This week’s readings covered what internationalization in the U.S. looked like in 2012 and a global survey of various higher education institutions (HEIs) around the world and the challenges and trends faced in internationalization of higher education in their institution and countries. It was interesting to read about how issues faced in the U.S. are issues faced around the world in other countries, which is not too surprising since we’ve gone over the similarities in certain aspects pertaining to internationalization of higher education in previous discussions. One aspect in particular that interests me is how other countries and the U.S. take on internationalization at home.
In a University World News article, the authors explicitly redefined the term to give more clear meaning to internationalization at home (IaH) and what actual constitutes as IaH. The article defines IaH as “the purposeful integration of international and intercultural dimensions into the formal and informal curriculum for all students, within domestic learning environments“. In the CIGE report, it seems the U.S. in 2012 did include the importance of foreign language requirements and co-curricular programs that included a international theme, as well as stressing the important of determining student learning outcomes for assessment. There’s also mention about funding for faculty to gain experience and learn how to internationalize their curriculum. But the report also mentions that while there is some efforts to internationalization, a majority of the efforts still lie in mobility and while the institutions say they are also including internationalization efforts at home, it is not reflected in the general curriculum required for everyone. Internationalized tracks are great but they only reach a limited number of students. There needs to be more efforts to utilize IaH since there still remains a large majority of students that are not able to actually go abroad to get international experience.
Even in the IAU Global Survey, a foreign language still ranks first while integrating the contributions of international students into the learning experience, which would be a form of IaH, is ranked second to last in importance. For regional level results, only in Africa and in Asia and Pacific was professional development of faculty to enhance their ability to integrate an international dimension into their teaching, which is potentially a form of IaH depending on if they teach domestically or elsewhere. And consistent with the CIGE report, the IAU Global Survey found that in North America there was a focus on offering programs or courses with an international themes, but as pointed out above, that can only reach a limited audience. There’s still much to do to fully integrate IaH, but I still think it can be a cost effective way to allow mass amounts of students gain exposure to global themes and cultures.
I found the portion of internationalization at home (IaH) particularly interesting. European Education in the World singled this out as one of the three key institutional priorities of higher education in Europe and I think it should also be a priority of higher education in the United States. For me, I believe this task starts with addressing the “curricular issues” – colleges and universities must work with faculty to infuse global content and viewpoints into their everyday curriculum, no matter which academic subject they teach. In order for this to happen, specific training programs for faculty need to be implemented as well, so they can be prepared to educate our students from a global perspective. While the example in the United States provided in the article, addresses the Department of Educations initiative to set up foreign language centers throughout the US, there is way more we can be doing to internationalize our college campuses in particular. As mentioned in this 2013 Institute of International Education http://www.iie.org/Blog/2013/April/What-Is-The-Next-Big-Thing-in-International-Education, one program IIE funded from 2011-2015 was through a partnership with Hilton HHonors called the Teacher Treks Program, where they sent primary and secondary level teachers abroad for 2-3 weeks to experience the culture and the subject they teach first hand. These teachers than come back with a global perspective they can then instill in their young students. I think a program like this can be adapted to fit the higher education realm. In addition, as partnerships between foreign universities grow, professors teaching abroad and increases in mobility of both students and faculty through partnerships and educational exchange programs would ideally grow as well. I enjoyed reading about Germany’s internationalization policies, specifically where they outline that “staff at all levels speak ‘at least’ English, participate in intercultural training courses, and become acquainted with the practices of higher education institutions around the world.” (p.44).
With support from the government agencies, like the European Commission’s Europe 2020 strategy, it seems education has taken a priority in their strategy. Canada, Finland, Malaysia and the United Kingdom have launched International Education Strategies as well. Support like this, is hopefully going to push these policies and programs forward at a faster rate and hopefully interest will not wane, due to these publicly supported initiatives.
This week’s reading explained the definition of cross-border education and internationalization at home. Cross-border education referenced to the movement of people, programs and research development across borders and how this process aids internationalization through the use of online course work and hybrids-internationally (p.38). The reading explained that cross border education can foster partnerships in the internationalization process and create educational hubs where a “planned effort” and strategic internationalization initiative of engagement in internationalization can be found (p.38). This section also engaged the reader by explaining how cross-border education is meant to encourage the implementation of study abroad programs and regulate its activities. What I found most interesting in this section was United States hopes of starting cross-border education in the Middle East. We can dispute that this won’t be a great idea, however, I have faith that the majority of the Middle Eastern population and those part of the higher education system wish to have peace in their country.
In Jordan, this is the case. Jordan’s universities are in need of joint programs with overseas countries. Personally, I believe the implementation of programs and partnership (with the U.S) may not have an effect on radicalistic activities. Currently, there are 14 European countries who participate in providing partnerships and cross border education in Jordan. Jordan, however, is reluctant to give accreditation for other systems to operate in their country which can be caused by religious tensions and hopes to not increase terror. I believe there are ways that partnership can be created with U.S and Middle Eastern estates. This can be done by assessing policy effectiveness and ensuring the possible outcomes of establishing partnerships with Middle Eastern countries. First U.S must establish what their goals are and make sure those also align with their partners. In addition, the courses and curriculum offered must also align. What I do argue is that there is no motivation in the U.S- politically to make the above happen. This is caused by several differences that have stopped and/or discontinued and challenged their interest.
Lastly, the reading explained that the purpose of internationalization at home is to integrate culture in their curriculum at home. In the reading the policies examples explained that the implementation of linguistics and foreign languages in the U.S were part of internationalization. Even though this is part of internationalization in education (K-12 and higher education) we can argue that it is more so for students to become “global citizens” in their own country rather than expanding their horizons in other countries. The purpose of internationalization at home in the U.S (in my opinion) is for students to understand the U.S diversity and be marketable in the U.S workforce.
Middle East and U.S challenges: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/08/going-the-extra-mile-for-a-strategic-us-india-relationship