support the practice of a more “comprehensive internationalization”, where campuses can achieve a more overall international campus, involving support and buy-in from the entire campus community. The ACE survey project to map internationalization at US campuses was extremely helpful to put in perspective where the United States currently lies and how far we’ve come over the last decade in the internationalization initiative happening globally. Despite the economic struggles are country has recently faced, almost half of institutions surveyed stated their funding for internationalization has increased and 27 percent said their funding has remained steady since 2008. Between 2006’s survey and the 2011 survey – scholarships and funding for student mobility seems more prominent among institutions. Across all types of institutions, doctoral, masters, baccalaureate, associates and special focus, scholarships for education abroad increased from between 4% – 13% between 2006 and 2011. All schools increased their efforts, with special focus institutions making the biggest jump, going from 0% in 2006 to 26% in 2011. However, despite the increase in funding, it was disappointing to see that 42% of higher education institutions do not offer any form of study abroad activity. Due to some of the conversations we have had in class, what is not surprising was the increased efforts and scholarship opportunities for international students coming to the US to study. Almost 40%, of all types of institutions, had some form of international recruitment plan. This is not surprising as the high tuition price international students pay to study in the United States. Support services for international students have increased, however have a long way to go and I believe as these service opportunities and programming for international students increases, so will international applicants. Orientation seems to be the main service offered; however, international students need support far beyond their first week at the institution. The attached article shows how colleges are even increasing international student fees in order to provide better services and programming options specifically for international students.
To me, this week’s readings are all about assessing whether there are “teeth” to the concepts we have been discussing and whether the practical realities if higher education make them sustainable. Adding to the notion of internationalization, this week, Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses: 2012 Edition introduced us to the concept of “comprehensive internationalization” and laid out guidance on how to achieve it, if achievable at all. The IAU Internationalization Survey gave us some hard facts and statistics to better gauge and understand how the concept of internationalization actually translates on campuses.
For me, an interesting part of the readings this week was that concepts are easy to pay lip service to and talk about in idealized and romanticized ways, but is there real teeth and resources for meaningful implementation of comprehensive internationalization at our colleges and universities or are they terms thrown around that do not fully take into account the critical importance of student learning and curriculum development?
Having come off a couple of weeks of analyzing strategic plans and mission statements of a diverse group of US colleges and universities, it is clear to me that these documents and statements are key to introducing concepts of global education and comprehensive internationalization. Making sure that they have the teeth and muscle power to lead to implementation underscores even more how important it is that they be well thought out and presented documents stemming from the highest institutional leaders. The path from strategic plan to implementation of comprehensive internationalization has to be a legitimate one – one bolstered by optimism but also one that recognizes the institutional and student learning challenges that must be overcome to not have empty plans and statements. The IAU survey reflects that student learning and student mobility are priorities of internationalization efforts and that specific activities are being considered and targeted. This is promising. But balanced against this is some of the reality of the ACE piece which reflects that data shows some improvements but also some stagnation. In the US, attention also needs to be focused on not just delivering comprehensive internationalization to students in general, but non-traditional students as well who make up more and more of the student body population at our colleges and universities. One way to ensure this is to address such factors in strategic plans and vision statements directly with data driven analysis and support strategies. This will allow for some “teeth” in the optimistic plans and mission philosophies of US colleges and universities striving for meaningful comprehensive internationalization with student learning at the center of its priorities.