June 10, 2013, 10:30 am
The following is a guest post by John Haddad, an associate professor of American studies and popular culture at Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg. He is the author of America’s First Adventure in China: Trade, Treaties, Opium, and Salvation.
Sias International U.’s administrative building
On a recent trip to China, I made a stop at Sias International University, in Xinzheng, Henan Province, to deliver a lecture on American popular culture. Sias is a relatively new private university that presents itself as an American-style college. Its founder, a local entrepreneur who made his fortune in the United States, believes in internationalism and in cooperation between China and the United States—so much so…
June 3, 2013, 11:07 am
The following is a guest post by Lauren Carroll, who will be a senior in the fall at Duke University and senior editor at The Chronicle, Duke’s student newspaper.
A quick way to gauge how much undergraduates care about a particular issue is to look at the opinion pages of their student newspapers.
In November 2010, Duke University administrators canceled a much-loved student tailgating tradition when a cheerleader’s 14-year-old brother was found passed out drunk in a Port-a-Potty. By November 2011, the Duke Chronicle’s student columnists had written more than 40 opinion pieces mentioning the incident, and the topic still pops up in the editorial pages with relative frequency.
In 2009, Duke announced plans to build a campus in Kunshan, China. It has become a hot-button issue among…
May 28, 2013, 10:17 am
The following is a guest post by Peter Gumbel, associate professor at Sciences Po, in Paris, and author of France’s Got Talent: The Woeful Consequences of French Elitism.
The French Institute, in Paris, which is home to the French Academy.
The French government has introduced legislation that aims to attack some of the greatest weaknesses of the national higher-education system, including the fragmentation of public universities and the chronically high failure rate of undergraduates. These problems have been analyzed and agonized over for years, so you might think that the public debate over the passage of this legislation would be about how, finally, someone is trying to fix the problems.
Instead, the bill…
May 23, 2013, 12:25 pm
Educational quality is now a hot topic in higher education globally.
In recent months, I have been involved in institutional assessments and government meetings on the topic in Finland, Romania, Ireland, and the United States—and shortly I’ll travel to Gabon on behalf of the European Union and the African Union to discuss quality issues.
While the discussions vary, what’s clear is that quality is no longer solely the domain of higher-education providers or independent agencies, like accreditors. Many governments want to step up their role in assuring that educational programs are worthwhile.
In the United States, this point is recently illustrated by the Obama administration’s College Scorecard and its 2014 budget proposal to examine “new quality validation systems that can identify appropriate competencies, assessments, and curricula.” Greater accountability had…
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 …