Education cities, knowledge villages, schoolhouses, education hubs, and hotspots: emerging metaphors for global higher ed

Introduction

One of the rationales for the establishment of the GlobalHigherEd blog last September was to highlight and then archive information (e.g., see ‘Foreign university campuses and linkage schemes‘) about the construction of new globalizing knowledge spaces, especially when multiple institutions (and often firms) from different countries are brought together within one space. These may take the form of a branch/overseas/foreign campus, a joint research centre, or perhaps relatively deep transnational linkage schemes (e.g., joint and dual/double degrees, or international consortia of universities).

Examples of such knowledge spaces include:

  • Dubai Knowledge Village (which is hosting Boston University, Harvard University, London School of Business & Finance, Michigan State University, Rochester Institute of Technology)
  • Bahrain Higher Education City (announced December 2006)
  • Kuala Lumpur Education City (which is working with, in the first instance, Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • Singapore’s ‘Global Schoolhouse’ (which is hosting or collaborating with Johns Hopkins University, MIT, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania, INSEAD, University of Chicago, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, Technische Universität München, Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University, Cornell University, Duke University, Karolinska Institutet, University of New South Wales (RIP, 2007), ESSEC, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, IIM Bangalore, SP Jain Centre of Management, New York University, DigiPen Institute of Technology, Queen Margaret University)
  • Incheon Free Economic Zone (which is working with, in the first instance, State University of New York at Stony Brook and North Carolina State University)
  • Education City Qatar (which is hosting Carnegie Mellon University, Georgetown University, Northwestern University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Weill Cornell Medical College). See this flyover of Education City Qatar to give you one sense of the nature of such a space.

There are other such centres of actual or planned knowledge production (including Abu Dhabi, which is hosting INSEAD, Johns Hopkins University, MIT, New York University, and the Sorbonne), but these will have to suffice as a basis for today’s entry.

It is important to note that in addition to these knowledge spaces, individual university campuses of significant scale (e.g., King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)), and associated developments that are more geographically dispersed (e.g., foreign university campuses in China and Vietnam), are increasingly receiving attention from stakeholder organizations, such as the American Council of Education (ACE), the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE), the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), and media outlets including the Chronicle of Higher Education, Insider Higher Education, and the New York Times. In all cases these observers have, more often than not, taken to using terms like “hotspots” (e.g., in the ACE report pictured to the right) when describing the emergence of new spaces of knowledge production, regardless of whether they are functioning or not.

Over the last several years both of us have noted the intense interest in these new knowledge spaces, especially from traditional knowledge producers (and associated stakeholders) who have dominated the global higher education landscape. People and the institutions they represent are curious and concerned, and in the process they react to, and they produce, novel concepts including metaphors like “hotspots” as they make sense of the fast changing context.

Even developing a basic mapping of this changing context is a challenging task, a point Kavita Pandit made in Boston this week at a conference one of us (Kris) is attending. Tangible developments aside, it is also easy to miss “seeing” these initiatives for they tend to sit outside of our geo-politico/economic and methodological nationalist (and statist) frameworks for understanding higher education, a point Arjun Appadurai has insightfully made in speeches and writings. This said, a small number of scholars are doing their best to break down the national holdings, if we can use this term, that guide our analytical and research imaginations, with respect to higher education (broadly defined).

In this relatively long entry we want to highlight one fascinating dimension of the development process that we have been taken for granted – the metaphors that are associated with many of these new knowledge spaces.

Metaphors and their uses

Metaphors such as education city, or global knowledge hub, are tropes that enable us to “reduce the unfamiliar to the familiar” (Smith and Katz, 1993: 69). Familiar examples of economic metaphors that guide our economic imaginaries include trickle down, rising tides, trade wars, rollercoaster, flat earth, invisible hand, and creative destruction.

Metaphors are key elements in the production of discourses, including discourses about the changing nature of higher education, urban and regional development processes, and so on. Yet we take metaphors for granted.

While some scholars have spent their lives analyzing the nature of metaphors, there are three basic points we would like to emphasize when thinking about the metaphors associated with the types of globalizing knowledge spaces we briefly highlighted above.

First, everyone uses metaphors because metaphors are effective and necessary in projecting views, in constructing arguments, in enabling the transformation of the thinking of others, and in generating anxiety. As Cornelissen et al (2008: 9) suggest, in relationship to thinking about organizational behavior:

Metaphors connect realms of human experience and imagination. They guide our perceptions and interpretations of reality and help us to formulate our visions and goals. In doing these things, metaphors facilitate and further our understanding of the world.

Thus, the development of metaphors like education city, knowledge hub, knowledge village, and global schoolhouse, imply an initiative that is associated with (a) the production of knowledge (which is more than information), (b) education providers (broadly defined), and (c) geographical proximity (up to the scale of “the city”). These metaphors reflect the relativization of scale (see one previous entry on this in GlobalHigherEd), where higher education systems are increasingly being denationalized; reshaped, as it were, by forces and actors that are thinking at, and operating at, scales other than the national. Thus these new development initiatives are imbued with territorial development objectives; objectives associated with the building of knowledge economies and societies

In conveying a message, such metaphors simultaneously serve as vehicles to destabilize our taken-for granted assumptions, to create the shock of the new, to generate anxiety. As Don Miller (2006: 64) notes, for example:

The face of the metaphoric new is one of strangeness, even of disconcerting incongruity. It upsets the established order. New metaphors may well enthuse those ready to pursue difference; but they frighten others wanting to maintain some existing order of things.

The target of such a message includes the media, and especially universities that have not yet stretched their institutional fabrics out across space, either in the form of joint/dual/double degrees, or branch campuses. Senior international officers for Western universities, for example, are increasingly being asked to reflect upon the pros and cons of linking into these new knowledge spaces. The presence of such metaphors creates a legible and identifiable target for concern, for deliberation.

Second, metaphors need to do work, they need to struggle, and they can be left open to critique and ridicule, incomprehension, or internal contradiction, if not effectively developed. This ties into a more general point about the production of hegemony, of truth. As Nietzsche (1909: 173-188; cited in Miller, 2006) puts it:

What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonymies, anthromorphisms – which, after long usage, seem to a nation fixed, canonic and binding: truths are illusions of which one has forgotten they are illusions.

Leaving aside debates about the construction of ‘truth’, it is clear that some of the metaphors developed and circulated, to date, have done more work than others in creating a legible and coherent understanding of what is going on, or what might be on offer. Thus we see some highly effective metaphors (e.g., Qatar Education City), which have come to be accepted, and legible in higher education circles in the targeted West, while others are ineffective, and perhaps far too broadly constructed. Incheon Free Economic Zone, for example, is a state planned development zone which is supposed to include a:

global center for cultural and intellectual exchange,” explains Hee Yhon Song, founder and former head of the College of Northeast Asian Studies, in Incheon City, and a key broker in the new agreements.

Mr. Song predicts that Incheon could eventually play host to more than 40 research institutes and at least seven foreign campuses, luring students from across the region. Eventually, he and others believe, South Korea could be the center of a regional government, along the lines of Brussels in the European Union.

Incheon, though, lacks a knowledge-based economy metaphor. “Free economic zone” smacks of export processing activities (factories), yet another ‘iconic’ world trade centre building, and somewhat sterile industrial landscapes. This said, these are early days in the Incheon’s development process, both materially and discursively. And on another level, might Free Economic Zone be a more accurate metaphor for what is going on in this era of academic capitalism, at least in some of the development initiative that are bubbling up around the globe?

Other metaphors that are perhaps too vague, and not legible at a transnational scale, include “global schoolhouse”. “Schoolhouse” is an troublesome metaphor in many countries for it implies primary level education only. Another common metaphor, “education hub” (as in Hong Kong Education Hub) is left open to critique for it can just as easily imply flow through, and tunnel/vacant/vacuous just as much as its other meaning (centrality of “activity, region, or network”).

Yet one place – Singapore – that has employed both of these problematic metaphors, succeeded in achieving its discursive objectives when it created an exemplary metaphor: “Boston of the East”. As Rear RADM (NS) Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence, put it in 2000:

Our vision, in shorthand notation, is to become the Boston of the East. Boston is not just MIT or Harvard. The greater Boston area boasts of over 200 universities, colleges, research institutes and thousands of companies. It is a focal point of creative energy; a hive of intellectual, research, commercial and social activity. We want to create an oasis of talent in Singapore: a knowledge hub, an “ideas-exchange”, a confluence of people and idea streams, an incubator for inspiration

In short, metaphors are necessary, but not all metaphors work equally well in attempting to bring to life such development initiatives.

Third, metaphors are political, in the broadest sense of political. They are strategically deployed to structure and interpret events, development processes, development projects, and so on (Kelly, 2001). This leads the human geographer, Trevor Barnes (1996: 159), to argue that:

The more general point is that we must continually think critically about the metaphors we use—where they come from, why they were proposed, whose interests they represent, and the nature of their implications. Not to do so can lead us to be the slaves of some defunct master of metaphors.

So, while metaphors provide “color and entertainment” (Czarniawska-Joerges and Joerges, 1988), while they are designed to convince, and while they work (and fail), they also conceal as much, if not more, than they profile.

Take Kuala Lumpur Education City (KLEC), for example. KLEC builds upon the successes of Education City Qatar in generating a legible space for the siting of foreign universities in Malaysia, in and around the national capital and the Multimedia Super Corridor that Timothy Bunnell has so ably assessed. KLEC, though, is primarily a property development vehicle. KLEC’s key strategic partner TH Properties Sdn Bhd., a national property development firm is a subsidiary of Lembaga Tabung Haji, an established financial institution. As KLEC notes:

TH Properties’ most significant development to date is Bandar Enstek. Bandar Enstek is strategically located just 8 minutes from the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) and 10 minutes away from the Main Terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). It is only 38 minutes from the Kuala Lumpur City Centre via the ERL and a mere 5 minutes from the Sepang F1 Circuit. It is a RM9.2 billion integrated township set over 5,116 acres of prime land. Expected to be fully completed in 2025, Bandar Enstek will be home to 150,000 residents who will enjoy high quality communications infrastructure, fixed and wireless connections included, to support unlimited broadband applications provided by TH Properties’ technology partner, Telekom Malaysia Bhd.

Education and property development, or education for property development? How many other education cities are in reality for-profit residential or industrial property development vehicles, first and foremost?

Other exclusions from, or obfuscations generated by the education/knowledge production metaphors include the fact that some of the so-called hotspots, especially in Saudi Arabia, have substantial security infrastructure to prevent attacks on faculty by Al Qaeda. Or exclusions related to the gendered or disciplinary structure of such knowledge spaces, for they are, and will inevitably be relatively masculine, and selective with respect to disciplinary offerings. But a more (perhaps!) accurate metaphor like Science and Engineering Dudes from the US Ivy League Hub just does not do it.

Or take the case of Qatar and Singapore, two ambitious global education hubs that proudly include highly ranked universities like MIT and Carnegie Mellon University, while (by accident or design) letting universities like Calgary and Queen Margaret fend for themselves in the producing their own global identities via their concurrent attachments to these two fast developing knowledge spaces. What forms of strategic selectivity are at work? Or in other terms, who is flying pre-paid business class to the Boston of the East, and the Boston of the Middle East?

Concluding comments

The globalization of higher education is continuing apace, and metaphors are being produced, projected, and consumed; they reflect, guide and construct our economic and higher ed imaginaries. And there is no sign we can do without them.

But if the “world needs a multitude of new metaphors leading us to a better future” though “metaphor, like life, is full of risks” (Miller, 2006: 65), are we happy with the existing metaphors that exist in relationship to these globalizing knowledge spaces? If metaphors have to work, perhaps we should also be doing more work on the metaphors too, for they are important dimensions of this fascinating development process.

References

Barnes, T. (1996) Logics of Dislocation: Models, Metaphors, and Meanings of Economic Space, New York: Guilford.

Cornelissen, J.P., Oswick, C., Christensen, L.T., Phillips, N. (2008 ) ‘Metaphors in organizational research: context, modalities, and implications for research – introduction’, Organization Studies, 29(7): 7-22.

Czarniawska-Joerges, B., and Joerges, B. (1988 ) ‘How to control things with words. On organizational talk and organizational control’, Management Communication Quarterly, 2(2): 170-193.

Kelly, P.F. (2001) ‘Metaphors of meltdown: political representations of economic space in the Asian financial crisis’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 19(6): 719-742.

Miller, D. (2006) ‘The politics of metaphor’, Theory, Culture and Society, 23(2-3): 63-65.

Smith, N and C.Katz (1993) ‘Grounding metaphor: towards a spatialized politics’, in M. Keith and S. Pile (eds.) Place and the Politics of Identity, London: Routledge.

Kris Olds and Susan Robertson

Trouble ahead? US Council of Graduate Schools survey reports overseas student applications slow to 3%

A US Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) survey out this week paints a potentially worrying picture for all countries dependent on income generated by transborder higher education, whether because of fees income, or as a result of the brain-power transnational students contribute to R&D in the host economy. As we know, many graduate students, particularly from India and China, have tended to stay on in their host country once completing their graduate studies, making an important contribution to the host country’s economic productivity. However, what happens if student numbers decline?

According to this 2008 CGS survey, the number of foreign students applying to American graduate schools increased by only 3 per cent from 2007 to 2008, following growth of 9 per cent last year and 12 per cent in 2006. This is despite considerable efforts over the past couple of years in reviewing the visa restrictions imposed after 9/11. This had not only discouraged potential applicants, but very lengthy processing times created a disincentive to potential applicants. Other efforts to turn around the decline in students coming to the US included more funding for international students and attention to recruitment. What, then, is going on? Is this evidence of trouble ahead? Let’s, first, look at the pattern reported in the CGS 2008 Survey.

While the US still has the lion’s share of the global graduate market (65% of graduate students studying abroad study in the US), the CGS report (see table below) shows that while there was strong growth – 12 per cent – in applications from both China and the Middle East, these have to be compared to gains of 19 per cent and 17 per cent last year, respectively. There was no growth in applications from India after a 12 per cent increase last year. China and India are the two countries that annually send the most graduate students to the US.

In terms of fields of study, applications to sciences and engineering – fields considered critical to maintaining US economic competitiveness – are experiencing sharply decelerating rates of growth.

With fewer international applicants in 2008 compared to 2003 to the US, and the total number of international applications down by 16 per cent since that year, policymakers and institutions directly affected must be wondering what more they need to do avoid major trouble ahead. Have current efforts been insufficient? Or, do these developments signal other currents that are not directly linked to the effects of 9/11?

In an interview published by the Financial Times on April 10th, 2008, Bill Russel, Dean of the Graduate School at Princeton University, observed:

…many of the nations that typically send a large number of students to US graduate schools – namely China, India, and countries in the Middle East – are rapidly building their own PhD programmes, and that career opportunities in those countries have also expanded. “There are a lot of different changes that are taking place,” he said. “It’s hard to say what the world is going to look like ten years down the road”

GlobalHigherEd has been tracking these developments in the Middle East, Asia and also Europe. As the idea of building knowledge-based economies becomes more and more embedded in government policies, as higher education institutions compete to become world class, as new models for constructing competitive higher education/industry linkages are explored, as the strategies to exploit or return the knowledge and skills of the diasporas are mobilized, and higher education becomes part of the global services market, old linkages will not be sufficient to retain a position as a preferred destination. Instead, governments and institutions will need to review their strategies and build infrastructures that enable them to monitor and advance their interests if they want to be part of the race.

Susan Robertson

First Latin American ad/venture for ‘for-profit’ globalising university, Apollo Global Inc.

Last week the recently launched Apollo Global Inc., a subsidiary of the Apollo Group and private equity firm The Carlyle Group (specializing in buyouts, venture and growth capital, leveraging finance around the globe), announced that it had agreed to acquire Universidad de Artes, Ciencas y Communication (UNIACC), an accredited, private arts and communications university in Chile, as well as it related entities.

This is the first ad/venture for Apollo Global Inc. since it was created in 2007 – to drive forward global investment in higher education in those countries are seen to have attractive demographics, good levels of economic growth and a regulatory environment that does not inhibit FDI in the education sector. The country region to be given to ‘thumbs up’ by Apollo Global Inc. is Chile.

According to Apollo Global Inc. Chairman, Greg Cappelli:

We have been working diligently to identify opportunities that will create value for Apollo shareholders, and we believe UNIACC, coupled with Chile’s table economic environment, strong student enrollment trends, and openness to foreign investment, is an excellent fit.

What makes Chile a particularly attractive country to invest in, according to Apollo Global Inc., is that growth in the private higher education sector outpaces that of the public sector. This view is shared by industry analysts (see, for example, the excellent Observatory for Higher Education’s report in 2007 on Latin America by Sylvie Didou Aupetit and Lisa Jokivirta), who argue that is the massive growth in student enrolments in higher education systems in Latin America that has promoted the surge in the number and diversification of foreign providers operating in the region since the early 1990s.

In the main, language has been regarded as the main barrier to widening out the range of players in the field, beyond those that reflected old colonial histories – Spain and Portugal. However, it is also evident that the strong commitment to the idea of education as a public good in many Latin American countries has created a less than welcoming environment for foreign investors – particularly for-profit firms.

However that said, the 2008 foreign education landscape in Latin America, and Apollo Global Inc. first venture into Chile suggests that there are significant changes taking place. A range of European universities (aside from Spain), including those from Germany (U of Heidelberg), Italy (U of Bologna), France, Belgium, Canada and the USA have all made major investments in the Latin American region.

On the for-profit front, Apollo Global’s first big investment takes it into a geo-economic and political sphere that has, so far, been dominated by Laureate Education Inc. (previously Sylvan Learning System). Laureate’s Latin American operations are located in Central and South America. It first entered the Latin American market when in 2000 it acquired both the Universidada de las Americas (UDLA) in Chile (established in 1988 ) and one of Mexico’s largest and more prestigious universities founded in 1960, the Universidad del Valle de Mexico (UVM). Since then Laureate has rapidly advanced its commercial interests in Latin America, acquiring not only more universities in Chile, but developing a presence in a range of other Latin American countries, including in Ecuador (2000), Costa Rica (2003), Peru (2004), and Panama (2004), Honduras (2005) and Brazil (2005).

So why should Apollo Global Inc. acquire UNIACC? For one thing, it is one of the leading arts and communications universities in Latin America. It was also, in 2004, the first Chilean university to teach a fully on-line undergraduate program. Since then, new on-line programs have been added.

The value for Apollo Global Inc. in buying up UNIACC, is to not only to secure the ‘local brand value’ of UNIACC (and hence keeping off the agenda for Apollo Global charges of imperialism and neo-colonialism), but also because UNIACCs recent capability to deliver on-line programs, potentially positions Apollo Global Inc. as a supplier of cross border services within the region.

Let’s see whether Apollo Global also learnt a lesson from one of its parent companies, who were recently charged with aggressive recruiting practices in the US.

Susan Robertson

Special survey on transatlantic joint and dual/double degree programs (1 May deadline)

The long history of transatlantic higher education relations has resulted in a myriad of impacts, including the formation of now iconic American institutions (e.g., Johns Hopkins University), core concepts underlying academic life (e.g., academic freedom), the protection of scholars at risk (e.g., the University in Exile), the rapid growth of universities in the 1960s and 1970s as European professors filled the posts needed to support a burgeoning student population, and the research capacity today of both Canada and the US (something the EU is seeking to track via their ERA-Link program).

The transatlantic relationship has evolved, of course, and now includes a growing number of joint and dual/double degree programs. This said virtually no one has a broad understanding of the nature nor impact of these programs.

Given this lacunae of knowledge, and given the significant interest demonstrated in our series regarding international double and joint degrees:

we are happy to support the Freie Universität Berlin (via their Transatlantic Degree Programs Project (TDP), and the Institute of International Education (IIE), as they coordinate a special survey on transatlantic joint and dual/double degree programs.

fublogo2.jpgiielogo.jpg

The survey is available here, and the responses are due by May 1. Please consider filling the survey out if you have established or manage such degrees.

As the survey organizers put it:

The overall goal of the survey is to assess the current landscape of transatlantic degree programs, identify inherent challenges and opportunities of expanding existing or developing new programs, and to solicit best practices. So far, there is only limited information available on the number and types of transatlantic programs, the higher education institutions involved in developing these programs, and the disciplines in which such programs have been established. This survey aims to fill that gap and create an inventory of existing models and examples of transatlantic curriculum cooperation.

By collecting this information, we hope to provide valuable information for higher education professionals and policymakers on the current transatlantic degree programs landscape, including an analysis of the challenges and barriers to developing them and recommendations and guidelines for universities on both sides of the Atlantic to implement successful programs.

The survey results will be used to create an International Degree Programs Manual. Codification and guidance (via manuals) brings with it pros and cons, but we can all benefit from enhancing our understanding on this emerging phenomenon, especially given the incredible amount of energy required to bring these degrees to life.

Kris Olds & Susan Robertson

The National Academies’ International Visitors Office: strategic communications while institutionalizing mobility

nalogo.jpgThe National Academies is a US-based institution that is made up of representatives from the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. This institution was created by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 and has evolved into a key stakeholder in debates about the globalization of higher education, especially with respect to science and technological matters. The activities of the Policy and Global Affairs Division should be of particular interest to GlobalHigherEd readers. Approximately 1,100 staff work at the National Academies’ offices in Washington DC.

ivo-bisologo.jpgThe National Academies’ Board on International Scientific Organizations has just released a podcast that explains what role their International Visitors Office plays in facilitating the movement of scientists and foreign students to the United States in the “fundamentally” transformed post-9/11 era.

The office, which was set up in 2003, seeks to facilitate human mobility but in a manner that is less problematic when the “national security interests” of the US can sometimes “alienate” the “skilled migrants” who play a critically important role in meeting the science and technology needs of the US. Thus the initiative also has diplomatic (aka strategic communications) objectives associated with it. The podcast is approximately five minutes long.

Kris Olds

‘Malaysia Education’: strategic branding leads to growth in international student numbers 2006-8?

Several months back in our round-up of the global higher education student mobility market, we reported that Malaysia might be viewed as an emerging contender with 2% of the world market in 2006 (this was using the Observatory for Borderless Higher Education figures which reports only on the higher education sector).

Last week, Malaysia’s leading newspaper The Star reported that figures had increased between 2006 and 2008 by 30%, bringing the overall numbers of international students in Malaysian international schools and higher education institutions to 65,000. According to the following calculations by industry analyst (see pamjitsingh.ppt) the Malaysian government is well on target to realise its 2010 goal of 100,000 international students.

Taking into account the forecast in world demand by 2010, the Malaysian government estimates that their market share would need to grow from its current world share of international students (schools and higher education) of 3.9% in 2004 to 6.6% in 2010. In comparison to the global average annual growth rate of international students which is around 7.4% p.a, the Malaysian target growth rate would need to be in the order of 24.0% per annum to achieve the 2010 target.

In order to realize this goal, a new Higher Education Ministry Marketing and International Education Division was created.

    dr-nasser.jpg

    Dr Mohamed Nasser Mohamed Noor took on the post of Division Director in January 2006. According to Dr. Nasser, the success of this rapid increase can be attributed to Malaysia’s ‘branding’ of its education sector – ‘Malaysia Education’. It would seem that Malaysia is not far off course to realize their 2010 target if they maintain their current progress of 30% increase over two years (2006-2008).

    Branding has emerged as an important strategy for governments seeking to strategically develop their higher education markets. Nick Lewis’s entry on Brand New Zealand carried on GlobalHigherEd late last year illustrates how cultural re/sources, such as ‘clean’, ‘safe’, ‘green’ New Zealand, are being drawn upon to realise value and to reposition New Zealand in a highly competitive market.

    Similarly Europe (see this report destination-europe.pdf) has been casting around for an identifiable ‘brand’ to market itself as a significant player with an identifiable ‘product’ in the global higher education market. This means finding a combination of distinctive elements that enable the country or region to position themselves in relation to the competition.

    The ‘Malaysian Education’ brand draws on deep cultural, religious and political resonances to promote its product – one that emphasizes lifestyle, culture and quality of education. This includes the value to be gained from its unique multicultural population of Malay, Indian and Chinese; its Islamic religion; and its experience of colonialism. Despite the contradictions inherent in this new form of neo-colonialism, these cultural values and symbols are being (effectively?) mobilized to open up the African, Arab, Chinese and Indonesian markets.

    Malaysia’s story demonstrates the high level of fluidity in globalising the higher education market. It requires players to be highly competitive, constantly utilize intelligence, be attentive to strategies as to how to open new markets, and have a way of representing the sector as an attractive and unique brand.

    Will Malaysia leave behind its ’emerging contender’ crown and don the mantle of a major player in the region? Much depends clearly on what the other players in the region do – Singapore, China and Australia. Let’s see what 2010 reveals.

    Susan Robertson

    Engaging globally through joint and dual degrees: the graduate experience

    carlin.jpgEditor’s note: this guest entry has been kindly produced by Diana B. Carlin, Dean-in-Residence and Director of International Outreach, Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and former Dean of the Graduate School and International Programs, University of Kansas from 2000-2007. At Kansas she oversaw over 100 graduate programs on three campuses and the Offices of International Programs, Study Abroad, Applied English, and International Student and Scholar Services. During her tenure, Kansas developed joint and dual graduate degrees in France and Korea. She reported on trends in joint/dual degree development at an international conference (the “Strategic Leaders Global Summit on Graduate Education“) co-hosted by CGS and the Province of Alberta, Canada in August 2007.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Other postings on GlobalHigherEd (see ‘Engaging globally through joint and double degree programmes: a view from Singapore’ and ‘Engaging globally through dual degree programs: SUNY in Turkey’) have presented model joint/dual degree programs at the undergraduate level. Such degrees are gaining in popularity for graduate students as well (as are joint/dual graduate-level certificate programs). In fact, collaborative degrees have become one of the most popular session topics at meetings of the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and other gatherings of graduate education leaders. Graduate school deans are discovering increased interest among faculty and administrators to both expand their institution’s international opportunities for domestic graduate students and attract international students through collaborative degrees. Additionally, as international research collaborations become more common, future faculty and non-faculty researchers can begin developing overseas connections. Students from all participating institutions also benefit from exposure to world-class facilities and faculty.

    The federal government has also been encouraging development of collaborative degrees. Funding agencies’ grant programs such as NSF’s IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) and PIRE (Partnerships for International Research and Education), and Atlantis/FIPSE (a joint European-US program) in the Department of Education.

    While graduate joint/dual degree programs share many of the same advantages and structures, and must consider many of the same steps in development, as undergraduate degree programs, there are also some unique issues that require consideration and collaboration among graduate programs, the graduate school, and international offices.

    cgscover.jpgBefore considering the specific issues related to graduate-level dual and joint degree programs, readers might first be interested in knowing the extent to which current international collaborations exist and what the prospects are for future growth.

    A CGS survey of graduate deans last summer found that 29% of the responding institutions had some type of collaborative degree or certificate arrangement with an international university. Respondents represented a high percentage of the U.S. universities that have the largest international student enrollment: nine of the ten institutions with the highest international enrollments responded, as did 84% of the largest 25. Nearly 56% of both the largest ten and the largest 50 institutions had at least one degree program, compared with only 22% of the institutions below the top 50. The top 50 institutions enroll approximately 41% of all international students. Thus, the results provide a relatively accurate trend among universities with high levels of international engagement.

    cgstable5.jpgEuropean and Chinese universities headed the list of partners for master’s degree programs, with 39% and 24% of the collaborations respectively, while doctoral programs were primarily in Europe. Business degrees constituted the most popular field for master’s degrees with 44% of respondents reporting such collaborations; engineering was next with 35% of respondents. At the doctoral level engineering and physical science degrees were reported by 13% of the respondents. [The remaining responses can be found in the survey of graduate deans report.]

    And it is clear that international collaborative degree programs are growing: when asked if the institutions had plans for new joint/dual degrees within the next two years, 24% answered affirmatively overall, and the percentages were even higher among the largest schools.

    Now onto the unique issues alluded to above. The growing popularity of, and planned increases in, joint/dual degrees belies a set of concerns that faculty, graduate deans, and other administrators have. It is agreed that students, especially in business, engineering, and the sciences, will conduct their life’s work on a global stage and need preparation to do so. But it is also recognized that a program’s quality assurance and plans for long-term sustainability have to be considered during the initial planning stages.

    Accreditation issues, especially for some professional degrees, become a factor as well (undergraduate programs in professional schools share some of these concerns). Collaborative program administrators have to learn how “memoranda of understanding” are prepared and how exchange agreements are structured. International offices have to become familiar with the aspects of a new graduate degree and its approval might differ from the institution’s practices for undergraduate programs.

    The remainder of this posting presents some of the lessons learned by members of the graduate community who have worked through establishing joint and dual degrees.

    The consensus of most graduate deans is that the best programs are those established with partner institutions that have existing relationships with the U.S. university or are familiar through long-term research collaborations among a group of faculty. Most agree that it is unwise to develop a degree program around the research interests of a single faculty member. In addition to regular program reviews, graduate degree collaborations would benefit from a review after two or three years and that the programs should have some type of “sunset” clause that the program is to be terminated if it does not produce the desired level of collaboration.

    From my experience as a dean and from that of others, it is important to remember that no matter how long it takes to develop a program and how well it is conceived, there will always be issues that were overlooked and require negotiation or renegotiation. Something as simple as semester start and end dates can create problems, not to mention more difficult issues related to research projects and joint supervision of a thesis or dissertation. U.S. deans have discovered that it often takes scholarship funding to kick off a new program and to get the first cohort interested. They have also found that they often need to highlight successful existing programs to stakeholders in the approval process in order to allay concerns that could end a prospective alliance. Graduate degree programs often require a year just to work through various levels of approval; thus, program proponents need to be prepared to not promise anything until all of the agreements or memoranda of understanding are completed and signed.

    Through sharing experiences at conferences, on list serves, and on blogs such as this, universities initiating their first collaborative graduate degree program can reduce the number of problems by knowing what to expect at the outset. The need for graduates who have collaborated with international partners or have spent some part of their careers outside the United States—regardless of what that career is—will only grow. As a result, study abroad is likely to grow at the graduate level and produce long-term relationships that will benefit students, the institutions, as well as society worldwide.

    Diana Carlin

    Overseas campuses: American views and photographs

    cmumap.jpgThe Sunday New York Times published a general overview (‘Universities rush to set up outposts abroad’) today regarding the phenomenon of overseas campuses. This article (the first of a series this week – see the bottom of this entry for links to all of the articles when they have been published) focuses on US campuses in the Middle East, especially universities that have ‘home’ bases in New York (it is the New York Times after all!), Pittsburgh and Washington DC, though reference is made to developments in other parts of the world. An explicit US-centric view is developed in the article.

    The article is particularly worth perusing for the accompanying slideshow of campuses including Carnegie Mellon in Qatar, New York Institute of Technology Abu Dhabi, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar, and George Mason University – Ras Al Khaimah Campus, as well as the teaching rooms of the University of Washington’s certificate programs in Abu Dhabi.

    klec.jpgThis story, on top of news last week that Royal Holloway, University of London, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kuala Lumpur Education City (KLEC) to establish the University of London’s first overseas campus by 2011, is a reminder that venturing abroad is an internationalization option more and more universities are deliberating about.

    With opportunity comes confusion, this said. Some universities are simply overwhelmed with options, as the University of Washington (in Seattle) outlined in the article:

    The demand from overseas is huge. At the University of Washington, the administrator in charge of overseas programs said she received about a proposal a week. “It’s almost like spam,” said the official, Susan Jeffords, whose position as vice provost for global affairs was created just two years ago.

    And yet the article implies, as does the American Council on Education’s report Venturing Abroad: Delivering US Degrees Through Overseas Campuses and Programs (2007), that the opportunity/risk/implication calculus is only in the early stages of a sophisticated conceptualisation. Indeed our own research leads us to believe that the calculus is remarkably unsystematic with universities incrementally ad-hocing it through the deliberative process. Little systematic information is available regarding how to plan the planning process, optional models for overseas campuses, legal innovations (e.g., regarding the protection of academic freedom), best and worse cases, and so on.

    Some universities have also not recognized the importance of closely relating core principles and objectives to the idea of accepting or rejecting an overture to open an overseas campus. Interestingly, one university that has is the University of Pennsylvania, and their stance on overseas campuses is an unequivocal no. In the New York Times article Amy Gutmann, president of Penn, is quoted as saying “the downside is lower than the upside is high” especially because the:

    risk is that we couldn’t deliver the same quality education that we do here, and that it would mean diluting our faculty strength at home.

    New York University (NYU), also the focus of some attention in the article, is clear that their network university model simply requires campuses in other countries; an issue we discussed in some detail in our entry on NYU Abu Dhabi.

    Interestingly, both NYU and Penn are active in Singapore. NYU has developed one independent arts school (the Tisch School of the Arts Asia), while Penn is present via intellectual engagement (and some associated secondment activities) with key Singapore-based actors shaping the development of a new university (Singapore Management University) . Thus Penn’s clear principle is to deeply internationalize (including by bringing Penn’s intellectual power to the development of new campuses in countries like India and Singapore), but in a manner than strengthens their one and only campus while concurrently reducing financial and brand name risk.

    The outcomes that we read about in such articles, and that we see in such photographs, are dependent upon a suitable mesh between the principles guiding universities as they seek to internationalize, and the territorially-specific development objectives of host governments. One of these territorial objectives is capacity building, an issue we will explore in some detail over the next several months. Now back to those Sunday papers…

    Kris Olds

    ~~~~~~

    11 February Update:

    Charles Thorpe, dean of Carnegie Mellon in Qatar responded to a selection of 57 questions submitted by New York Times readers at this site. His responses were posted here.

    The second article in the series (‘In Oil-Rich Mideast, Shades of the Ivy League’) was published in the New York Times. This article focuses on the student experience in overseas campuses in the Middle East. Readers of the article have been submitting questions here.

    The globally engaged institution: insights via the American Council on Education

    Editor’s note: GlobalHigherEd has been inviting select universities (e.g., the University of Warwick), associations, and agencies to profile how they are attempting to understand, navigate through, and therefore help construct, the emerging global higher education landscape. We have also focused our own eyes on institutional strategy from time to time (e.g., see Lily Kong’s very popular entry on international consortia). Today’s guest entry has been kindly developed by Jill Wisniewski, Program Associate, Center for International Initiatives, American Council on Education (ACE). The entry profiles ACE’s Leadership Network on International Education, an annual forum for chief academic officers and presidents to discuss issues and trends in international higher education. The Leadership Network is hosted by the Center for International Initiatives at ACE and is open to all ACE members.
    ~~~~~~~~

    aceii.jpgHow do institutional leaders navigate the increasingly complex world of global partnerships, joint degrees, and branch campuses? During the 2007 annual meeting of the Leadership Network on International Education, more than 130 institution presidents and provosts discussed the intricacies of partnering with institutions and organizations around the globe. The expanding international opportunities open to institutions require leaders to make sound decisions about how to have a global presence, whether or not to partner, and with whom; how to develop a strategy to pursue global connectivity; and how to ensure quality and assess potential benefits and risks. The meeting focused on the strategic decisions institutional leaders must make in developing a strategy for global engagement.

    In a session on U.S. campuses and degree programs delivered abroad, panelists described their experiences and lessons learned in providing a U.S. education for students in their home countries. The remarks of John A. Elliott, dean of the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, The City University of New York; Jim Baker, vice president for research and economic development, Missouri State University; and Mark Kamlet, provost, Carnegie Mellon University (PA), illustrated that while some issues are country-specific, there are common strategic concerns. Among them are questions of alignment with mission, financial and reputation risk, and the cultural and legal intricacies of working in another country.

    There was consensus among panelists that presidents and provosts must seriously consider the institution’s strategic mission before making a commitment to engage in the development of a branch campus or degree program abroad. The question, “why are we engaging in this partnership?” should be among the first asked by institutional leaders. Institutional leaders may answer the “why” question differently, but motivations that were repeated include the education of globally competent students, benefits to the sending institution and the host country, and enhancing mobility of students, faculty, and staff. Panelists stressed that branch campus agreements should not be entered into for perceived financial or reputational benefit, but rather that an institution should have a strategic mission grounded in the value added to students and society.

    The speakers also described the challenges of providing degree programs abroad. The legal issues alone can create major hurdles. Balancing foreign government regulations with the demands of US laws can be challenging in unforeseen ways. Difficult questions include: What are the tax implications of working in a foreign country? Is there a financial framework in place to process tuition and other payments on the home campus? What are the capacities of US institutions to implement US regulations (such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements) in a foreign country? These legal complexities arise within the context of foreign cultural practices, and seemingly simple decisions and transactions can produce unanticipated consequences. The panelists suggested that institutional leaders need to decide which policies and practices are non-negotiable, and be able to think creatively to arrive at mutually acceptable solutions.

    Other issues that were discussed include quality assurance concerns, faculty participation, and board and administration support. All of the panelists agreed that in order to maintain quality control over programs, the institution must retain control over the curriculum. Indeed, many partnership arrangements have the actual curriculum spelled out and included in the agreements or Memorandum of Understandings (MOU’s) with partner organizations. Panelists also shared best practices in increasing faculty involvement. Some suggestions included:

    • Have faculty spend time on the home campus to maintain ties between the home and branch campus
    • Have research facilities abroad and incentives to conduct research there
    • Make the location and amenities appealing for faculty: provide “high end” living and cultural experiences
    • Build international experience into promotion and tenure guidelines.

    One panelist described the extensive discussions with the board surrounding the decision to authorize the establishment of a branch campus. The board was quite skeptical and asked for detailed information and plans. Among the suggestions for garnering and maintaining board support were:

    • Help the board feel invested in the campus by describing in detail the potential benefits for students, faculty and staff
    • If possible, invite Board members to do a site visit to the branch campus location.

    This day-long meeting only scratched the surface in describing the benefits, problems, pitfalls, and lessons learned in international engagement. The continuation of annual forums such as the Leadership Network can help advance the field in supplying information and best practices to institutional leaders looking to expand global partnerships.

    Jill Wisniewski, Program Associate, Center for International Initiatives, American Council on Education. For more information on the Leadership Network, please contact <jill_wisniewski@ace.nche.edu>.

    Benchmarking ‘the international student experience’

    GlobalHigherEd has carried quite a few entries on benchmarking practices in the higher education sector over the past few month – the ‘world class’ university, the OECD innovation scoreboards, the World Bank’s Knowledge Assessment Methodology, Programme of International Student Assessment, and so on.

    University World News this week have just reported on an interesting new development in international benchmarking practices – at least for the UK – suggesting, too, that the benchmarking machinery/industry is itself big business and likely to grow.

    According to the University World News, the International Graduate Insight Group (or i-graduate) last week unveiled a study in the UK to:

    …compare the expectations and actual experiences of both British and foreign students at all levels of higher education across the country. The Welsh Student Barometer will gather the opinions of up to 60,000 students across 10 Welsh universities and colleges. i-graduate will benchmark the results of the survey so that each university can see how its ability to match student expectations with other groupings of institutions, not only in Wales but also the rest of the world.

    i-graduate markets itself as:

    an independent benchmarking and research service, delivering comparative insights for the education sector worldwide: your finger on the pulse of student and stakeholder opinion.

    We deliver an advanced range of dedicated market research and consultancy services for the education sector. The i-graduate network brings international insight, risk assessment and reassurance across strategy and planning, recruitment, delivery and relationship management.

    i-graduate.jpg i-graduate have clearly been busy amassing information on ‘the international student experience’. It has collected responses from more than 100,000 students from over 90 countries by its International Student Barometer (ISB)- which they describe as the first truly global benchmark of the student experience. This information is packaged up (for a price) in multiple ways for different audiences, including leading UK universities. According to -i-graduate, the ISB is:

    a risk management tool, enabling you to track expectations against the experiences of international students. The ISB isolates the key drivers of international student satisfaction and establishes the relative importance of each – as seen through the eyes of your students. The insight will tell you how expectations and experience affect their loyalty, their likelihood to endorse and the extent to which they would actively encourage or deter others.

    Indexes like this, either providing information about one’s location in the hierarchy or as strategic information on brand loyalty, acts as a kind of disciplining and directing practice.

    Those firms producing these indexes and barometers, like i-graduate, are also in reality packaging particular kinds of ‘knowledge’ about the sector and selling in the sector. In a recent seminar ESRC-funded seminar series on Changing Cultures of Competitiveness, Dr. Ngai-Ling Sum described these firms as brokering a ‘knowledge brand’ – a trade-marked, for a price, bundle of strategies/tools and insights intended to alter an individual’s, institution’s or nation’s practices, in turn leading to greater competitiveness – a phenomenon she tags to practices that are involved in producing the Knowledge-Based Economy (KBE).

    It will be interesting to look more closely at, and report in a future blog on, what the barometer is measuring. For it is the specific socio-economic and political content of these indexes and barometers, as well as the disciplining and directing practices involved, which are important for understanding the direction of global higher education.

    Susan Robertson

    Nearly 20% of UK higher education degrees (2006/07) go to non-UK students

    The UK, the world’s second largest provider of higher education services for foreign students (see context graphic below from the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2007), has just released new data up to the 2006/2007 academic year. Some key enrolment and graduation points, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA):

    • The total number of HE enrolments at UK HEIs stood at 2,362,815 in 2006/07, an increase of 1% from 2005/06.
    • Between 2005/06 and 2006/07, the number of enrolments of UK domiciled students showed no percentage increase (from 2,006,035 to 2,011,345). The number of all other European Union (EU) domiciled students increased by 6% (from 106,225 to 112,260) and the number of Non-EU domiciled students increased by 7% (from 223,855 to 239,210).
    • 50,385 undergraduate and 75,205 postgraduate students obtaining HE qualifications in 2006/07 came from non-UK countries.
    • Non-UK students accounted for 19% of all students awarded HE qualifications in 2006/07.

    The Guardian reports that the UK Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, Bill Rammell, views the increasing dependency of UK universities upon foreign students in a positive way, such that the:

    UK remains an extremely popular destination for international students. Our higher education system is world class, and offers very high quality provision. In the recent student satisfaction survey over 80% of international students were satisfied.

    Universities UK conveyed a view that these trends “demonstrated the UK to be one of the leading international destinations for students looking for a quality higher education experience”.

    ukoecd.jpg

    Dependency and risk? Expansion of the education services sector and generation of export earnings? Supplement to state-provided resources and diversification of institutional revenue streams? Supplement (aka gap filler) to stalled flows of students (due to “top-up fees”) from the UK? Builder of non-UK capacity via the provision of a ‘quality’ education to non-UK students? Brain drain/brain gain/brain circulation mechanism? All of the above to varying degrees depending on what interpretive perspective is adopted. Regardless, though, the UK is continuing to act as one of the world’s most influential and significant providers of higher education services to non-UK EU students, and to non-EU students, who have the capacity to cross borders in the goal of enhancing their qualifications and experiencing life in another country. The UK is also, curiously, an awkwardly placed ‘player’ in conceptual and policy-making debates about the emerging European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the stated goal to make the EHEA a key driver of Europe’s knowledge economy in accordance with the Lisbon Stategy, and the emerging goal of forging an ‘external dimension‘ to the EHEA. More about the latter issue this Spring in GlobalHigherEd.
    Kris Olds

    Foreign engagements/Indian Government honours Nehru in Cambridge

    In 2008 GlobalHigherEd will be developing a series of entries regarding the establishment of overseas campuses, centres, and other relatively deep forms of presence in foreign territories, with an eye to the emerging models that are coming into being, and the implications they generate for global public affairs. These models include:

    nusoc.jpg

    This focus links back to our interest in the construction of new forms of knowledge/spaces in a globalizing era; many of which perforate the ‘national’ in fascinating ways. Some of these entries will be lengthy and analytical, and some will be short and descriptive. By the end of 2008 we hope that the aggregate effect is the creation of a global mapping of this phenomenon; one that is raising a whole series of opportunities and challenges for host governments, universities, disciplines/fields, students, quality assurance systems, and so on.

    jbslogo.jpgIt is thus noteworthy that the Judge Business School at Cambridge University, under the leadership of Arnoud De Meyer (whom I briefly spoke about in the NYU Abu Dhabi entry) announced, on 3 January, that the Indian Government has donated £3.2 million “to celebrate the centenary of Pandit Nehru’s arrival at Trinity College Cambridge, where he studied for a degree in Natural Sciences”. These monies will fund an endowed professorship who will help lead the Cambridge Centre for Indian Business, which has partially been funded by the BP Group. As Dr. Ashok Jhawar, Country Head, BP India, put it:

    BP was founded right around the time that Jawaharlal Nehru was studying in Cambridge. What could be more appropriate, one hundred years on, than for BP to support an important new subject of scholarship, the Indian economic and business models, at one of the world’s leading centres of learning. We are pleased to be supporting this great initiative in partnership with the Indian Government, and we look forward to formally launching the new Centre later this year.

    The Judge School of Business notes that:

    The Cambridge Centre for Indian Business will support the work of the Jawaharlal Nehru Professorship of Indian Business & Enterprise and would initially focus on contemporary research themes relating to today’s business environment. Themes to be covered in the first three years include technology innovation, emerging global economies, the relationship between economic development and knowledge economy and entrepreneurship. BP’s support of the Centre includes funding for the ‘BP India PhD Scholarship’ for an outstanding graduate student from India to work under the supervision of the newly- appointed Nehru Professor on a research topic agreed with the donor, as well as support for operational costs.

    This model – a foreign government-funded professorship – is the most targeted of options for establishing a presence of sorts in a foreign territory, making a symbolic statement, and building capacity. From the funder’s perspective the strategy here involves using and honouring an iconic national figure to enhance particular forms of knowledge about India, but via a globally recognized centre of educational excellence in a foreign territory; a context relatively free of the constraints such a professorship (and centre) would face in the challenging circumstances associated with the Indian higher education system. Apart from the leveraging on Cambridge/Judge element, this is also a relatively simple model to create and regulate. It also effectively denationalizes and diversifies higher education funding streams, providing the Judge Business School (and Cambridge) with greater autonomy from the UK state.

    Small scale? Yes and no. High impact? We’ll have to see who they hire, and what they do…

    Kris Olds