I wanted to share couple of my articles related to Oxford report on Trends in International Higher Education. The report highlighted that “International branch campuses are expanding to include non-traditional countries.” It added that
While branch campuses remain a popular facet of institutional international strategies, there have been a number of high profile closures.
In my previous article “International branch campuses get too much attention“, I have argued that branch campuses are infrastructure-intensive efforts that come with high financial and reputational risks and higher education institutions interested in global engagement may also experiment with emerging online learning efforts. These are low-cost, flexible alternative for ‘glocal’ students to potentially earn a foreign credential – ‘glocal’ students aspire to earn an international education or experience without having to leave their home or region.
This directly connects with another trends identified by the Oxford report on technology. While the Oxford report takes a critical view of MOOCs, it does recognizes that “Technology is becoming central to the process of learning and teaching in higher education and, in some countries, is driving wider access to education and training.”
The landscape of internationalization is still shifting with no one size fit all approach, but experimentation with technology is emerging as a new strategy for global engagement.
Feel free to critique/comment on this theme in your future posts.
The international branch campus: Models and trends, Line Verbik
The new branch campus model: expand at home, compete everywhere, ICEF
International branch campuses of UK universities in UAE: Highlights from QAA
One of the more interesting topics I found from this week’s reading was the section on scholar mobility and what types of policies and program are in place for matured academics and researchers to travel abroad. As mentioned in our class discussion, a lot of policies and practices of international higher education are based on the assumption that all higher education students are the traditional undergraduate college aged students. However, I believe that changing the direction and focusing more attentions on graduate students, doctoral candidates and faculty members would be of great value for internationalizing higher education.
In order to meet the demand of higher education in the country there must be enough researchers, lecturers and professors to have a robust faculty at an institution. As noted in the report, having scholar mobility is a way to building higher education capacity in a nation. International higher education policies should definitely do more to expand this population’s access to opportunities abroad for doctoral degrees and for research. Researchers and other doctoral students can diversify the types of programs and expertise they bring with them to the institution. By attracting professors and researcher to their campuses, it can, in turn, attract other students to come to the university. Countries that want to build their capacity in research in and in professors should take on a more active role to pursue these candidates and to bring them to their country. Russia was spotlighted in the Chronicle of Higher Education in November about creating a program that aims to increase the number of scholars and researchers to the country. According to the article, the Russian government has been taking a very active role in recruiting foreign researchers because the government believes that this will help to raise its international rankings. The government hopes to attract researchers by providing tax and benefits incentives for those who are going to be employed at a university and additional grant funding for research.
For countries like Russia, that want to build their capacity, having more scholar mobility oriented policies would benefit them greatly. However, for countries such as the United States that already have such a high concentration of scholars, researchers and institutions, this might not be the best policy approach. In addition, the Chronicle’s article noted that this new incentive program is geared towards attracting scientists, researchers and scholars of Russian origin to return. From this line it seems like Russia wants to bring back the talent that has left their country by offering incentives. However, if the program is so focused on recruit scientists of Russian origin, the country would not have a very diverse population of researchers. It could be that Russia experienced a “Brain Drain” and now wants to bring back the talent they have lost. Achieving the diversity might not be Russia’s aim; but, giving preference to just one ethnicity of scientists and scholars might not allow them to attract the talent they desire.
Russia’s new program is definitely a step in the right direction if the country wants to increase scholar mobility and capacity but the narrowed concentration on scholars of Russian origin might not give the country its optimal results.
The policy category of Student Mobility was my favorite of the two covered in the ACE reading. The subcategories of Inbound and Outbound Mobility, Degree and Credit Mobility discuss the national polices implemented to further international higher education.
Visa policies are the first and foremost issue for inbound student mobility. The reading covers differing approaches, with Australia streamlining their application process, and efforts of the European Union to ease intra-EU mobility for non-EU students. However, we also have the United Kingdom increasing visa regulations in response to concerns about international students at public colleges.
How will the recent Paris terror attacks affect visa restrictions for international students? France introduced new measures during the last few years aimed to increase inbound international students to 20% of total higher ed enrollment. Have recent events made France reconsider this goal? This will be an issue to watch going forward, especially among nations they may consider to be ‘high risk’.
Another vital issue is that of ‘harmonization’, or alignment of educational systems. Differing academic calendars, credit systems and degree structures can inhibit student and job mobility.
I have seen harmonization issues in my workplace regarding graduate admissions qualifications. A four year Bachelors degree is required, meaning that students who completed their undergraduate studies in a country with a three year system were ineligible for our Masters programs. This issue of incohesive educational systems lost my school some talented applicants and left them with fewer options to further their studies. ACE gives examples of successful harmonization initiatives such as the Bologna Process in Europe and the Reykjavik Declaration in Scandinavia, which provide common standards and mutual recognition of credentials. Harmonization policies provide greater opportunities for students residing in participating regions. However I wonder if harmonization efforts put pressure on regions with fewer resources to conform to the standards set by wealthier regions. What disadvantages are faced by students in a region with a unique higher ed system that does not have the means to adapt to (often) Western standards? If higher education is to be truly global, what are the responsibilities of developed regions to the rest of the world?
From the reading, it was interesting to learn more about questions that were raised from last week’s readings about how the programs compare to each. I did not realize the vast number of focuses policies and programs could have for promoting internalization of higher education. This is probably because of some goals being discrete as mentioned by the readings, or not intended. The section that mentioned the “study in” initiatives was very interesting to read and compare to how U.S. post-secondary education institutions attract local students to apply in general in the United States. There’s also heavy use of websites and the internet to try to attract more international applicants.
Since I intern with the Baruch Fellowship Advisor this semester, I’ve gotten a lot more exposure to all the internationalization efforts done by not just the U.S. but other countries as well who have partnerships from the U.S. or want to attract inbound students from all over the world in general. It was eye-opening to read more in-depth about the opportunities the Office promotes to Baruch students, and the motives behind each initiative.
And I know that degree mobility and credit mobility were two things that caused my friends to hesitate from studying abroad, it was fascinating to read about how some countries are trying to make it easier for students, while others are tightening the reins on it. Personally, I know that at Baruch certain departments are not very welcoming of courses taken outside of the U.S. due to a number of reasons. At the time, I found it frustrating, but I can see how some departments may worry about the quality of the course taken abroad and the effects it may have.
In addition to the section on student mobility, it was nice to read more about how knowledge and research exchange between countries are also a motive of internationalization. I’ve had friends who’ve gone abroad to research in other countries either through initiatives set forth by the U.S. (i.e. the Fulbright program) or by initiatives implemented by the host country to foster more knowledge exchange. I, myself, it very interested in going abroad again to expand my own knowledge of the world and just to have more experiences in other places.
Again, this week’s reading was very informative, and I’m looking forward to reading about the comparison analysis of the programs in next week’s reading.
This week’s reading focused on the four main goals that would push a country towards higher education internalization, these four main rationales are: academically, politically, economically and culturally. Globally, institutes of higher education are investing a multitude of resource outside of finances into this venture. For just about every country in the world, politics is a major part of their day to day lives. Whether we realize it or not, politics have a major effect on how we go about our day to day lives, and how we live our lives in general. With this in mind, it seems plausible that the academic, economic, and cultural stand points for towards higher education internalization are simply branches of a political tree. All nations, not matter what they preach wants what’s best for the nation, so no, it’s not the needs of the people first, it’s the needs of the nation as a whole. When the nation is “good” and all needs are met, this goodness can trickle down and affect the people, when all the needs of the nation aren’t met, this too affects the people.
This for the good of the nation is shown in this week’s reading. Hans de Wit outlined the possible benefits of internalization, there is little to no mention of how the students would be affected, instead, the larger focus is on the nation or rather the government. Academically, policies are geared toward “raising the visibility and stature of the national higher education system” (pg. 7), thus by improving the nation’s institutions global ranking, economically, nations have found that improving their educational quality will have an effect on their national economic development, politically, nations feel that having students develop linguistic and cultural competence could be molding future government leaders that could detect national threats, lastly, culturally, nations believe that having “multi-cultural” view point of the world could help in finding solutions that are “also global in scope”(pg. 8).
It is possible that nations have seen the shift that is occurring in education and are finding ways that it will benefit them in the long run, while the nations might not be explicitly looking for the betterment of its people, a nation funding and paving the way for higher education internalization does just that. The people rely on the nation, and the nation relies on its people. It’s a giving and taking partnership, the foundation of which is different, as with all relationships, you know what you have to offer, but you also want to know and be assured that entering this partnership will make you both better in the long run.