This week’s reading comprised of the ACE report on Internationalizing Higher Education Worldwide –National Policies and Programs builds on last week’s foundational introduction to the key concepts in internationalization and offers instructive insights and detail regarding national policies and programs to build international higher education throughout the world.
For me, a comparative analysis of national policies and programs was revealing for a few reasons. First, it helped to give color to some of the readings from last week, in particular Green’s assertions of where the US lies in relation to other country policies and programs. Second, it also cogently highlighted the categories in which such policies and programs fall into such as student mobility and scholar mobility and research collaboration (this week’s focus).
The ACE report’s strength is in laying out what different regions and countries around the world are doing to stay competitive in the global market from an academic, economic, political and social/cultural perspective. To me, what resonated in the ACE report was that while there are a myriad of ways in which nations address their differing needs with respect to international higher education, the underlying goals and mechanisms are essentially the same. Student mobility (degree and credit) is key as is the overall concept of strengthening competition, particularly in the areas of skilled labor and work readiness.
I also find the trends of regionalization and harmonization highly relevant in understanding where internationalization is headed and what models will yield targeted success. Strides in the European Union and coalitions such as ASEAN suggest that nations see value in focusing their efforts in specific areas and with targeted goals to increased student and scholar mobility through collaborative and innovative processes for mutually beneficial results. While successful models such as Fulbright programs in the US have had broad reach and significant contribution to internationalization efforts, harmonization addresses some of the impediments to Fulbright like scalability by addressing critical factors such standardizing academic calendars, degree structures and common quality assurance procedures.
Certainly, there may be concerns raised here that such standardization may compromise unique features of a particular country’s academic traditions and structures. What makes international education coveted is the diversity and national nuance and differences in a student or scholar’s academic experience. I posit that tampering with national models too much may yield its own list of setbacks for internationalization efforts. On the other hand, a global economy and interconnected world is the reality we live in. Regional higher education ought to reflect that reality and harmonization could thus help to make even greater significant strides in internationalizing higher education worldwide.
I found this week’s assigned reading, “Internationalizing Higher Education Worldwide,” to provide a clear and concise approach to an in-depth overview of national policies and programs. The introductory Executive Summary lays the foundation for what the reader can expect to dissect in the coming pages. The piece begins by identifying the general purpose of the study, which is an effort to “better understand public policies and programs for internationalization of higher education in a comparative context” (p.1). The introduction also reintroduces an idea from W1; the difficulty of assessing the effectiveness of these policies and programs. As someone who knows very little about the internationalization of higher education, I really appreciated that the author used the executive summary to consider key questions: Who enforces internationalization? (mainly the ministry of education, as well as other government offices) What do they enforce? (5 broad categories of focus), What concepts make an effective internationalization policy? and What suggestions can we offer to increase effectiveness?
The study then continues to showcase a comparative analysis of the policies and programs currently in place around the world. The reader is encouraged to question the effectiveness of these programs, and consider what future implications they may have on the direction that internationalization is going. In Hans de Wit’s 2002 book Internationalization of Higher Education in the United States and Europe, he outlines four categories of rationales driving effort towards internationalization of higher ed: academic, economic, political, and social/cultural. While these 4 may seem obvious, the article continues with an explanation of why each category further drives countries to continue with internationalization efforts.
Something that I found particularly interesting about this piece was the section about Policy Typology and Examples. Here, the conversation moves towards internationalization regarding student/scholar mobility. These types of policies “focus on attracting international students and promoting and incentivizing outward credit & degree mobility” (p.20). In my current job, I am participating in enforcing a new international partnership! I work at Pace University’s Accounting Department, and we are collaborating with ACCA (the US arm of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). This landmark partnership will link ACCA’s globally recognized qualification program to both graduate and undergraduate coursework at our New York City campus. Starting this fall, both graduate and undergraduate students in Pace University’s Lubin School of Business’s Department of Accounting will be able to complete coursework that will qualify them for specific exemptions from ACCA’s 14 exams; the exemptions will initially include four for graduate courses and five for undergraduate courses. A student who successfully graduates from Pace’s rigorous program will automatically receive exemptions for those specific exams and be able to use them towards the completion of the ACCA qualification. In reading this article, I was very excited to be able to relate to this concept, and especially acknowledge the ways in which my own University is participating in the global stride towards international higher education.
This week’s reading was great at addressing the weaknesses within our current system of internationalization. Each nation has developed their own methods for internationalization and their goal seems to be a competitive edge on accumulating more international students. I believe the concept presented by this article to develop a more global approach would be beneficial. Instead of each country utilizing a plethora of programs that differ at the institution, state, and regional level, there should be shared goals and values. I respect the article for mentioning creating national and international policies and practices should make a commitment to quality, equity and accountability. I learned in the Student Services courses that institutions should work towards a common goal, with a holistic approach of servicing the education needs of students to produce a higher rate of success. Replicating that on a global level would work.
Last week we discovered that the conception of internationalization was a result of war and aimed to ensure peace and understanding. However, when each country and nation competes for international students, the primary focus seems to revolve around the quantity of students, regardless or not if they can financially support the increase of students. Converting to a global initiative for internationalization would enable higher education institutions to assess their programs on outcomes and impact instead of output.
I guess the main question should be, what do we want students to take away from study abroad that can be measured after graduation? Do we want to know if they are choosing to stay in the foreign country of choice? Are we more interested in learning what fields of they end up working in five to ten years post-graduation and how it can be aligned to being culturally aware? Are we interested in their accomplishments outside of their current careers, such as potential to create non-profit organizations that strive to continue building relationships with other nations?
Ultimately, the key phrase is building relationships. In higher education, typically a strong support system for students, partnerships amongst departments and faculty, and working within an institution with a mission associated to your own, can breed a better learning environment for college students. Instead of each country making their own programs and changing them to entice more students, maybe the focus should be cultivating research committees to determine select programs that enable international students to grow more as individuals. In doing so, we could follow students on a year to year basis and see where they flourish, compared students that do not choose to study abroad.
Policies and programs that are mentioned in this reading show much more success in internationalization of higher education than I thought. The five broad categories encompass many of the main points that should be touched upon but I also felt that security was a missing factor. The reading does state that there are policies that may have not been mentioned as the main idea was not higher education but a different matter and this could be covered in those policies, but think it would of been worthwhile to include that in this reading. One of the main issues most parents have with study abroad is safety, which could then lead to a bias in which countries work together. I can relate much to the questions posed in the beginning of the reading, such as “does scope matter?” and “how do we deal with failure?” because those were my main concerns in reading this. Also, what is considered to be failure? Is failure that some universities are unable to collaborate, or that one country/institution is seen with more “prestige” than others. The examples or organizations and policies from different countries shows an example of bias that hopefully is broken in the years to come with internationalization of higher education. The Nordic Council influences a group of students from several bordering countries meaning students will be more inclined to study in one of these countries opposed to one that scholarships and tuition is not covered. Will this also pose a problem for the countries who cover tuition for students through taxes and countries who do not, how will the exchange of tuition take place? If students have to pay out of pocket for tuition when normally they do not, I do not believe they will be interested in attending that institution. Internationalization at home covered a concern for me of the institutions and students who may be unable to participate in this by studying abroad or hosting students. It is brilliant to think about changing curriculum to allow students who stay at home to have international exposure and not just in the courses that normally are responsible for this like language but courses like science and psychology. Technology is now allowing for this possibility of students to be apart of this from home which is important to see this effort succeed. Even though the idea is to include everyone, the students who physically go to a different institution in a different country will have a much different experience than the student who stayed home.
This week’s reading “Internationalizing Higher Education Worldwide” provided a thorough examination of the policies and programs that are currently in place in relation to the internationalization of higher education. By analyzing the programs and policies in a comparative nature it allowed the reader a better understanding of the systems that are in place. By providing real world examples of what is being discussed the reader can 1) conduct his/her own research into the areas discussed and 2) you can see how different countries handle similar policies and programs.
The “four categories of rationales driving country-level efforts toward higher education internationalization…” each have a level of importance. However, I think economic and academic motivations and goals have a stronger influence on why countries decide to pursue internationalization of higher education. Academic motivations or goals target different areas of importance especially for higher education institutions. Economic motivations and goals provide a realistic view as to why higher education internationalizing is important. Political motivations should not be discounted but I think they would be better applied to specific countries and/or regions; countries or regions that view internationalization as tool to strengthen its national security.
As the report moved to the different policy typologies, something that I questioned was how countries with multiple programs ran by the national government or other organizations were able to keep all of their programs funded. The programs and policies that target student mobility inbound and outbound seem to be costly with grant and scholarships available as well as in some cases favorable financial aid policies. These programs can cost specific higher education institutions or countries a lot of money (see Turkey Scholarship program). Is the money funded through private donations, government appropriation, etc. Understanding the funding would have given me more insight to see if these programs or policies are long-lasting.
With all the policies and programs that are in place to increase student and scholar mobility it is important that the opportunities are shared with students who would be considered non-mobile. One is to assume this would be 1st generation minority students who come from economic disadvantaged households. Ensuring that these students know that there are scholarships available to allow them to travel internationally would greatly increase the number of students who are abroad which is the goals of many of the policies and programs we read about. Making sure that scholars (professors) that teach abroad include minorities and women allow the visiting institutions a new perspective on teaching.