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.