As seen in this week’s readings, higher education systems across the world take many forms and some are very different from our own. I found the reading about the BRIC universities and how each country has shaped their higher education systems very fascinating because it shows how higher education can exist in many forms and shapes. Brazil was the most interesting because I thought it was the most unique compared to the United States and the other two countries. The section on Brazil emphasized how the private for-profit institutions are dominating the higher education market, as opposed to the public institutions which really dominate US higher education. As the author mentions Brazil has a very small public higher education sector compared to its private sector. Private institutions educate almost three fourths of the undergraduate population in Brazil, and many of them are for-profit organizations that have set up campuses around the country. Public institutions in Brazil are more research oriented than instruction oriented, therefore most of the funding and faculty are directed towards research projects rather than instructing undergraduate and graduate students. As result, public institutions take in fewer students which make them highly selective institutions. On the other hand, the growing number of private institutions essentially does not have any admissions controls because there are more seats than students and admits everyone.
One of the major issues that Brazil is facing is how to improve quality in these private institutions that essentially admits everyone who applies and is not pressured to improve their quality. I find the state of Brazil’s higher education very intriguing because it is considered an emerging country and economic force (not as of recently), but it is struggling with capacity and quality issues. US schools that are looking to enter Brazil’s market should be aware of these issues and needs in order to work out partnerships that will benefit both parties. Mutual understanding of the partner or the host country’s culture is imperative in the success of a partnership or a branch campus, and it should be something that is achieved before agreements are struck.
Central ministries for education in other countries have allowed higher education institutions to run effectively and united. Most countries have instated a department or central ministry for their higher education institutions to become a part of so they all must follow the same rules and regulation allowing for each institution to be held to the same standards. I was surprised to find out that China did not start with one central ministry and was originally multiple ministries. Though the government was in charge of funding and policies they still allowed they public and private intitutions to have a say on some internal regulations and quotas they would like to meet. I feel ministries like this make a difference in the function of higher education institutions because it is centralized with participation from all institutions. In India, it seems as though university examinations play a large role in the way an institution functions. There are private and public colleges but all must be part of a university who will grant a degree for them. Unaided private colleges were interviewed in this reading and surprisingly the faculty were teaching the bare minmum so they could focus on their students passing the exams. Most time private colleges are able to be flexible in what they are teaching but in this system, the trustees have a large amount of control over the autonomy of disciplines. On the contrary, Russia has a long history of allowing higher education be centralized then decentralized. In 1993 Law on Education allowed for institutions to self-govern and decentralize with introductions of private institutions. In 2000 this changed when Putin wished to centralize the autonomy and finances. Many administrators from institutions were also angered by the fact that financial support could only come from federal and not local governments. Local governments were willing to include higher education in their financial planning but the regulations only allowed federal. This is more for control than anything else as the central ministry in Moscow wanted the final say. Lastly, Brazil has between 65-70% of their students enrolled in private institutions, which is different than most countries. Most of these private institutions run like business making the autonomy contolled by faculty low in the academic sector. Brazil faces the conflict where they are a low income society but the majority of the college going students attend private schools so cost and budgeting play a major role in higher education. Faculty take a lot of responsibility by teaching undergraduate and graduate course work. The research showed that only 2% of faculty only taught graduate course work.
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.
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.
This week’s readings included global strategic plans of a U.S. state public research university and a community college, as well as the article that examines the higher education system of 4 BRIC countries and comparing the political influences that drive the policies and reforms in their country’s respective higher education systems.
What stuck out to me the most was in Ohio’s global strategic plan and how they mentioned that “few [students] have an understanding of the state of the world within which we live nor an appreciation of the extent to which global forces are impacting on national and local development and vice versa”. This also made me think about how while many of the global strategic plans we have read in class definitely cover how they plan to globalize the curriculum and get more faculty and staff on board, but other than getting more students to study abroad, there seems to be little mention of getting the students on board with the internationalization strategies. And with the increase in fear of international students taking away jobs and also even spots at the universities, it is ever more important to also get the local students on board with the plans the institution has to globalize their campus, because the students are a large group of stakeholders at play.
When mass media consistently spreads fear of the influx of foreigners on college campuses and in job markets, it is not surprising that it causes increasingly resistant local students to the inclusion of international students and the potential benefits the international students bring. As mentioned in class discussions before, reaping the benefits of a more diverse student body requires work on the part of the institution. The institution needs to be able to not only successfully mesh the international students into the local environment and culture, but also to get the local students to be receptive of the international students and the cultures and perspectives they bring.
While this issue of resistance does not seem to be something that can be changed on the policy level, since policy cannot directly dictate what the students should do and how they should react to the situation, there are things that can be changed in the primary and secondary schools to expose students early on about the benefits of have a more globalized curriculum and be more accepting of other cultures and traditions. All in all, it is great that both strategic plans read this week show a great amount of support on the administrative and faculty side, but there is still the question of how the students will receive it and how to better include the students in the plan.