You are here

Global Education

American colleges and universities are becoming far more internationally focused. The rise in the number of foreign students on U.S. campuses is well-documented, with an 8 percent increase in foreign students seeking education at a U.S. college or university between the 2013-2014 school year alone, according to the Institute for International Education’s Open Doors report. Our higher education institutions are continuing to be recognized around the world for top-quality research and education.

Cultivating a campus culture that embodies both global diversity and interconnectivity should be central to the mission of universities today. Reminders persist that our current environment and economy are not confined to our immediate geographic surroundings. Modern-day technologies, transportation, international trade, and politics significantly diminish distances that used to seem great.

Bill S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, passed in the Senate in late June with bipartisan support

The Senate-approved approach to immigration reform could improve the country’s competitiveness by allowing green cards for STEM master’s graduates, and it would also create a pathway to citizenship for students brought to this country illegally as children.

And though the Republican controlled House is likely to produce its own, narrower immigration reform bill, the Senate bill is seen as a symbolic step forward in the higher ed community.

Homeland Security has since ordered all border agents to verify that every international student who arrives in the country has a valid student visa.

The student visa process has come under scrutiny after investigators in the Boston bombings learned that a friend of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev entered the U.S. with an expired student visa.

Azamat Tazhayakov, a student from Kazakhstan, was arrested on suspicion of obstructing justice after investigators say items were removed from Tsarnaev’s University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth dorm room three days after the attack.

While the role of international campuses of U.S. institutions of higher education has been much debated in recent years, their primary purpose and capacity for constructive, new developments is often overlooked. With much controversy over motives, money and visions of soft power, the critics rarely look at the realities that brought these overseas ventures to fruition in the first place—or the drive that keeps them operating and expanding.

This year, the iconic black and white Oreo cookie celebrates its centennial. One hundred years since the chocolate wafer sandwich first went on sale in the U.S., this favorite treat is now beloved around the world with $2 billion in global sales. Second only to the U.S. in Oreo cookie consumption is the world’s most populous country of China. But if you’ve traveled to the Far East, you’ll find the cookie you dunk in Shanghai is nothing like one you savor in St. Louis. In fact, the first Oreos sold in China crumbled.

In 2008, Sunil Khambaswadkar came on board as the assistant vice chancellor of HR at the Abu Dhabi campus of New York University, which now supports 450 students and is growing strong. “It was a great opportunity for HR and me, personally, to be part of the campus right from the beginning, participating in the planning process, being able to determine what would be required from an HR perspective,” he says.

Map with a push pin point to Qatar

The trend of opening branch campuses overseas is cyclical. When things are good, institutions look outside their borders. When things get bad, institutions tend to retract those tentacles. However, Education City in Qatar, which opened in 2001 after six years of planning from the Qatar Foundation and now has seven higher ed institutions, is going strong.

In November, Northwestern University in Qatar broke ground on a new 32,520-square meter building to house its media, communication, and journalism school. Northwestern University (Ill.) founded its Qatar branch in 2008.

money matters

Increasingly, college and university leaders are recognizing that no undergraduate education is complete without exposure to cultures outside the United States. Therefore, many institutions are striving to create a more global experience for their students, through enrolling more international students, encouraging students to study or work abroad, setting up satellite campuses in other countries, or some combination of all three.

Recent popular books and articles on the state of higher education today might lead a reader to conclude that no students are prepared for college-level work, nor are they learning or studying as much as they should, especially in their first two years in college. In the March 24 New York Review of Books, Peter Brooks, the distinguished scholar of comparative literature who spent many years at Yale and is now at Princeton, reviews several of the recently published critiques of American higher education.