First of all, I would like to say that the global strategies laid out by Middlesex Community College and Ohio University are pretty impressive. To have such a focus on internationalization signifies that the states (Massachusetts and Ohio) have deep interest in promoting the concept of global citizenship. It is one thing for a private institution to have that type of support is one thing, but public institutions? And on top of that, a community college?

Reading BRIC Universities as Institutions in the Process of Change shed more light on the autonomy and structuring of educational systems in various countries around the world. Every country does things a little bit differently when it comes to funding by local, state, and federal governments. HEIs might thrive better depending on which level they are more closely tied to, if they have a choice at all. Learning about how other countries’ systems are constructed got me thinking about how things are done in the United States. The autonomy of a college varies so much state by state, whether it is a matter of money or mission. We see lots of controversy even in our own state of New York, where there are battled being waged between city and state governments. Conversely, other states have fewer problems, maybe because cities aren’t as big or educational systems as vast. Additionally, some states are experiencing major changes whose results are yet to be seen. The state of Connecticut has merged all its public colleges into one system, thus removing degrees of autonomy from each individual college.

What I really would like to talk about though goes back to the global strategies. Since I’m always looking to create some debate in this class, I’d like to comment on the purpose of the extensive global strategies of the two colleges being discussed. What I have to say is this: it makes sense for them. Throughout this course we are promoting and worshipping internationalization; it’s as if we are saying successful, smart colleges will encourage it and bad colleges don’t. I’m not on that bandwagon. I think internationalization is a choice, and it doesn’t HAVE TO BE a major focus of a college’s overall strategic plan or mission.

Let’s compare the demographics of Baruch with Middlesex Community College and Ohio University. If you look at Baruch’s numbers, they show that the college is extremely diverse. Lots of whites, blacks, Asians, and Hispanics. As I’ve mentioned before, over half of these students are either from other countries or have parents who came from abroad. I just don’t see the purpose of pushing and pushing internationalization at a college like this. It’s internationalized enough as it is. Now, let’s look at Middlesex’s and Ohio’s numbers. Quite a different story! The former is 66% white and the latter is almost 82%! I think it makes sense why these colleges have such thorough plans- because they want to attract more diverse students. By encouraging study abroad programs, international students, IaH, these schools can become ‘better.’

To me, all a school like Baruch needs to do is celebrate what it already has. Clubs, events, representation- that’s more important. Show the students that they are wanted and respected. If some students want to study abroad, make sure a program exists. But, personally, I do not believe Baruch needs a global strategy like that of Middlesex or Ohio.

5 thoughts on “W9- Let’s look at the Stats

  1. I wholeheartedly disagree with your assessment that Baruch does not need a global strategy simply based on statistics on student population. The purpose of a global education is not just diversity in student population. That is quite simply a whole separate category. The purpose of a global education is to produce global citizens who can function with skills (soft and hard) in a globally inter-connected economy. That means changes to global curriculum and global engagement and attention to target countries where there are assets, opportunities and relationships to build on. It also means a focus on study and service outside the US as well as a focus on international students and global recruitment. To stay globally competitive, Baruch cannot rest on its laurels of being in a cosmopolitan and diverse city. That alone will not prepare our students for the global challenges they will face upon graduation.

    1. Thank you for responding! This is exactly what I was hoping for- some debate. You articulately expressed several key arguments in favor of internationalization and the integration of a thorough global strategy into an HEI’s mission. Generally speaking, I agree with you. Colleges must understand that there is a whole world out there that students are a part of, and should adapt to an ever-expanding web of international relationships and opportunities. While I concede this point, I ask myself what the true intentions are of institutions, like Middlesex Community College and Ohio University, who have these wonderfully extensive global strategy plans. Do they really believe that modifying some curricula and pursuing partnerships in other countries will produce global citizens, or do they just want to attract more students? What better way to set themselves apart from their rivals than by offering a ‘global education.’ Is it any different than advertising a new state-of-the-art recreational/sports facility or residence hall? It’s an investment, both in the institution and the students themselves. Again, I am not disagreeing with the cogency or content of your argument; I’m just taking a different, albeit pessimistic, perspective on internationalization.

  2. Hi Ben,

    Throughout the course of this class, I don’t think we’ve been saying that smart colleges support internationalization while “bad” colleges don’t. I think we’re saying that in this day and age, institutions of higher education should be in tune with the increasingly interconnected world that we live in and the importance of cooperation on a global level. That doesn’t mean that every institution has to have the same approach to internationalization on campus. Rather, they should do what is best for their specific situation.

    You note that Baruch needs to celebrate what it has. I agree. But in order for that to be made a priority that is infused into multiple aspects of campus life and subsequently implemented effectively, Baruch needs a plan. Simply being a diverse campus with students from different countries does not mean Baruch can rest on its strengths – doing so would be a disservice to its students. It needs to foster its strengths so they are translated into successful learning opportunities for all students. So yes, their plan doesn’t necessarily need to include international student recruitment or heavy emphasis on study abroad. But like global strategic plans at other institutions, it does need to be well thought out, organized, wide-reaching, and disseminated and implemented effectively while focusing on its strengths and improving upon its weaknesses.


  3. Hello Ben,

    I do not agree with your stance on internationalization within the United States. Although Baruch College has a diverse student body, it’s important for American born students to experience cultures and ways of life personally in other countries. I have not been fortunate enough to study abroad and I know I am missing out on the opportunity to immerse myself in someone else’s lifestyle and fully grasp the differences and learn. I have met people from other countries throughout this program and it’s great to hear some of the stories and eat some of their food during the GSA social events. But, at the end of the day it’s human nature to resort to what you know and surround yourself with ideals and practices you are familiar with. Study abroad programs force you out of your comfort zone and I think Baruch students need that because no amount of programming will be equivalent.


  4. While Baruch has a level of student diversity that many institutions can only dream of attaining, population itself does not make Baruch internationalized. This thread brings me back to our Internationalization at Home readings, and the discussion on internationalizing the curriculum. While some professions may require competency specific to New York state requirements (law, nursing), others can only benefit from a global awareness. Baruch graduates are likely to end up in professions with some level of global focus, whether that is their intention or not, and they will be at an advantage to have experienced global awareness and cultural competency while in school, rather than face a learning curve on the job. This even more likely for students who remain to pursue careers in New York City.

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