W 11- Comprehensive Internationalization and “Teeth”

To me, this week’s readings are all about assessing whether there are “teeth” to the concepts we have been discussing and whether the practical realities if higher education make them sustainable.  Adding to the notion of internationalization, this week, Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses: 2012 Edition introduced us to the concept of “comprehensive internationalization” and laid out guidance on how to achieve it, if achievable at all.  The IAU Internationalization Survey gave us some hard facts and statistics to better gauge and understand how the concept of internationalization actually translates on campuses.

For me, an interesting part of the readings this week was that concepts are easy to pay lip service to and talk about in idealized and romanticized ways, but is there real teeth and resources for meaningful implementation of comprehensive internationalization at our colleges and universities or are they terms thrown around that do not fully take into account the critical importance of student learning and curriculum development?

Having come off a couple of weeks of analyzing strategic plans and mission statements of a diverse group of US colleges and universities, it is clear to me that these documents and statements are key to introducing concepts of global education and comprehensive internationalization.  Making sure that they have the teeth and muscle power to lead to implementation underscores even more how important it is that they be well thought out and presented documents stemming from the highest institutional leaders.  The path from strategic plan to implementation of comprehensive internationalization has to be a legitimate one – one bolstered by optimism but also one that recognizes the institutional and student learning challenges that must be overcome to not have empty plans and statements.  The IAU survey reflects that student learning and student mobility are priorities of internationalization efforts and that specific activities are being considered and targeted.  This is promising.  But balanced against this is some of the reality of the ACE piece which reflects that data shows some improvements but also some stagnation.  In the US, attention also needs to be focused on not just delivering comprehensive internationalization to students in general, but non-traditional students as well who make up more and more of the student body population at our colleges and universities.  One way to ensure this is to address such factors in strategic plans and vision statements directly with data driven analysis and support strategies.  This will allow for some “teeth” in the optimistic plans and mission philosophies of US colleges and universities striving for meaningful comprehensive internationalization with student learning at the center of its priorities.

W-11 Mapping Internationalization

Survey’s show a great way of getting an idea of how an idea is moving along. But, there are also biases in surveys. This survey for mapping internationalization at higher education institutions may show great advancements and lack thereof but it may not grasp a complete idea of how active higher education is in mapping internationalization as there may be institutions who did not participate in the survey. It was interesting to see that those who did participate gave us a good idea on where higher education needs to work on with internationalization and where we are succeeding. One thing that caught my attention was that 95% of doctoral students saw and felt internationalization more according to the survey. It made me think if more doctoral students saw this because many doctors often do their doctoral work in a different country. It is very common for doctoral students especially for medicine to go to the Caribbean to finish their degree but are associated with American universities so when they return they can easily move into their residency.

Formal assessment is important in higher education but has not been at the forefront of it, which is a huge problem. I find it very interesting that higher education as a whole is having difficulty with formal assessment of educational outcomes and success of their students but this is at the forefront of internationalization of higher education. According to the survey their was a decrease in the early 2000’s of assessment of internationalization but in 2011 they saw an increase in formal assessment of internationalization of higher education of 37%. What phenomenon between 2006 and 2011 occurred that this number increased? Why hasn’t this effected higher education as a whole? Many strategic plans are starting to include internationalization and some institutions are creating separate strategic plans just for internationalization. A concern I have is that if so much effort is put into internationalization an institution will the home campus begin to loose out. This is a reoccurring theme as we have discussed internationalization over the semester. Co-curriculum programs are now progressing to the internationalization end. I have never been a fan of this for the reason as they are no credit, students already spend large amounts of money on college, why would they opt to take a non credit course. Yes, they enhance the curriculum but it makes it hard for students on a budget to enhance their education when they are not receiving credit for a course. Expanding this to internationalization at home is going to leave out a certain socioeconomic group of students who cannot afford that luxury.

W11 – Internationalization Surveys – Leadership, Funding, and Priorities

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.

Natallia Kolbun

W11 – Internationalization Surveys and the US’s Focus on Latin America

Both of the articles for this week summarized findings from surveys about internationalization.  Mapping Internationalization on US Campuses compares the data from a 2011 ACE survey across institutional types and historical data from past surveys.  While doctoral institutions clearly lead the way in most aspects of internationalization, this publication reported a positive picture of growth and expansion of internationalization overall in the US context.  For example, more campuses report having specific internationalization strategic plans and accompanying assessment methods than in previous survey years.  Since there was no change in the institutional policies requiring international experience for promotion or tenure, the authors recommend amending policies to factor in international experience for faculty.

The article named Internationalization of Higher Education: IAU 4th Global Survey presents the findings of a survey that was administered to institutions internationally.  This allowed the authors not only to identify global trends, but also see how perceptions, successes, and issues vary regionally.  In examining benefits, and risks of internationalization, they found that there is still a strong focus on student mobility.  The goals of internationalization align accordingly, including preparing students to succeed in a globalized world, and appreciation of different cultures.  The article spoke about many topics we have learned in class, including the importance of institutional leadership and funding challenges.  I thought the section about risks was interesting because despite the various benefits of international education and the progress being made in that area, there are still many obstacles to overcome including the perception, (and often times reality) that studying abroad is an elitist activity for students with financial means.  Regional societal concerns include brain drain in less developed countries, and solely economic motivations in North America.

I was also especially interested in the geographic priorities section, specifically for the North American region.  Based on the recent economic growth in many Asian countries and the high number of international students coming from countries such as China, India, and South Korea, it makes sense that Asia and the Pacific was the highest priority for institutions in North America.  I was also happy to see that Latin America and the Caribbean was the second highest priority for North America.  The reading stated that many regions, including Asia and Europe, identified their own region as the highest priority.  Since the Caribbean was grouped with Latin America, then North America really only consists of Canada and maybe Mexico.  I’m glad to see North American institutions taking an interest in their southern neighbors.

Since I studied and worked abroad in Latin America, I have always had an interest in the region.  A Huffington Post article reviewing the 2013 Open Doors Report noted that Costa Rica, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, and Chile were among the top 20 destinations for US students.  The University World News article that Professor Choudaha sent us last week mentioned that Latin America was the top destination for Non-Credit Education Abroad, with Mexico and Nicaragua the first and third most popular destination countries respectively.  I think it is encouraging to see this increase in educational exchange with some of our closest neighbors, especially considering the various (and interconnected) ways in which we are linked including trade, immigration, tourism, the environment, and politics.