W13 Cross-border mobility

“Monopoly power of universities on knowledge creation and dissemination would be significantly diluted as a diverse set of non-university actors emerge on the horizon. Moreover, the distinction between for-profit and nonprofit entities would get blurred…For most universities, a shift from the collegial to a managerial atmosphere is inevitable.”  I found this statement to be extremely powerful.  College degrees in the US are becoming less prestigious and looked at as necessary for any entry level job, making the prestige of your undergraduate institution relevant but not extremely important.  Everyone has a 4 year degree, so competition for entry level positions are high and you need more than just a degree to distinguish yourself from other candidates.  Thats why I believe future generations will care less about the college they go to (for profit, non profit, ivy league, public, etc.) and focus more on obtaining a degree while distinguishing themselves in other ways (internships, study abroad, involvement in college, etc.)

In Pawan Agarwal’s essay he mentions that international education will become a part of undergraduate study – through technology, exchanges and global partnerships, more students will be participating in these international experiences in one way or another and less students will be seeking to travel across boarders for their full education. He says: “The present trend of cross-border mobility of students for full course of study would be replaced by part study abroad through semester exchanges, etc”. While I see where his prediction is coming from, I happen to think the opposite will happen with US universities. I have read many articles discussing how the rising costs of US education is causing students to look oversees for options at full time study to complete their entire undergraduate degrees. With many 4-year public universities (and some private) in financial trouble, with less federal and state funding and no foreseeable solution in the future, I believe high tuition costs and high competition for applicants to public universities, I think more and more US students will see going to other countries as an option for a 4 year degree.  In some other countries, funding from the government is substantial enough to support very low (or sometimes free) tuition, even for international students.  The Washington Post posted the list in 2014 about 7 college in Europe that US students can study in English for free and this is by no means a comprehensive list.  According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, German Universities experienced a 33% increase in US students studying in Germany between 2010-2013 and England saw an 8% increase between 2012-2013.  Canada is also a popular destination for US students, as they offer similar universities and are very close to home.  The benefits of getting a college degree abroad are also increasing, students can learn a new language, finish degrees in less than 4 years, and stand out on their resume. I am curious to see how this plays out over the next 10 years!

Mapping Internationalization: Student Mobility

Before taking this course, I viewed student mobility as the most significant part of an internationalization strategy. One where some institutions had an advantage over others, with more capital, staffing and programing built into the curriculum to support these initiatives; not all colleges could compete. The ACE article we read this week, as well as many of the other articles and case studies we have looked at throughout the semester, support the practice of a more “comprehensive internationalization”, where campuses can achieve a more overall international campus, involving support and buy-in from the entire campus community. The ACE survey project to map internationalization at US campuses was extremely helpful to put in perspective where the United States currently lies and how far we’ve come over the last decade in the internationalization initiative happening globally. Despite the economic struggles are country has recently faced, almost half of institutions surveyed stated their funding for internationalization has increased and 27 percent said their funding has remained steady since 2008. Between 2006’s survey and the 2011 survey – scholarships and funding for student mobility seems more prominent among institutions. Across all types of institutions, doctoral, masters, baccalaureate, associates and special focus, scholarships for education abroad increased from between 4% – 13% between 2006 and 2011. All schools increased their efforts, with special focus institutions making the biggest jump, going from 0% in 2006 to 26% in 2011. However, despite the increase in funding, it was disappointing to see that 42% of higher education institutions do not offer any form of study abroad activity. Due to some of the conversations we have had in class, what is not surprising was the increased efforts and scholarship opportunities for international students coming to the US to study. Almost 40%, of all types of institutions, had some form of international recruitment plan. This is not surprising as the high tuition price international students pay to study in the United States. Support services for international students have increased, however have a long way to go and I believe as these service opportunities and programming for international students increases, so will international applicants. Orientation seems to be the main service offered; however, international students need support far beyond their first week at the institution. The attached article shows how colleges are even increasing international student fees in order to provide better services and programming options specifically for international students.

University Governance

This weeks reading explored the topic of University Governance and what role the government plays in regulating/controlling higher education. In The World Bank article, two models explored are the state control model and the state supervising model. The first model entails the state government seeking to control the universities, while in the later model, the state seeks to just monitor and regulate universities, rather than control them. Different countries and institutions can have different levels of government involvement in their public universities. The article explores levels anywhere from fully state controlled, semi-autonomous, semi-independent, to completely independent.  Each model has it’s own advantages and disadvantages and depends on many different factors to determine what works for each countries university system – once again there is no “one size fits all” approach available.  Private institutions are another cause of conversation, as the state does not have direct authority to control the universities in the way they do with public institutions.  Many times financial aid, which is funded by the state and federal government, is granted to students who attend both public and private universities.  The money follows the student; therefore, in a sense, the government is partially funding private education – this is a common practice in the United States.  There are several issues that arise with the private sector of education as there is a belief that private institutions have financial gain as a primary interest in mind, rather than universal education. Some questions the article asks about regulating private universities include:

  • Should there be a balance between the public and private sectors?
  • Is it acceptable for the private sector to focus on commercially profitable programs, that focus on subjects which are in high demand
  • What regulatory processes can/should the state adopt and which will achieve results?
  • Will the same quality assurance regime be applied to both public and private institutions?

While the answers to these questions will vary, they are good starting points for viewing private education as a whole and how university governance should be carried out differently for public and private universities.  We also must not lose sight over the benefits of private education, as many times they fill a gap that private education cannot meet.  Private universities usually have the capital to build programs quicker and meet the need of students and the economy faster than public institutions.  There is also not enough space to educate the entire population in public institutions; therefore, private institutions help ensure a higher percentage of the population is able to seek higher education.  Although, this article was written in 2004, it addresses the important point that if the government is providing funding to private institutions, does that mean they have control?  The author does not believe it does because we are reminded that higher education isn’t controlled the same way lower levels of public education are regulated because students are not required to attend – seeking higher education is a choice.  If students are not satisfied with their experience at a university, they can take the tuition they pay somewhere else, causing the college to lose that funding source.  This is a type of “self-regulation” as colleges work hard to keep their students happy, as they are their consumers.

Strategic Planning for Internationalization in Higher Education

This weeks readings discuss one of the most important aspects of a successful strategy of internationalization of a college or university campus: strategic planning. Without a proper strategic plan, it is near impossible to set goals, make decisions and implement change at an institution of higher education. Change takes time and a strategic plan is necessary for a college or university to continue to advance and the same goes for implementing a new strategy of internationalization. I believe that the AIEA article did a excellent job of defining what a strategic plan is and the twelve principles of successful strategic planning. According to AIEA “…a strategic plan is ideally developed through an inclusive, collective process through which the participants develop a mission and a set of priorities to move the college or university toward an aspirational, but attainable, future state over a period of five or more years.” This definition speaks to all strategic plans in general, but it is important to note that an internationalization strategic plan must align itself with the colleges overall strategic plan, mission and goals. I enjoyed reading about Baruch College’s Global Strategic Plan 2014-2019 and how they connect it to the universities existing strategic plan. “…this Global Strategic Plan follows in the footsteps of the College Strategic Plan by extending our commitment to access and excellence to global opportunities, perspectives and partnerships which should be operationalized as soon as possible for maximum benefit to students and faculty.” Baruch’s plan also emphasizes the importance of collaboration between departments and without support and collective efforts, internationalization will not be possible. This speaks to AIEA’s principle #2 and #5 which note the importance of soliciting wide input, and transparency in the universities efforts.  When reading over Baruch Colleges Global Strategic Plan, I began looking at their initiatives to try and identify which of AIEA’s principles they are implementing and where they could use improvement.  It is clear that this version is in it’s early stages, but Baruch has made an attempt to address several of these principles including solicit wide input, seek transparency, establish a timeline, focus on curriculum and student learning, and educate the campus about the internationalization strategy.  Baruch discusses how they will first establish a communication campaign which announces the Global Strategic Plan.  I believe this is a great first step, as it will  help educate faculty, staff and students on what is currently happening at the school and how these changes are going to be implemented.  In addition, they discuss how each individual department or school will be tasked with evaluating their current international practices and how they can improve their initiatives to better align with the new global strategy.   The conclusion mentions the plan to create an assessment strategy for all five priorities of their strategic plan, which speaks to AIEA’s principle #10, to monitor and assess.  This step is crucial, as without an assessment plan, it will be hard to tell if Baruch is achieving the goals they set out to achieve.  I think as Baruch’s plan develops further, a more significant timeline should be established, with specific dates they wish to complete the 5 different priorities identified.  I also feel they can increase their efforts to “ensure that internationalization touches all students.”  The plan has specific efforts to increase international student enrollment and increase the number or american students studying abroad; however, I think their efforts to create global academic programs must be supported by extracurricular programs at home as well, in order to engage larger numbers of domestic students in its efforts.  Incorporating the budget model is a great plus, as it helps us see where and how these efforts will be financed.

Business models for HEI’s

I was particularly intrigued by this weeks readings from the OECD regarding the state of higher education, the need for long term strategic planning and looking at various policy reforms in higher education institutions throughout the world and how they can be used as models to solve some common problems all colleges and universities face. I found the information on business models interesting because we have discussed this a few times in my other higher education classes at Baruch, should colleges/universities be treated as businesses? Should students be treated as customers? Students are increasingly looking for a return on their investment into education. Do the same rules apply when running a business or a higher education institution? I think all of these questions are ones I never have a confident clear cut answer when discussing. No, I don’t believe students should only be concerned about their ROI, nor do I believe faculty, staff and administrators should look at them as customers. However, there is something to be said about the model universities have followed for many years, that doesn’t seem to be sustainable in the long run. We continue to hear about small liberal arts colleges being forced to close their doors because they can no longer afford to operate – or city and state universities funding from the federal and state government being cut year after year, forces schools to make major changes in order to continue operating. Maybe this shift towards a more “business-type” model will be necessary and beneficial to secure a more stable and strategic plan for institutions.

Defining an institutions value proposition: while almost all universities have a mission statement (or should!) this brings up the point that colleges and universities must not forget they are in competition with one another.  Schools with similar missions are competing for the same students, funding opportunities, stakeholders, prestigious faculty and staff, notoriety, etc.   I hadn’t thought about how having a strong mission can also contribute to a more cost effective system, because you are focusing your resources on specific areas which can create higher quality output.  Cost structure of higher education: if there is more money to be spent, a HEI will spend more money.  It is hard to measure expenditures of a university because it varies every year, depending on funding from the government, stakeholders, donations, enrollment numbers, etc.  Higher Education Institutions are not like normal businesses, they can’t make cuts just to save money, while still preserving the quality of their education and still making it affordable and accessible.  The revenue side of higher education finance: while the goal of HEI’s is usually not to make a profit (except in the for-profit sector) public funding and student tuition and fees are the two main sources of income for colleges and universities. I personally believe this is the biggest issue facing higher education institutions, with public funding decreasing each year, and tuition prices sky high, how is the model sustainable for years to come.  Increasing tuition is not the answer, as this decreases affordability and access for many students.  I personally come from a generation of people who are graduating with large amount of student loan debt, in an economy where we are many times under paid or under employed, which is hindering an entire generations future success.  The OECD article points out alternate sources of funding as options including philanthropy, contracting with private partners, research initiatives, and commercialization of products and services.  Performance based funding schemes are also mentioned, but also explored is the array of potential negative effects and limitations these can have on HEI’s.  I think the article has done a great job of identifying possible business models and providing a framework for self-assessment which I believe many colleges and universities could greatly benefit from.