The Executive summary of the Internationalization of Higher Education: Growing expectations, fundamental value IAU 4th Global Survey and ACE’s Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses are two very informative surveys that bring up a number of interesting and supporting facts about internationalization in Higher Education in the US and around the world.
The surveys present different points about the change and progress of Internationalization in Higher Ed institutions, some of which are supported by the data from both surveys, making those facts even stronger to believe and the need to be addressed by institutions. Since the number of them strongly stood out for me, I will list and discuss some of them below with my perspective on the topics and questions that have arisen:
- One of the most noticeable points that were mentioned in both reports is the fact that internationalization strategies and activities seem to be driven by senior levels of leadership, and as most of the institutions reported by president of the institution. Per our discussion in class, the institution should not be waiting for the change of leadership to create and implement global strategic plan, but what if the leadership is the one holding it off?
- Outgoing mobility is the most prioritized activity, while content of curriculum seems to be far from priority. As already discussed, creating international curriculum seems to be the best way to reach majority of the students on campus, rather than through outgoing mobility or research. On the other hand it makes sense why this is not a priority for the faculty, as they are not being recognized for working on internationalization curriculum and most institutions don’t provide funds, resources or tenure for doing it. As a result faculty’s motivation is not focused on creating international curriculum.
- Institutions claim the lack of funding as the biggest obstacle in internationalization, while overall funding has been increasing over the years. So where are those funds being allocated? This leads to the next points:
- Revenue generation as an expected benefit of internationalization ranked lowest in IAU 4th Global Survey, it might be true for the rest of the world, but in the US it seems to be one of the priorities in the most recent years (although not being claimed as one in the survey and stated to be the most important risk for North America). Even ACE Mapping Report states that the funding for international paying student recruitment has increased significantly, proving that US institutions are targeting tuition revenue from international students who have ability to pay. In addition Hanover Research states, “International student enrollments in the U.S. for 2012‐2013 increased by nearly 10 percent over the prior year, with some of the biggest changes coming from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, China, and Brazil”. Higher Education institutions seem to prioritize bringing international paying students to increase tuition revenue, while leaving internationalization at home as the least priority activity.
- Doctorate institutions seem to be the most active in leading internationalization in Higher Education. It is possible that it is due to the fact that doctorate institutions are also research institutions, and according to the IAU 4th Global Survey research is a number two priority activity in the internationalization of Higher Education. As a result, these institutions receive most amount of funding and spend most amount of resources on internationalization.
Overall, I really enjoyed these surveys, which triggered a lot of different thoughts about the statistics versus reality of internationalization in higher education around the world, but especially in the United States.
As a Baruch student, I enjoyed the inclusion of Baruch’s Global Strategic Plan in this weeks readings. My main reaction to this is the possibility of politics and money impeding the goals of the plan. In my higher ed Administrative Services course, my professor has discussed the history of the conflict between CUNY and Governor Andrew Cuomo. As part of the New York State budget due April 1st, the governor has proposed cutting state funding to CUNY by $485 million. While a wide backlash to the proposal and support for CUNY among Albany lawmakers make these cuts unlikely, it does bring to mind that spending by CUNY is subject to scrutiny. Would any of the plans proposals be considered politically controversial? While initiatives such as an increase effort in international recruitment have financial benefits to Baruch, what about the measures that require an increase in spending? The strategic plan first addresses this in their section about faculty research, noting that private fundraising will likely be needed and the goal to identify international and national funding agencies. The final bullet point before the conclusion is significant. It calls for a permanent and sustainable budget model to fund global activities at Baruch. They seek to follow the example of other institutions and use revenue from ‘international activities’ to fund the proposed office of the Vice provost for Global Strategies. I wish this strategic plan had included a definition of Baruch ‘international activities’. It is unlikely that they are referring to campus events, as most events are free for students or priced low to offset expenses. Is it referring to fees specific to study abroad applications? Many of the proposals in the strategic plan seem to rely on establishing a sustainable budget model, but the plan in unclear about the specific source of revenue funds will be drawn from. This post is not meant to come off as an oppostition to Baruch’s Global Strategic Plan. It seeks to benefit the Baruch community as a whole, with the initiative to create global academic programs as a way to increase internationalization at home. The recognition of the administrative programming challenges and the need for department integration to accommodate the increased workload and improve student services is vital. My questions for our professor would be the following: Do state lawmakers have a viewpoint on funding global strategies in public higher ed or do they leave this to the institutional leadership? Do you think the proposed sustainable budget model is realistic and sustainable?
Addendum: Interesting article about Governor Cuomo and protests to CUNY cuts. We should know the outcome by this time next week. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/25/nyregion/after-moving-to-cut-cuny-funding-cuomo-faces-loud-backlash.html
This week’s hot button issue of funding concerns for CUNY brings to the front increasing pressure from policy-makers about the efficiency and effectiveness. This directly resonates with the OECD’s The State of Higher Education report . It notes “From an institutional perspective, HEIs are under pressure to become more effective and efficient across all of their missions – teaching, research and innovation and local economic development. Yet, many face financial challenges that threaten their long-term sustainability.”
Here is a chart from OECD website indicating public spending on tertiary education as a percentage of total education spending. Here “Public spending includes both direct expenditure on educational institutions and educational subsidies to households administered by educational institutions. Private expenditure is recorded net of public subsidies that educational institutions may receive.”
The chart illustrates that the United States spends significantly less in through public resources as compared to countries like Germany, United Kingdom and Canada. At this lower level of public investment, the increasing cost pressures are resulting in students picking up more burden of cost of college education through increased tuition.
Here is an important footnote from OECD chart: “Spending on tertiary education is defined as the total expenditure on the highest level of education, covering private expenditure on schools, universities, and other private institutions delivering or supporting educational services. The measure is a percentage of total education spending. At the tertiary level educational institutions in OECD countries are mainly publicly funded, although there are substantial and growing levels of private funding.“
OECD’s Education Policy Outlook 2015 also identified six “policy levers” grouped in three categories:
- Students: Raising Outcomes (How to raise outcomes for all in terms of equity and quality and preparing students for the future-refers to outputs of the education system)
- Equity and quality
- Preparing students for the future
- Institutions: Enhancing quality (How to raise the quality of instruction through school improvement and evaluation and assessment-refers to quality of the inputs).
- School improvement
- Evaluation and assessment
- Governing effectively (How to align governance and funding of education systems to be effective.)
OECD website provides an interactive tool Reforms Finder from OECD based on different countries. Here is a snapsot of reforms from three different countries which focus on Funding “Policy Lever”.
Funding reforms are only one of the six policy levers. Successful policy planning and implementation requires alignment of careful mix of various levers to achieve optimum output.
This weeks ACE reading on internationalization in the US discussed a variety of initiatives taking place. Some topics that stood out to me include decentralized policymaking, a US-Mexico exchange program and funding issues.
A striking detail was the chart on page 11 showing the numerous players involved in the creation/ implementation/ regulation of higher education internationalization policies and programs. This setup seems to be the result of the US being one of the few countries without a Ministry of Education. Two of the five players involved (Federal and State governments) have systems in which their leaders serve between 4-8 years. Does the potential of differing visions between a leader and their successor affect the ability to implement long term changes to the approach of internationalization?
I was interested in the US-Mexico higher ed exchange program (FOBESII) started in 2013 by President Obama and President Peña Nieto of Mexico, in part due to the contrast between this agreement and the anti Mexican sentiments voiced on the campaign trail. Would the election of a particular candidate lead to the dissolution of this program? We should cross our fingers that FOBESII remains intact, as it has made some notable achievements in 2014, including: The travel of almost 27, 000 Mexican students and instructors to the US, doubling pre FOBESII numbers. 23 new educational agreements between the US and Mexico, resulting from visits of US university presidents. The groundbreaking of a US public university (Arkansas State U), and a US research center (Colorado State U) in Mexico. Will our 45th president see the value in exchange agreements like FOBESII or find such relations with our southern neighbor problematic?
Funding is a vital topic when discussing internationalization, and it can be argued that it should be the first topic discussed. The charts on pgs 37-38 illustrate how far behind US funding is with the internationalization efforts of other countries such as Saudi Arabia, with our total funding amounts to less than the funding for individual programs elsewhere. However, it will be interesting to see if the current low oil prices affect funding for international education programs. Also notable is the difference between American and Canadian government funding for institutional internationalization programs. The most significant fact from the ACE funding section was that US federal internationalization programs often do not provide federal funding. Among the multiple outside sources they use to fund their programs are foreign governments. ACE notes that this setup is unbalanced and puts our relationships with these governments at risk. However, in spite of the arguments that can be made in favor of increased funding for internationalization initiatives in the US, this seems unlikely seeing that federal and state funding for higher education continuously faces cuts.
FOBESII resource: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/01/235641.htm
For this week’s reading, this issue of whether or not there should be a comprehensive national policy on internationalization in the United States was examined. Given the structure of the U.S. government and our higher education system, a national policy might not be as effective as in other countries. As mentioned in the reading, the diversity of different types of higher education institutions in the United States makes it difficult to have a national policy that would be general enough to cover all the different institutions but specific enough to to actually be effective. I agree that there should be more collaboration and more effort put into working together with the various governmental agencies and non-governmental agencies to ensure sufficient funding of the various programs that attempt to better the internationalization of the United States higher education system.
Hans de Wit mentioned at the Association of International Education Administrators conference that funding is one of the frequently mentioned challenges of internationalization of higher education. This has caused institutions to view international students as “cash cows”, because more international students means more revenue. The reading also mentions how institutions justify the increase of international students can help balance out the limited number of domestic students that are able to go abroad by bringing the diversity and culture to the home campus. But as the reading also mentions, there seems to be a lack of support for the international students to properly infused their diverse backgrounds into the local culture and benefit the local students. The benefits of the diversity from having international students do not magically manifest themselves without the support from the institution. Institutions need to provide adequate support both for the international students and their own students and faculty to be able to take advantage of the benefits of a diverse community.
De Wit goes on to mention how mobility has been at the forefront of internationalization. Global competitiveness is increasing and causing tension between quantity and quality as more students and scholars go abroad. But there is little focus on the vast majority of students that do not go abroad in the United States. To improve internationalization at the home campus, curriculum and programs can be globalized to increase exposure of all the students to different cultures and languages to allow them to be more globally competent. In the article, de Wit also mentions how there is missing a “more comprehensive approach to internationalization and a focus on internationalization of the curriculum and learning outcomes to enhance the quality of education and research”. Especially when the majority of U.S. college students do not study abroad or research abroad, there needs to be more efforts to globalize the environment at home in order to make all the students more globally competent and open to learning about other cultures.