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Focusing a Corporate Lens on Global Universities

Global corporate brands adopt local identities. Can universities do the same?

As universities seek to be global, they should consider an obvious model: multinational corporations.

What leads me to suggest using a corporate lens to look at global universities? I’ve heard Qantas talk about forming alliances with other airlines, a process akin to creating university consortia; tried to understand how the University of Melbourne snagged a partnership with IBM; and been fascinated by the strategies…

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American Academics Need Cultural Humility

At the edges of international higher-education conferences, Americans sometimes run into something that many of them don’t expect—resentment.

At European receptions, Americans may occasionally overhear loud complaints about their presence from Europeans who hear American accents. In the Middle East, strong Arab nationalism in the wake of the revolutions there sometimes turns to xenophobia and anti-Americanism. In Asia some resident academics feel that, to Americans, the Asian Century just means …

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How Universities Can Shape Global Identities

Griffith U., in Australia, has appealed to Gen Y students and highlighted researchers with its "Red Couch" campaign.

Bangkok — As universities move from being national institutions to international ones, they shift from managing national reputations to seeking international identities.

Reputation management may not be at the forefront of many academics’ minds, but when professors go abroad and meet colleagues who have no idea what kind of institution they come from, their interest may pick up.

I…

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Biomedical Research Will Become Asian Research

The dense cities of Asia, such as Bangkok, can spread emerging infectious diseases rapidly.

Singapore — A plate of worms; a blood-pressure cuff sitting on a table near a housing project; an endoscope used to peer into the stomach.
All are emblematic of the wide variety of Asian research I got a glimpse of in four days of interviews here.
Why do so many scholars think that the 21st century will be the Asian century? The answer isn’t just that many Asian universities are racing to be research po…

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New Twists in Online Recruiting of International Students

Bangkok—International students are often in an online wilderness as they search for universities to apply to. They run into confusing Web sites, search ads that can make shady institutions look genuine, and “contact us” pages that may not effectively connect them with admissions counselors.

An India-based company, Erudient, had students send Facebook messages to 162 universities in eight countries, including the United States and Canada. Only 51 percent of the universities responded within three…

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Should the U.S. State Department Copy the British Council?

I once visited the British Council offices in Hong Kong. I remember a spacious, light-filled lobby that was swarming with youthful Hong Kong residents. Most of them, from kindergartners to adults, were there to study English in British Council classes. As I looked around at the buzzing activity, I realized the next step for many of the teenagers I saw would be to study in Britain itself, and, no doubt, they could easily get information somewhere in the lobby about doing that.

In 110 offices arou…

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How to Pull Students Into ‘Global Challenges’ Research

Many universities are refocusing their research on “grand challenges” or “wicked problems,” including poverty, climate change, or emerging infectious diseases, to try to make a global impact. One question not often discussed, though, is how to involve students.

Paul Hudnut, director of the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise degree program at Colorado State University’s business school, says that he and his colleagues spotted few similar programs when they founded the program, in 2007. “It…

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The Case Against Internationalization

Is internationalization becoming too popular? When ideas become too popular, then academics, despite their feisty image, are less willing to dissent. Associate deans or assistant professors have plenty of their own battles to fight, like getting their share of the budget or winning tenure. When they see the internationalization theme sweeping across campus, they resign themselves to yet another academic fad. They keep their head below the parapet, quietly focusing on their own or their departmen…

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A Global Take on the ‘Badge’ Debate

The only e-mail I ever remember getting from someone in Rwanda was in praise of MIT’s OpenCourseWare project, which makes the teaching materials used in MIT courses available free. The Rwandan, a vice chancellor, was excited about having access, in some form, to MIT’s offerings. I was reminded of that message when a colleague’s article, “‘Badges’ Earned Online Pose Challenge to Traditional College Diplomas,” seemed to catch on fire in its comments field. A second reminder came in the form of a c…

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Asia Will Power Growth in Research and Development This Year

An annual forecast of spending on research and development predicts that many Asian countries, including some that are not usually on the tip of prognosticators’ tongues, will creep up the ranks as world research powers this year. The report says global research-and-development spending will increase by 5.2 percent, to $1.4 trillion, with much of the growth coming from Asian economies while the United States will remain largely stagnant.

The top five countries in terms of growth in research-and…