In Bridges to the Future, Deardorff, De Wit, and Heyl summarized many topics we have spoken about in this course such as the need for internationalization efforts to fit into the overall strategic vision and mission of the institution, the difficulty of balancing the benefits and risks of internationalization, and the resourcefulness, collaboration, and commercialization resulting from declining public funding.  The authors note that internationalization of education is often looked at from the Western perspective, with developing countries mainly sending students to North America and Europe and acting as beneficiaries of capacity building initiatives.

The publication goes on to highlight challenges and opportunities in different regions of the world.  For example, Professor Gacel-Avila from the University of Guadalajara writes about various challenges to internationalization in Latin American including the low enrollment in postgraduate studies, the lack of government support and funding, and limited foreign language proficiency of the students.  In contrast, Professor Ota of Hitotsubashi University in Japan describes the Japanese government’s involvement in internationalization, first to encourage modernization of the country and later to become a leader in hosting students in the region.

IHE at Twenty: Special 20th Anniversary Feature: Higher Education’s Future offers various perspectives regarding the greatest challenges facing higher education in the next two decades.  Looking at the many opinions of experts in the field, the most common challenge was massification and maintaining quality in an era of increasing enrollments.  Various authors explained that increasing participation in higher education means that the diversity of students will increase and their collective needs will change, making instruction more challenging, assuming the same quality standards apply.  Access to higher education is important, but it gains of an “educated” society are negated if quality is not maintained.  These problems are intensified when also factoring in decreasing public funding.

Another theme that I thought was interesting was the importance of recognizing and rewarding effective teaching.  In “The Challenge of Effective Teaching” Bernasconi notes that this is especially challenging because rankings and reputation are only tied to research outputs, making the teaching responsibilities of professors secondary in importance.  Echoes Salmi, “The overemphasis on research sends the wrong signal that the quality of teaching and learning is not important” (p 17).  In fact an article named Teaching vs. Research from Inside Higher Ed found that out of 122 universities that offer PhD degrees in political science, only 41 of them offer courses on how to become a good teacher and only 28 of those require a course on this topic.  Even the way we are training our graduate students emphasizes research over teaching.  Thoughtful and effective faculty and staff at higher education institutions are crucial to both higher education within a country and intentional, impactful internationalization strategies.

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4 thoughts on “W13 – The Future of Higher Education and Internationalization

  1. I agree that in the propensity to elevate technology as the answer to or catalyst for the successful future of higher education, effective teaching can get lost in the dialogue. But as have seen in our readings and discussions to date, teaching is at the core of effective learning and the assurance of quality content and programming to produce global citizens and meaningful global education. Over emphasis on research and rankings will prevent proper focus and growth of internationalization with the challenges already inherent in internationalization and quality assurance. Technology can only be meaningful with effective teaching and effective teaching can only benefit from technological advancements in online learning.

  2. As someone who is drawn mostly to the academic affairs side of college operations, I appreciate the last part of your blog. From our readings this semester, you seem absolutely correct- that the majority of rankings and the determination of reputation is based solely on research, and not teaching. I’m sure many of us would agree that many professors are experts in their fields, not teachers. This occurs most often in STEM fields- researchers travel to other countries and become professors in their given area. Most cannot teach if their lives depended on it, and it brings down the quality of education the students can receive. Professors who are given the opportunity for professional development oftentimes reject those offers, or at least that is what I have heard throughout my years in higher education. How are we going to combat this trend?

  3. Hi Kristen — thanks for your post! Like Ben, I was especially interested in the last part of your post about effective teaching. Reflecting back on my undergraduate career, I had a very mixed experience in this regard, which is common at public and/or research universities. While I was able to find my way through a large public university, if I had to do it again I would definitely consider attending a liberal arts college where the focus is more on teaching (though research is still important). However, I don’t think that being a good researcher and being a good teacher are antithetical; my favorite professor at UW was both. I think it would be very helpful if graduate students were required to take a course or two in education pedagogy or student development. This would be especially helpful in terms of internationalization, because it would give the faculty more of an understanding about how to approach teaching students with diverse backgrounds. “Publish or perish” does a disservice to higher education by valuing research above teaching.

  4. I agree with my classmates, it seems that teaching is not the core concern of the globalization of higher ed, as I’ve mentioned in my own blog posts, when students of other countries move to the US they are often given a hard time because their courses aren’t equivalent to ours, the reverse also occurs, when our students go aboard they might have to “overload” on courses just match our credit requirements, which isn’t fair, why is it a thing to decide that courses aren’t “equivalent”. This is an issue within our own borders, CUNY as taken a step is the hopefully direction with pathways, but this isn’t perfect as of yet because it is fairly new, but ultimately if there could be some sort of global pathways for courses, that would be something!

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