Blog 13: Melissa Parsowith (Make-up Post, in lieu of attendance of last class, 5.16)

For my final make-up blog post, I decided to dissect an article published by a prominent group in International Higher Education, NAFSA. NAFSA is an association of international educators and the acronym stands for National Association of Foreign Student Advisers. NAFSA is a non-profit professional organization for professionals in all areas of international education, including but not limited to: education abroad, advising and administration, campus internationalization, admissions, outreach, overseas advising, and ESL administration. I really liked this article titled, “The Changing Landscape of Global Higher Education,” because I think it ties together some common themes of this course.

To begin, the article opens by identifying what this organization considered Internationalization to be. They write “Internationalization is the conscious effort to integrate and infuse international, intercultural, and global dimensions into the ethos and outcomes of postsecondary education. To be fully successful, it must involve active and responsible engagement of the academic community in global networks and partnerships.” I absolutely agree with their definition of Internationalization as it relates to our class discussions and findings.

The article goes on to explain that NAFSA finds internationalization extremely important, and they have tried to contribute to international higher education in many different ways. NAFSA was instrumental in the formation of the Inter-Associational Network on Campus Internationalization (INCI), which recently debuted a common portal for information on internationalization from the 11 INCI organizations (see www.campusinternationalization.org). They also contribute efforts within promoting policies to enhance international education and exchange between the United States and other nations. NAFSA was founded in 1948, so with over 60 years of experience, they have a strong resume of providing professional services for postsecondary exchange students.

Another great practice which NASFA promotes is their annual conference. NAFSA’s annual conference and expo is the largest and most recognized venue in the world for international educators. Once described as an event which is “a United Nations of International Education,” this event brings together 7,500 attendees from all corners of the globe to learn more about the field, share best practices, and network with colleagues. “The bustling and vibrant conference exhibit hall features more than 450 organizations, universities, and companies who support international education. Conference participants and exhibitors alike say that NAFSA is the one conference that individuals in the field of international education must attend each year.”

Like many things that we have discussed in class, NAFSA also believes that the future of international higher education is a growing one. They strongly believe that by the year 2025, the global demand for higher education seats will as much as double to roughly 200 million per year, most of which will come from today’s emerging economies. Therefore, I think it is a great idea to look at organizations such as NAFSA for a deeper look into where international higher education is headed, and what other similar organizations are around to help support this growing cause.

W12, Blog 12: Melissa Parsowith (Post #2, In lieu of 3 Discussion Comments)

(Please note: I am submitting an additional blog post for Week 12 here, in lieu of posting the 3 comments on Week 12 blogs – I will be on medical leave 5/5/-5/19)

For my additional blog post, I wanted to write about a very interesting article that I came upon during my Week 12 research. After reading both articles for this week, I found myself searching deeper into internationalization in our home country. While I love reading about the education systems in other countries, I find myself most compelled to read about studies in the U.S because it is the easiest for me to conceptualize.

Found on HigherEdJobs.com, I really liked a piece titled “US Losing its Domninance in Global Higher Education Market.” Because this week’s readings were all about the internationalization of Higher Education and the many things to consider/challenges we face in this unique field, I found it most relevant to discuss another article about our home country.  In this piece, author Jason Lane explains that while most Americans assume students from other countries come to us to study abroad, statistics are starting to show otherwise! In fact, many U.S students are compelled to travel abroad for their education. In our class, we have discussed Internationalization at Home, and previous readings have provided statistics that show the U.S is a primary destination for international study. Yet, he elaborates, “Germany alone, with its essentially free higher education system, is drawing a fair number of prospective US college students. Some 4,660 US students were enrolled in German universities last year – a number that has increased by 20% in three years” (Lane, 2015, p.1). I found this extremely interesting because as an American who has gone through all stages of education here (never having studied abroad) I am only familiar with the concept of friends leaving the U.S to study abroad for one semester, or going to a Caribbean medical college.

Yet, this article brings up the controversial notion that U.S students may be compelled to seek their education elsewhere, contrary to the many discussions we have had about the U.S being the most desirable place to learn! He explains, “We can confidently say that the United Kingdom was the leading destination for US students. Most US students (72%) in this data set head to anglophone countries. Master’s degree programs are the most popular option (followed by undergraduate programs and then doctoral)” (Lane, 2015, p.1). I was not very surprised to see that the U.K would be the most popular destination, followed by a majority of English-speaking countries. Although American students may wish to study abroad, I can completely understand wanting to stay somewhere that is relatable and familiar while still achieving a new experience.

W12, Blog 12: Melissa Parsowith (Article Response)

This week’s readings, “Bridges to the Future” and “IHE at Twenty: Higher Education’s Future” both provided lots of thoughtful analysis regarding the future of global Higher Education. As we have previously discussed in this course, there are many moving parts which play a role in the internationalization of Higher Education. As mentioned in “Bridges to the Future,” there are several emerging themes to consider for the field of global Higher Education. As the world around us changes politically and economically, so does the capability for providing educational services, both at home and overseas. We must consider many things when discussing higher education and its future as a global entity. We must dissect the concept of internationalization itself, the impacts of emerging technologies, the changes in the study abroad field, as well as the broad notion of global citizenship just to name a few of several important topics. On top of all of these things, one must also consider potential limitations like financial constraints, policy hurdles, governmental involvement and support (or lack thereof) as well as competency and assessment challenges. As both articles reiterate, the future of international higher education seems bright, but those in the field are not without reservations.

Something that I found most interesting about both of these articles was that they prompted the reader to think critically and to ask the important questions. For instance, in “Bridges to the Future,” the author writes “Key questions emerge in this area: Will institutions remain institution-centric or move to global-centric? How do global efforts align with the institutional mission? What competencies are needed for institutions to engage as global citizens in the world?” (p.458) In IHE at Twenty, they add “There is a dichotomy between the necessity of education and supporting elite research institutions.” (p.4) How will we ensure that both aspects of Higher Education are appropriately supported? Although the articles do not have direct solutions to all of these questions, I think it is wonderful that these concepts are being introduced in a way which forces the reader to make their own interpretations of the information.

In a similar article titled, “Global: The big challenges for higher education” the author continues on the same train of thought by bringing up another concerning and thought-provoking issue: the fairness involved in the accessibility of higher education, especially globally. She writes, “”It is still the case for most systems that despite massification, access is primarily for people from advanced socio-economic groups. So the issue of fairness in access to higher education remains.” (MacGregor, 2010, p.1) I find the question of fairness to be one which requires much more thought and research, but wanted to bring it up to show the evolution of the questions involved here, and how complex the topic can be.

W11, Blog 11: Melissa Parsowith (Article Response)

This week’s reading provided deeper insight into the world of internationalization of Higher Education. In the survey piece by the IAU, they review the highlights of their findings from a global survey which included 1,336 institutions from 131 countries. Something that I initially found interesting was that this is the 4th edition of the survey, conducted almost four years since the previous one, and it garnered almost double the responses since the last edition! Because assessment is something we so regularly discuss in our class, I would be very curious to find out why their participation rates increased so dramatically. They mentioned that over 6,800 institutions were solicited to participate, using an electronic link. I wonder if in the past these surveys were also sent electronically. While the respondents included the most replies on average from regions such as North America and Europe, they also included participation from Africa, Asia & Pacific, Latin American & the Caribbean, as well as the Middle East. Overall, the findings here seemed to be optimistic and congruent to our class discussions. As expected, globalization of higher education continues to grow in importance among institutions across the globe, and targeted academic goals and student mobility remain specific priorities of this broad mission. I was a bit surprised to learn that risks regarding internationalization have remained fairly consistent between this and previous IAU surveys, seeing as the state of international affairs is somewhat rocky. I wasn’t as surprised to learn that there still remains difficulty in assessing foreign programs.

In the “Mapping Internationalization on U.S Campuses” by the Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement, they review their findings after surveying U.S colleges and universities regarding internationalization activities from 2011. This survey was a bit different than those conducted in 2001 and 2006 because they decided to include “special focus” institutions this time, or institutions who “award baccalaureate or higher-level degrees where a high concentration (more than 75%) is a single field or set of related fields.” Similar to the IAU, the overall results from this survey were positive. Once again, it was discovered through the survey that internationalization is advancing. For these institutions, they saw movement in iAh (internationalization at the home campus), strategic partnerships, and an expansion in international student recruitment and staff. I also find it important to mention that while overall the outlook for internationalization is promising, there still lies certain challenges in assessment and student learning outcomes as a whole.

Overall, I was very pleased to read that the internationalization of higher education is headed in a good direction. In this article by Inside Higher Ed, researchers confirm that internationalization is more and more becoming a priority for institutions across the globe. I am very interested to see how this movement plays out over the years to come, especially with the upcoming advances in technology.

W10, Blog 10: Melissa Parsowith (Article Response)

For this week’s readings, I started with John Fielden’s piece, “Global Trends in University Governance.” Fielden opens his work with a strong opinion about the role of government in Higher Education, explaining “that institutions should, as far as possible, be free to manage their own affairs” (Fielden, p.1, 2008). I found this quote extremely compelling seeing as we have been studying the role of the government and the state in International affairs, and how it directly enhances or hinders global efforts. Fielden’s writing is clear and concise. He beautifully illustrates his thoughts, while making a seemingly lengthy topic easy to comprehend. In his work, he speaks about governance in Higher Education and the growing need for a strong and effective management system. He reviews the governance of Higher Education, starting with the broad framework and narrowing it down to levels of autonomy of both private and public sectors, funding, and his conclusions. Overall, I found this article to bring up an extremely important conversation about the purpose of government and management of higher education systems. In a field which is seeing new growth internationally, it was interesting to read more about what rules are already put in place, and how effectively they are helping to manage our schools worldwide.

Keeping in topic, I then read “Governance reforms and university autonomy in Asia” by N.V Varghese and Michaela Martin. Together, they bring up the argument that university management systems have shifted from a “state control” to a “state supervision” model. Similar to many conversations we have had in class, it has becoming important to acknowledge the states role (or lack thereof) in Higher Education as reforms progress. In this article, the authors take a deeper look at case studies from Asian countries such as Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam. In these countries, they were given more autonomous management structures. As the authors mention, “the move towards autonomy is constrained by financial uncertainties in many less developed countries” (Varghese, 2013, p.3) Naturally, I always think of the United States and our higher education system when reading about the governance or autonomy achieved by other countries. While I know it can be seen as negative that we do not have our own ministry of education, I personally enjoy that our institutions are given so much freedom, both via governance and academically. For me, this conversation brings up the greater issue of law in Higher Education, and how countries with more autonomous Higher Education systems are able to use internal controls to synthesize a stronger system overall.