Last semester I was enrolled in an educational policy course that focused on the policies for K-12 Eduacation. It was valuable to learn the options parents, students, and teachers are given at that level to determine where higher education institutitons would be able to take advantage of servicing low income students before their first semester in college. I just perused through an article by Butrymowicz that illustrates how Australia surpassed the U. S. in graduating low income and first generation students. Through the program Fast Forward, eligbilble students (low-income or single parent family, first in their family to enter a higher education program, at least one unemployed parent or be in foster care) are taught how to study effectively, visit campuses, how to apply to college and scholarship opportunities within the first three years. During their final year in highschool, seniors attended sessions that helped them create and build on their resumes, challenged their personal and professional career goals, introduced them to the benefit of study abroad, and be basics of adjusting to college life.
Throughout this course, we have continuously mentioned the lack of funding higher education institutions receive via the government, especially for international programs in the U. S. Ultimately, the students that are able to participate in these types of programs are wealthier students because they can afford it. Although Australia hasn’t experienced budget cuts to this program like American insitutions have been struggling to overcome, the concept of the government giving schools money to educate low-income and first generation students earlier is conducive to closing the gaps amongst classes. As we have discussed in class and from my own personal experience, students will stay and graduate if they successfully acclimate to the college experience. Factors that have a major influence on acclimation include joining clubs/organizations, preparation and knowledge of what to expect before the first class, less stress on financial matters, and having an overall positive, impactful learning opportunity (study abroad). Imagine each institution signing a contractual oath each with the government explaining in detail how its misson and strategic plans carries out the government’s goals on higher education. Instead of orientations in two weeks before school, eligble high school students and parents are being groomed for post-secondary education. This means parents can learn to start saving earlier for their children to partake in study abroad programs. I can only see a win-win result.
Where is direction of Internationalization of Higher Education Administration headed? Both of the readings for this week offer a great summation of all of the trends, ideas and challenges we have addressed throughout this sesmester such as wealthier students being able to partake in study abroad opportunities more frequently than students from low-income families, (access and equity are major themes and I believe they need to be addressed in secondary and post-secondary schools first before we tackle it within internationalization) lack of financial backing, global rankings, technological advances such as MOOC’s, incorporating detailed strategic plans into the mission of the institution, and forming partnerships. I appreciate one of the articles, Bridges to the Future by Deardorff, De Wit and Heyl mentioning one of the main questions that should be and will be tackled in the future: What principles are most important when creating a foundational base to identify and assess students, faculty, and staff as global citizens? In previous weeks it was established that keeping faculty and staff on board with the international objectives of a program and offering professional development trickles down to high student participation and engagement in study abroad programs. I do not believe faculty should pracitce changing their international courses and lesson plans to make it more attractive to students. Doing so makes it seem like faculty is handling higher education as a business in the classroom and attempting to service customers. A professor should format a course by provididing exceptional and relevant knowledge and tools a student needs, not what they want.
However, the brick and mortar structure of Higher Education needs to be adjusted to keep up with the rapid changing world. The IHE reading pointed out there will be an unbundling of higher education functions with the focus on core functions like teaching and research. This is greatly needed since there has been a vast increase in global enrollments into higher education programs. Students realize obtaining a bachelors and/or masters degree is a critical asset to behold for future success. Yet, as enrollment increases, there has been a massive decline in public funding, shortages of qualified instructors, and private sectors are increasing tuition. It would behoove internationalization innovators to proceed knowing there is a new generation of students raised in an era in which the rate of information is obtained and shared exponentially via social networking platforms, texting, and virtual gaming systems. Future innovators need to take into account that there is a growing popular vote for online learning and students are able to learn in various ways. Solutions have to be cost effective, transparent for faculty, and allow all students the opportunity to participate regardless of income.
In the reading, ACE Mapping Internationalization on U. S. Campuses, it introduced comprehensive internationalization and dissected six target areas for initiatives, policies, and programs. The six items in the model included: Articulated institutional commitment, administrative structure and staffing, curriculum and co-curriculum and learning outcomes, faculty policies and practices, student mobility, and collaboration and partnerships. I didn’t find it surprising that there has been a steady decline in associate and specialized institutions in administrative structure and staffing. While doctoral and baccalaureate institutions are likely to have an office, with adequate staffing, dedicated to internationalization, associate institutions do not have the same resources. I am taking a fundraising course this semester and lack of staff generates the same issues within that department. Fundraising and Alumni relations is a rarity in associate institutions because students typically use them as a transition method. Donors have the misconception that institutions like Kingsborough are well funded through the city and state and alumni choose to give donations to the school they end up receiving their bachelor’s degree from. Respectively, I believe small private institutions may have difficulty designating an office or influx of staff to focus on implementing internationalization programs.
Although the reading addresses the significance of building co-curriculum programs and activities on campus and restructuring the professional development of faculty to incorporate internationalization, therein lies a funding discrepancy. For programs and events on campus, would the funding come from the original budget or would a separate budget be developed for international purposes. I predict restrictions and employee pushback for both pathways. Using money from current programming will of course reduce the resources being utilized to fulfill successful events. Fundraising for an international program may work for the first few years of its inception, since donors love giving for innovation, but after a grant runs out, where will the money come from? It would be up to the school to make a budget cut to ensure the program continues. But wouldn’t that mean it wouldn’t have the potential to flourish? We have previously discussed how influential onboard and knowledgeable faculty can be to the success of study abroad programs. However, the reading mentioned workshops on internationalizing the curriculum and funding for travel to conferences declined. How can we expect faculty to make a commitment to internationalization and incorporate it into tenure decisions when financially U. S. institutions cannot provide awards for achievement and necessary professional development to continue learning, teaching and researching abroad.
I did notice a slight disparity between the two readings. The ACE report mentioned foreign language requirement is not enforced for associate and specialized students, which was odd to me because I thought it would be a basic fundamental. Spanish and French are the main languages U. S. students choose to study. However, the IAU Global Survey found that English, Spanish, and Chinese are the fastest growing foreign language courses students are enrolled in globally. If that’s the case, U. S. higher education institutions should remove French and make Chinese and Spanish the main languages available for study. It would make us better candidates for overseas Asian and Latin partnerships. Internationalization is currently used as a revenue source, but the main objective should be on nurturing student learning and develop international competencies that allow students to blend, function, and succeed in a globalized world.
In the reading, Governance reforms and university autonomy in Asia by Varghese, 5 varying Asian countries (Camodia, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Japan) were used for comparison in a research project. Supposedly, they varied in terms of economic and educational development. I found it interesting that these countries had differing higher education systems than America, such as ministries of Education, yet they made moves to reform their governance systems (in its early stages) to compete with the progressive usage of market mechanisms that other institutions practice. One key concept from this reading focused on creating academic and administrative autonomy. Unfortunately Cambodia is the lowest income country amongst the five and experienced difficulties with this adoption.
Previously, the government/ministry of education shared governance with higher education institutions but held high responsibilities such as hiring college presidents, determining the tuition costs and determining which students to enroll. China, like other market based countries transitioned to allow central government to have limited power or more of a policy coordinating function. Autonomy is supposed to encourage institutions to function better because they are in charge. With the shift to autonomy, faculty members were happier because they were given academic freedom and it allowed them the opportunity to change the curriculum and offer new and exciting courses. Departments within these institutions have the ability to offer incentives to high achieving employees and budget their own funds, which is better than the top down method previously enforced. There are some setbacks, the administrative staff feels like they do not have as much autonomy as expected and their workload has increased. The workload for faculty has increased as well, but with the addition of academic freedom, it seems bearable. Sound a lot like problems within higher education institutions in America. These Asian countries made quality assurance mechanisms to improve quality, facilitate evaluation, and enhance both autonomy and accountability. The reading Global trends in university governance by Fielden suggest that quality assurance systems should be renewed every 5 to ten years. However, I fear the evaluation is too far spread out (every six years for Japan) to remain competitive and adaptable and since quality is not defined, I am not sure they are successfully measuring quality. Therefore, they may encounter similar issues that American institutions have been struggling with assessment.
In my blog post from the previous week, I discussed the importance of developing and carrying out S. M. A. R. T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). I was a bit disappointed that Baruch College did a fairly poor job at constructing a strategic plan for internationalization that lacked a thorough action plan without a detailed time frame. When we broke up into groups, it was interesting to realize that we all agreed that Baruch’s plan seemed like an amateur attempt. It was refreshing to review Middlesex Community College’s global education strategic plan this week. Instead of proposing to accomplish their objectives within five years, they chose to attempt to attain their goals within three years. I think this is a great idea because it would allow them to be more competitive and adaptable like other businesses that create new strategic plans every year or two. This institution also gave projected figures. For example, the chart labeled ‘Measuring Global Education’s Progress’ displayed numerical data for the amount of students currently taking study abroad or participating in multi-cultural events on campus. For their 2016-2017 goal, they gave realistic and attainable figures. Another reason why I enjoyed perusing the strategic plan of Middlesex had a lot to do with its transparency. There were charts that showcased complete tuition rates for students and exactly what the curriculum would entail. I remember in class we discussed how vital transparency is for an international program. When a program isn’t transparent, students are more likely to refrain from participating because all of the information is not available, especially when costs are not provided. They were even transparent during their analysis section when considering their strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. In order to execute any plan, one must understand the full scope of their own potential and prepare for unexpected situations along the way. Next year, I would like to see how successful this school has been and whether or not they achieved their main goals.
The reading Global Strategy and Internationalization at OHIO presented an institution with a great model in place. This institution has globalization already in their mission statement and actively promotes internationalization in all of their program (not just within the internationalization office). This institution also seeks skilled and diverse faculty and staff. I enjoyed learning that Ohio University has an awards program in place that honors three high achieving faculty members each year. This is great for morale and attracting faculty. Prospective students of this institution already know a second language and are engaged in global affairs. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising to discover most of the individuals in global leadership positions stem from this institution. The only issue I have with this institution is I fear all institutions would not be able to duplicate it. It feels like they are picking the cream of the crop (in regards to students, faculty, and staff) with a strong background in civic and global interests. What about measuring the students that are admitted without knowledge of a second language? Do those students excel post-graduation as well?