For my make up blog post for week 4, I would like to share an article that I read in Inside Higher Ed. The readings from week 13 were both interesting reads but I connected more to IHE- Higher Educations Future because it detailed different perspectives and areas of international higher education and what the future of higher education will look like based on current trends. This got me interested in learning whether or not the make-up of students studying abroad, specifically, students in NY State, will change to include more students of color.
I, Too, Am Study Abroad is a tagline that is being used by the international education office at the State University of New York at Oswego. Their office in alignment with President Obama’s 1000 Strong Initiative and the IIE Generation Study Abroad that we learned about in class, seek to broaden international studies to students that typically would not study abroad. Note: the two initiatives mentioned above have more of a broad scope but can be applied to underrepresented groups as well.
(Prior to reading this article I had never hear about the 1000 strong initiative. It was created to strengthen US-China relations through Mandarin language. We acknowledged as a class the power of language and how crucial it is to cultural emersion when studying abroad. The initiative since 2009 has exceeded its goal however, we cannot say that relations between China and the US have improved. Again and I’ve said this in previous articles, relationship building on behalf of a country is a heavy burden to place on students traveling abroad.)
An Oswego student, Tiana Morris was highlighted in the article because after her experience studying abroad in London, she, an African American, co-organized a panel on race and gender and study abroad after returning to campus. Her panel featured students that participated in study abroad returning to discuss their experiences in areas such as race, gender identity and financing.
Nationally there is a push to increase and diversify the number of American students going abroad. The numbers profiled by the IIE show that study abroad is slowly but steadily growing more racially diverse. This got me thinking about starting the marketing for international education in high school because although college marketing can work, students such as Tiana did not take advantage of study abroad until her senior year. The push to getting students of color to see themselves as international travelers should start earlier. Overall, the common thread in the articles I read is that White students make up the highest percentages of students studying abroad and this is a disproportionate percentage that is being challenged by initiatives and new strategies to reach more diverse populations. It looks as though positive strides are being made, hopefully the data will consistently show the same.
Similarly, working in international education has never crossed my mind prior to joining this class. I went to a few panels on careers in higher education and never was there ever a panelist that represented international education. Now it seems as though positions in this area are popping up consistently. There are two available on CUNY campus right now! Panels such as the one we had were industry professions came in to address our class and the one this week, that I eagerly anticipate are necessary.
This week’s readings was a great wrap up to all that we’ve read and discussed this semester. With the International Higher Education essays having various views from various scholars about the issues to face higher education in the coming two decades and the Bridges to the Future chapter examining trends and issues to internationalization and what is means to be a global citizen (a term we’ve encountered multiple times this semester).
With the primary elections approaching to a close, I have been increasing alert to the promises that the candidates have made on the Democrat side (since there’s not much of a race left on the Republican side). The idea of free college as proposed by Bernie Sanders, or even the free community college previously put forth by President Obama, has always been something that interested me, especially when I learned how many European countries offer tuition-free higher education to its students. And taking this course has given me the opportunity to see how and why free college is a thing in certain places. To tie it by to the readings, I was reminded again of this idea when I was reading one of the IHE essays: “Sustaining Quality and Massification: Is It Possible?” by Marcelo Knobel.
While the essay does not specifically touch upon tuition-free higher education, it reminded me of the idea when the author mentioned how despite the rapid increases in enrollment to higher education around the world, it remains restricted to selected populations and not to everyone overall. The idea of providing tuition-free higher education is to increase access especially for those who are underprivileged and to relieve the financial burdens that can come with higher education in some countries. But many critics say it is either impossible or will mostly benefit the wealthy and more privileged individuals. Sanders alludes to European countries like Germany and Finland to give examples of countries who offer tuition-free higher education to their residents, but one thing that has been mentioned in class is that countries like Germany and Finland are very different from the United States, whether it be size or types of higher education institutions available.
The second article I link mentions that Sanders’ plan will most likely benefit the wealthy more than the intended group of people because there is so much more than tuition costs that would keep a low-income student from going to college, i.e. housing, textbooks, fees, and etc. And the article also mentions how removing tuition at public institutions would potentially move all those more well-off students from attending private institutions to public ones and thus competing with students who can only afford to go to the public institutions. There are so many things that need to be considered in order to make tuition-free higher education plausible. (Although it is important to note that in combination with some of the things that Sanders has also proposed, his plan for free-tuition may just work.)
Going back to Knobel’s essay, he mentions how the funding sources influence the quality of education provided, which is not surprising especially with for-profits as we have discussed in class. And Knobel also mentions that by expanding access to higher education, countries need to be exercise care when dealing with increasingly diverse groups of students, particularly the potential gaps in their previous education, which is definitely a big challenge the US faces. Thus, while I am all for tuition-free college, there is so much more that needs to be addressed or changed (i.e. the gaps in quality of primary and secondary education, other fees like books and healthcare that students face besides tuition, etc.) in the US in order to successfully implement this plan.
“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!
This semester’s reading as helped us to see all the different aspects of international higher education. This week’s reading, IHE at Twenty Special 20th Anniversary Feature: Higher Education’s Future covers the all that and more, while highlighting the last 20 years as well as offering advice on how to overcome the standing challenges that we now face within the field. The last reading: Bridges to the Future, The Global Landscape of International Higher Education, pushed us to define what it meant to be a global citizen, and to look at that aspect in from two different angles.
The advancement of technology as allowed us to broaden our horizons and reach places we never were able to before in the past, it’s not uncommon to forget that not everyone everywhere has been awarded the same possibilities. The first article addresses how only major continents currently participate in international higher education and pushing forward we as a field needs to reach out these other lesser known countries and to include them in the conversations of advancing the field.
A standing theme in a lot of my posts as been “America loves to view itself as the center of the free world” and it is the what a lot of places aim to be like, what has allowed us to continue propelling this thought for so long, and will most likely continue to propel, is the fact America (and other first world continents) is placed on a pedestal by a lot of the countries in the world and they see sending people here whether it be for an education or just to make an attempt to survive. The authors of Bridges to the Future mention this in their article. I wonder what the state of higher education, at home and international, would be like if we didn’t have this unspoken competition with each other and instead tried to help each other advance and prosper in their own right (which is occurring but at a slow pace), what works for one continent or country will not necessarily work for the next, doesn’t mean we can’t test it (to an extent, student lives and futures are the basis of the educational system after all).
As we reach the concluding weeks of our class and the final week of readings, I am reminded of how many contours and layers we have been exposed to regarding international higher education. Whether it be concepts of study abroad, internalization, internationalization at home, SIOs, branch campuses, global competition or global citizens, we have seen an exciting and trending phenomenon emerge in the guise of international higher education. It is an exciting time for global education and global institutions. As we reflect back on the theories, frameworks, and vocabulary we have been engaged with in the last several weeks, it is an exciting moment to look forward and opine about the future of international higher education and its trajectory.
This week’s readings help frame that analysis. The IHE at Twenty Special 20th Anniversary Feature: Higher Education’s Future offers several vignettes covering issues of internationalization and how best to address challenges confronted so far in this area’s growth. To me, Hans De Wit’s piece, Is the International University the Future of Higher Education? hit on one of the critical questions we have come to time and time again: how can quality be ensured in a growth market that is susceptible to buzz words and sexy international appeal? When you strip away at all that we have discussed in the past several weeks, it seems that quality will be the main driver to determine whether international higher education can be sustainable and productive. As De Wit points out, there must be meaning in the terminology, missions statements and collaborations that drive internationalization for it have lasting impact and shape global citizens – in my view, the goal of international and global higher education.
In Bridges to the Future, The Global Landscape of International Higher Education, we confront the realities of the term global citizen. The authors ask – what does it mean to be global not just at the student level but also at the institutional level? Outlining key trends and issues in international higher education, the authors turn to different regions to analyze specific challenges and strides. This is critical because, as we have seen, international higher education is by no means one size fits all and its overall success cannot be measured unless different regions are assessed and the interplay between them is understood.
For me, in the final analysis, international higher education is crucial to the global economy in which we are necessarily engaged. To prepare our future citizens and leaders to meaningful interact in this environment can only be done with an eye to global education. So long as meaningful collaboration, strategy and implementation drive the process toward goals of quality and advancement, I believe the future of international higher education is on the precipice to achieve real change and advancement in our world today.