W9 Comparing Global/Internationalization Strategic Plans

Last week’s readings included the global strategic plan for Baruch College, this week we are given access to the strategic plans for Middlesex Community College and Ohio University. By comparison the Baruch plan seems to be a 1st draft of what a global strategic plan should entail. It is missing many of the elements that are in the plans for the other colleges. Ohio University and Middlesex are using the Global Learning Value Rubric established by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.  The rubric has six areas of competencies that can be used when trying to determine if a curriculum promotes global learning. Both institution state the importance of having a global strategy and they break down how they plan on achieving their goals.  The Middlesex plan provides the most detail about the their plans and as well as how they want to go about achieving their goals. Baruch should look to the Middlesex plan as a blueprint of what their plan should look like.

The Middlesex plan includes having all students who participated in study abroad attend a Global Engagement Workshop, which is “designed to help them craft their study abroad experiences into informal and formal narrative presentations” . This stood out to me because as we have discussed in class, some of the benefits/goals of studying abroad is developing “soft skills”; participating in the Global Engagement Workshop would allow students that opportunity to learn how to describe their experiences abroad including all the skills they have acquired. The Ohio University plan for global strategy and internationalization states that it is still in the stages of completing a “workable” plan. The framework that they have in place to create a solid global strategic plan is very through; I am assuming that future drafts and the final plan will include substantial and solid ways in which the university plans on implementing their plans.

One aspect of the Baruch Global Strategic Plan that both Middlesex and Ohio, could incorporate into their plans is the section detailing the countries they are targeting in regards to student and faculty mobility.  By providing this information, you can get a look at the direction in which the institutions are going with regards to outreach, some of the places that are worth consideration are discussed in the 3rd reading for this week. That reading looks into BRIC institutions, which is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China. BRIC is an  an association of four major emerging national economies. As of 2010, South Africa joined BRIC. The reading focused on the changes that are taking place at BRIC universities and to what extent the state (government) is involved in these changes. While looking further into BRICS, I discovered that the the member countries and in the process of creating a global university. BRICS Network University will be based in Russia, it is “a joint educational project aimed at creating a common educational space, developing academic mobility and providing the BRICS economies with highly professional personnel in energy, economy, informatics, ecology and other areas.” Based off the article we read for class, I am interested in seeing how the network university would work since many of the member countries are to varying degrees are involved with higher education specifically the financial end of the institutions.


W9-Strategic Plan Comparisons and BRIC Universities

This week’s reading expanded on our view into strategic plans, their value and effectiveness, and relevance in the development of global education at American Universities.  With three strategic plans to now inform a comparative analysis, it was definitely useful to see the diversity with which strategic plans can be approached in content, format and goal setting.  Having already read and discussed Baruch’s global strategic plan last week, it was eye opening to see the Global Education Strategic Plan for Middlesex Community College in MA and the Global Strategy & Internationalization at OHIO for Ohio University.

A few observations I noted while reading the Middlesex and Ohio strategic plans were that they certainly gave credence to the view that the Baruch strategic plan we reviewed was perhaps an initial draft and could benefit from further development and drafting.  Ohio and Middlesex seemed more evolved and sophisticated in their visions and supporting strategies.  They contained more data that was presented in more visually and organized ways which allowed a better understanding of where they stood vis a vis global education and where they needed to go.  To me, the Middlesex plan was the most effective of the three we have reviewed because I found it the most “user friendly” in being able to digest and process the material.  It also did not spend as much time as Ohio did on the introductory sections so you were able to cut right to the work they plan to do with specific deliverables and timelines.  It was a balance I thought between Baruch’s plan being not as developed and Ohio’s being perhaps too developed to the point of not being user friendly and a bit stilted.

The comparative analysis of the global strategic plans we were provided also made me realize how important planning and goal setting is in achieving successful and sustainable global education platforms.  Without a cohesive, data driven and clear path toward internationalization at the outset through solid and robust planning, internationalization with its  many facets and layers of necessary international collaboration and analysis will be on shaky ground.

Finally, the BRIC Universities as Institutions in the Process of Change shed interesting light on how higher education institutions in countries that US HEIs would need to work with for global expansion. The different trajectories of China, India, Russia, and Brazil were fascinating and made me wonder what sort of strategic planning goes into, or doesn’t go into, the HEI landscapes in those countries. Of particular interest to me was the example of rapid expansion of unaided privates which may be compromising quality for the sake of enrollment.  This observation was notable in light of quality control issues we have previously read about that exist in India which can hinder cross-border partnerships and internationalization efforts with India.

W8: Global Strategic Planning

As many have mentioned in class and on the blogs, colleges and universities straddle on the line between a charity and a business. It occupies two very distinct categories; but without either one, it would cease to exist as an institution of higher education. On this week’s topic of strategic planning, this really falls on the more business side of things.  In Brewer’s paper about strategic planning and best practices, a few of her principle focus on the management and organizational behavior aspects of the institution. Also, according to the readings the success of a strategic plan is contingent on organizational strengths of the university in dealing with implementation and large-scale change. In Jiang’s study on the issues of implementing a strategic plan in higher education, one thing that signaled to me that strategic planning resides more in the business-sphere is the issue of choosing suitable international markets. Picking the right country to pursue is important for any company or school because it is such a huge investment and it carries a lot of risk. As we mentioned in class, many of these decisions are not made with the intentions of the institution or of the student in mind. They are made out of external influences or out of convenience more often than not, and they may not be the most rational business step for the institution.

In looking into Baruch’s global strategic plan and at the current global initiatives and partnerships in comparison to Brewer’s case study of Rutgers University, forces one to wonder why Baruch or CUNY does not follow the same steps. Rutgers was able to create a coherent center for the advancement of internationalization that was effective in involving all constituencies on campus. However, based on Baruch’s plan, it seems like the school is still trying to work out who should be involved in the process and which team/ department should be leading the efforts. In the Rutgers case, it is clear that the GAIA centers were the leaders in the change. Baruch suggested that each dean from the three schools should appoint someone as a representative to lead the initiatives in addition to their regular positions and responsibilities. There is not “center” for the college as a whole, like Rutgers. So, organization is a huge issue when reading through the Baruch plan. As others have said in class, Baruch’s strategic plan does seem like it is still in the works because it has many missing elements of an effective strategic plan in addition to no clear leadership.

W9 – Global Strategic Planning

The three main Global Strategic Plans we have read in this class (Baruch last week and Ohio University and Middlesex Community College this week) all have similar themes.  The broad goals for each include increasing study abroad, creating international partnerships, and internationalizing the home campus through increased global themes in the curriculum, emphasizing international student recruitment, and fostering a welcoming environment for international students.  It was nice to see that diverse institution types put such an emphasis on internationalization.  However, the way each institution goes about creating a Global Strategic Plan varies widely regarding approach, specificity, and presentation.

Ohio University’s Global Strategic Plan almost seemed more like a persuasive paper about the importance of having an international component in education than a tangible plan of an established university.  They provide an extensive background, even going into historical trends such as the transition from a service economy to a knowledge economy focused on communication technologies.  They spent about a third of the document focusing on AIEA’s first principle of successful strategic planning: “Educate about internationalization.”  It seems they are convincing the campus community of the need for large scale internationalization.  This is in contrast to the strategic plans we’ve read on the East Coast, specifically Baruch with a student body that is already extremely diverse in a setting where the importance of internationalization needs little explanation.

Middlesex Community College’s (MCC) Global Strategic Plan is very specific, including a number of specific documents in their appendix such as applications for MCC study abroad programs and a promotional flier regarding the Mission and Values of the college.  These support documents indicate a level of organization and preparedness not seen in the other strategic plans.  For example, Appendix A is a worksheet in the form of a table that includes columns about each Strategic Direction of the college and the corresponding specific initiatives, measurements, resources, and areas for further research.  Along with Appendix A, MCC used tools to succinctly present the information in a way that anyone could understand.  For example, the SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and the Goals and Strategies (pg. 21 – 24) were both great ways to not only establish what the institution is already doing but also to clearly outline specific activities and evaluation methods.  They were able to efficiently fulfill many of AIEA’s strategic planning principles including “establishing a timeline”, “ensure that internationalization touches all students,” and “disseminate the information.”

Both Global Strategic Plans share common characteristics.  For example, they both emphasize the importance of preparing students to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world and produce graduates capable of solving complicated global problems.  They also both connect the new Global Strategic Plan with the institutional mission and general strategic plan.  However, Middlesex seem to be further along in the strategic planning process than Ohio University.  MCC also seems to be more coordinated.  This could be due to a number of factors including the institution’s current student enrollment (MCC is more racially diverse), or size (MCC has about 12,000 students while Ohio University has 17,000 undergrads, but almost 6,000 graduate and doctorate students).  In both of these areas Middlesex has an advantage when it comes to global strategic planning.  Additionally, perhaps because Middlesex is a Community College there are fewer distinct schools and fewer degree levels, making it easier to craft a strategic plan to applies to everyone.  Regardless, both institutions clearly but a lot of effort into crafting these strategic plans and each has their own strengths and weaknesses.