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…
April 2, 2013, 12:30 pm
The following is a guest post from Mandy Reinig, director of international education at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
A view of Galway Bay in Ireland.
A debate was started recently about whether social media has hurt study abroad, in part prompted by a commentary in The Chronicle. While I agree that technology has changed the way we look at study abroad and the way students interact while overseas, I don’t agree that it will lead to fewer cultural or transformative experiences for students while abroad.
Social media has changed the way students interact and the way we, as international-education professionals, interact with students before, during, and after their time abroad. What I don’t think social media has done or will…
March 26, 2013, 10:47 am
Engineering students outside the Mumbai office of the All India Council for Technical Education in August 2012.
A recent trip to India I took underlined the challenge that higher education faces worldwide. It must change what it does and how it does it to meet the growing demand. In India, for example, one estimate is that 500 million people will need training in vocational skills by 2022 and 40 million will need a university education by 2020. The consequences of these kinds of numbers for colleges and universities—not only in India but elsewhere, too—are still only being thought through.
I can think of five consequences.
First, higher education will have to become even more involved in secondary and adult education. Given the scale of the problem, there is no real alternative. Of course, universities…
March 21, 2013, 10:28 am
The following is a guest post by Madeleine F. Green, a senior fellow at Nafsa: the Association of International Educators and a senior program consultant at the Teagle Foundation.
For many, if not most, institutions, “success” in internationalization is a bit of a numbers game. It is defined by the number of students going abroad, the number of international students and the amount of revenue they generate, and the number of campuses abroad or courses offered with an international focus.
But what do these numbers mean for student learning? Although many colleges and universities cite producing “global citizens” as a goal, few have a clear set of learning outcomes associated with this label, a map of the learning experiences that will produce this learning, or an assessment plan in…
March 12, 2013, 10:23 am
How to make sure that educational programs that originate in one country but are delivered in another are of high quality?
The University of Nottingham, in Britain, operates a campus in Malaysia.
Up to now, accreditors and other quality-assurance agencies have attempted to adapt existing procedures to these international engagements—essentially trying to shoehorn them into a model that isn’t a good fit.
For the most part, quality assurance has been domestically focused: designed to review domestic programs that serve a mostly domestic audience. It is inherently built on widely accepted cultural norms of the country. For example, in the United States, the accreditation process is widely based on the idea of shared governance, in which faculty are fully engaged in the institutional review process. But not …
March 7, 2013, 10:03 am
The following is a guest post by David Eastwood, vice chancellor of the University of Birmingham, in Britain.
Traditionally a university has been defined by, indeed defined itself as, a place. People “go to” universities, even in a world where the virtual may seem to have made place less important. Students often will pay, and pay significantly, to study at universities, putting a premium on the real, the immediate, and the academic experience in a particular environment. The Harvard experience is Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. However generous the institution is with its online content, that is only a tantalizing fragment of the Harvard experience. Not valueless, of course, but different.
To study at a particular university means to study in a unique setting and in a…
March 6, 2013, 11:19 am
The following is a guest post by Khaled Fahmy, chairman of the history department at the American University in Cairo. He is a member of the advisory board of Al Fanar, an online publication on Arab higher education, where this commentary originally appeared.
Last week the publication canceled a conference in the United Arab Emirates, where the magazine was to be launched, because of concerns about academic freedom. (Note: David Wheeler, Al Fanar’s editor, is a former managing editor of The Chronicle.)
Map of the United Arab Emirates
When I received an invitation from David Wheeler to participate in the launch of Al Fanar, I was delighted. I believed that the Arab world desperately needs an incisive look a…