May 16, 2013, 11:23 am
There is an issue, which may or may not be a problem for universities around the world, but that is certainly gaining a lot of attention in Britain and the United States—namely, attention itself.
Students increasingly arrive at university having grown up in a world in which their habits of study are heavily influenced by new media. They are used to media acting as a continuous stream of content that is more like a river of images than a page of text. According to one account, that means much shorter attention spans, much greater attention to visual modes of understanding, greater modulation of time, more and more reliance on interfaces, and so on. (See, most recently, Stephen Apkon’s The Age of the Image.)
Now, I think it is true that our students have become accustomed to being presented with bite-size chunks of information in ways that can leave their instructors concerned an…
May 10, 2013, 10:36 am
A couple of years ago, the WorldWise contributor Francisco Marmolejo pondered whether the United States was moving backward in its connections with Brazil. He was concerned that the U.S.-Brazil Higher Education Consortia Program run by the U.S. Education Department was being hurt by budget cuts. He argued that in a time when higher education was growing in Latin America, there needed to be more, not fewer, programs focused on developing relationships between the United States and Brazil.
He was right about the importance of such links. But things are not so dire as our colleague predicted.
Just a few days ago, President Obama announced a new United States-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research. “This forum will build upon the many positive educational and research linkages that already exist through federal, state, and local governments, public and…
May 7, 2013, 10:21 am
The following is a guest post by Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.
Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities
U.S. higher education is uniquely positioned to contribute to the agriculture, health, and economic prosperity of developing countries. And the U.S. government plays an important role supporting such work. But that partnership between government and universities could be threatened as lawmakers look for places to cut federal spending— and with foreign aid an all-too-frequent target. As a former administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development and a former president of Michigan State University,…
May 3, 2013, 11:29 am
The following is a guest post by Mark Jia, a Rhodes Scholar studying Chinese politics at the University of Oxford. His views do not reflect those of the Rhodes Trust.
An administrative building at Tsinghua University, in Beijing.
When Cecil Rhodes created a set of eponymous scholarships to Oxford, his vision was to “render war impossible” through fostering mutual understanding between nations.
Last week Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder of the Blackstone Group, announced a set of international scholarships with the same basic objective. But instead of shipping college graduates to the dreaming spires of England, the scholarships will enroll 200 students in a specialized one-year master’s program at Tsinghua…
April 30, 2013, 10:35 am
The following is a guest post by John Anthony Pella Jr., a lecturer in international relations and international history, and Li Wang, a lecturer in education. Both work at Zhejiang University, in Hangzhou, China.
China in recent years has aggressively moved to make its universities “world-class,” and top institutions have instituted numerous policies to achieve this goal. Two such policies are recruiting faculty who have been educated overseas and pushing faculty members to publish more academic work. While these strategies have their benefits, they run the risk of creating significant divisions in Chinese academe.
The high value placed on foreign degrees has shaken up the job market. It has become easier for foreign-trained Chinese scholars to return home and get jobs at prestigious…
April 26, 2013, 11:21 am
University campuses are increasingly becoming beacons for public values, contrary to the many critics who seem to believe that the Dark Ages are upon us in higher education.
There are many different campuses that are leading society to a better place by setting an example themselves. In the past, they were on the forefront of battles over gender and racial equality. But the story doesn’t end there. I see progress recently in four other important areas: gun control, sustainability, community outreach, and global health.
In the United States, the most recent instance is the campaign by many college and university presidents to take on the gun lobby and reassert the need for gun-free campuses—against considerable pressure from state legislatures in some cases. Five states now permit the concealed carry of firearms at public institutions. As other state legislators introduce bills …
April 18, 2013, 11:41 am
The following is a guest post by Paul Smith, director of the British Council’s U.S. office and a cultural counselor at the British Embassy in Washington.
A map of Myanmar
Recent stories about a new hope kindling in Burmese colleges and universities are a timely reminder that the restitution of robust higher education is critical to the security and prosperity for a nation emerging from a fractured past and into a more democratic future.
Fourteen years ago, I spent a year in Myanmar (also known as Burma), where I experienced firsthand the desperate thirst for knowledge.
At the time, the British Council-Rangoon ran the only public library in the country permitted to stock foreign books. In fact, ours were the only…
April 15, 2013, 11:27 am
There has been much talk in the United States recently about higher-education “bubbles.” The growing student-loan debt is one, while others point to increasing costs and continued high unemployment as an indicator that higher education writ large is creating a bubble. Closer to our area of study are claims of a possible international-branch-campus bubble.
One bubble has gotten less attention and may be on the verge of popping. And if it does, it could have a big impact on academe.
Colleges and universities in the United States have become increasingly reliant on international students. According to latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics, international students account for around 10 percent of all graduate enrollments (compared with about 3 percent in undergraduate programs). But a recent report from the Council of Graduate Schools suggests that the pipeline…
April 12, 2013, 11:27 am
The following is a guest post by Thomas Docherty, a professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Warwick.
The former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a visit to the White House in 1983.
Often after someone dies who had significant influence over our lives, there is an argument over his or her legacy. In the case of Margaret Thatcher, rarely has the debate been more divisive—and higher education is not immune. Among university colleagues there is argument not just about what her legacy actually is, but about whether professors need to do more to actively reject its influence, which continues to help guide education policy today.
Admirers will point to the obvious physical manifestation of…
April 9, 2013, 1:55 pm
The following is a guest post by Jeffrey S. Lehman, vice chancellor of New York University’s campus in Shanghai. It is adapted from a speech he gave last year at the University of California at Berkeley, entitled “The Goals of Transnational Education: Reflections of a True Believer.”
A row of 16th-century buildings in Tours, France.
I believe very strongly in the value of a transnational education. Indeed, I would not be surprised if my colleagues use words like “zealot” and “fanatic” when I am out of earshot. My strong belief is, perhaps not surprisingly, rooted in personal experience: my year of study in the Sweet Briar College Junior Year in France.
The year began with a five-week orientation in the city of Tours. I lived with four…