August 29, 2012, 3:35 pm
What is a multinational university? As colleges and universities expand their physical presence into other locations, the term multinational university seems to be popping up in different venues as a descriptor, often with different meanings. And, while analogies can be useful, we believe they should be used with caution.
We’ve used the concept of a multinational university before in our writing, including in our recent book, to differentiate between those institutions with a strictly domestic presence from those with a globalized mission, transnational organizational structure, and multi-country presence. Most specifically, we have argued that the rise of the multinational university comes from the increasing number foreign education outposts—branch campuses, research partnerships, joint and dual degrees—in a new globalized higher-education world. The term has come up in…
July 31, 2012, 9:39 am
A sign on Michigan State’s home campus.
In 2007, Michigan State University announced to great fanfare a new branch campus in Dubai. It was the first U.S. institution to do so, and it began an elaborate process to transform one of the central buildings at Dubai International Academic City into a foreign outpost. The school colors, green and white, guided the decorations of the space. There were classrooms, computer labs, study spaces, lounges, and a small library. During basketball season, televisions were brought in so the Spartans of the desert could cheer on the home team back in the United States. A photo of the president, Lou Anna Simon, even hung near those of Sheikh Khalifa said Sheik Mohammed, UAE’s leadership, in the atrium.
In 2010, though, MSU made a sudden and unexpected announcement: they were…
July 16, 2012, 1:40 pm
Comprehensive internationalization seems to be all the rage these days. For the past decade, the concept has been the topic of policy reports, institutional planning documents, and meetings around the world. More than mere internationalization, comprehensive internationalization emphasizes activities that touch on all aspects of the institution, suggesting deep and ubiquitous change from the status quo. Advocates rightly argue that institutions need to be more strategic and inclusive with their international activities. However, the focus on institutional activities alone can often lead us to forget that internationalization should also be a national policy concern.
For example, the Partnership for a New American Economy released this month a report that argued existing immigration policies in the United States are a significant deterrent to the health of the nation’s innovation…
June 26, 2012, 11:47 am
The administration building at Songdo Global University Campus in South Korea.
It is fashionable to be an educational hub these days. Countries are developing educational cities, villages, and zones designed to house prestigious foreign institutions, often seeming to rely on a Field of Dreams
mentality: If you build it they will come. But if everyone builds such a city, will there be enough institutions and students to make a game of it?
The international educational market is already pretty competitive. Universities want to attract foreign students, who often pay full fees, add to their institutional prestige, and boost their rankings. But the pursuit of becoming an educational hub represents a different educational market—one where governments and private investors are actively recruiting foreign…
June 11, 2012, 8:55 am
When it comes to the internationalization of higher education, the Russian Bear has remained in hibernation. On the global stage, Russia has not been widely viewed as a major international player in the area of higher education, nor has it made any splashy announcements about new government policies or institutional activities. Such a situation is surprising when one considers the amount of internationalizing activity engaged in by the other emerging economies of the BRIC group. Brazil recently launched its Science without Borders program to send 100,000 students abroad in three years. India and China are often discussed as the top senders of students studying abroad in the world. All three have been very public in discussing their desires to internationalize their higher education sectors, including wanting to make their own higher education institutions more internationally competitive…
May 24, 2012, 12:53 pm
Chinese Confucius centers in the United States are at the center of a confusing decision recently made by the U.S. government. To the surprise of nearly everyone, the State Department announced that center staff teaching language courses in primary and secondary schools required a different visa than what many currently possess. The teachers have until the end of June to get the correct visas or they will be deported – mostly back to China. This situation occurs at an interesting time in the relationship between China and the United States, having just wrapped up the delicate diplomatic negotiations which led the Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng to come to the United States.
The specifics of the visa issues are outside of our expertise, but we note that the U.S. Department of State is the nation’s chief diplomatic agency and is obviously fully aware of the current situation with …
May 10, 2012, 4:06 pm
A bit of a warning: This blog will touch on politics outside of the usual dimensions of our forum here. But we do so to address what is a constant issue for universities seeking to expand overseas: How do institutions manage risk in their foreign operations? The politics we are broaching involve the recent diplomatic tensions over Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng.
Chen Guangcheng with U.S. officials in Beijing.
Chen is a prominent civil-rights activist in China who has been under house arrest or in prison since 2005 for criticizing the enforcement of China’s one-child policy. Reports indicated that he was denied legal representation, his family was harassed, and his communication with the outside world was cut off. Chen’s dramatic escape from his home in Shandong Province to the U.S. Embassy in…
May 2, 2012, 2:50 pm
International-education initiatives are commonly seen as institutional-level activities and they still are, mostly. But we have been seeing increasing interest in the centralization of some international education activities at the system level. This growing involvement of systems makes us pause to wonder the potential merits and challenges of such initiatives.
By “system” we are thinking about multiple higher-education institutions that are coordinated through common governance and financial structures, while retaining a high degree of institutional autonomy. Our own State University of New York is one example, with 64 campuses across the state coordinated through a central system office. Systems are common in the United States, with 40 out of the 50 states operating at least one (some states, such as California, have multiple public higher-education systems). Because most…
April 19, 2012, 3:16 pm
Last fall, the Canadian government announced the creation of a new advisory panel to identify ways to tie international education to the nation’s economic and trade policy. In Brazil, the government is providing 75,000 scholarships for students to study overseas in the next four years. Qatar has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on importing branch campuses from the United States and other western nations.
With all of this in mind, last week SUNY and OECD co-hosted a conference in New York City entitled “Internationalization for Job Creation and Economic Growth: Increasing Coherence of Government and System Policies at a Time of Global Crisis.” With more than 100 people from 17 nations in attendance, there were a variety of perspectives on this issue, but one common theme emerged: the economic impact of higher education’s international activities is attracting significant …
April 5, 2012, 12:11 pm
Two weeks ago, Jason and one of our graduate students, Christine Farrugia, were in the United Arab Emirates working on a survey of the country’s educational system. Jason’s been to the country several times over the past few years, and Christine has been there since January on a fellowship to study the legitimacy of branch-campus policies. For obvious reasons of wealth and an existing international reputation, Abu Dhabi and Dubai tend to capture most of the attention of those interested in the exciting developments in UAE education. However, those are only two of the seven emirates that comprise this small nation. In other regions of the country, things can look very different.
According to most estimates, 80 percent of the UAE’s population is expatriates. Some of these are wealthy westerners, but the vast majority represents lower socioeconomic classes from Africa and the Asian…