Saturday, October 24, 2009

Links: Foreign Universities Edition

Some links:

  1. This page has what appears to be a comprehensive list of foreign campuses of US universities (until 2008).

  2. This story is a good warning. Top universities will want 'incentives' to come to India.

    When John Sexton, the president of New York University, first met Omar Saif Ghobash, an investor trying to entice him to open a branch campus in the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Sexton was not sure what to make of the proposal — so he asked for a $50 million gift.

    It’s like earnest money: if you’re a $50 million donor, I’ll take you seriously,” Mr. Sexton said. “It’s a way to test their bona fides.” In the end, the money materialized from the government of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates.

  3. Inside Higher Ed: International Campuses on the Rise:

    The number of international branch campuses has grown to 162, up 43 percent in just three years, according to a study released Wednesday by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, a British research institute that has been among the leaders in documenting the spread of this form of higher education.

    Branch campuses are defined as institutions that have the name of and are run by a foreign institution, and that award full degrees from that institution -- so these figures do not include centers that are run for study abroad experiences for those from the home campus.

    The international branch campus, the report says, is a relatively recent phenomenon: Only 35 of the campuses in the study existed prior to 1999. Branch campuses vary widely and involve leading universities. But they also have been controversial, with faculty groups warning that branch campuses may not always reflect the academic standards or missions of home universities. (And there are plenty of fans of branch campuses who agree that some are shoddy, and plenty of skeptics who agree that some are outstanding.)

  4. The story of George Mason's UAE campus in Ras Al Khaimah is sobering.

    After three years developing a full degree-granting campus in the United Arab Emirates, the university is pulling out without producing a single graduate. Plagued by slow enrollment growth, funding problems and disagreements with the Emirates government organization that bankrolled the project, the model is no longer viable, Stearns said Thursday.

    This VoA story suggests "disagreements over operating budget and academic control" as the reasons for GMU's exit.

    Also, something similar happened to the Singapore campus of the University of New South Wales.

  5. Russel C. Jones: Exporting American Higher Education. This article provides a nice summary of the kinds of issues that one needs to think about.

    Any development of American-style education in a foreign country runs the risk of educating students in a way or at a level that creates an elite class that is not well connected to the local culture and needs. And if too much adaptation to local conditions is made, does the education retain the fundamental elements which make it an American education?

    As noted above, staffing foreign programs with faculty members from the home US campus is often a problem, particularly after startup. One solution to this problem is to have new faculty members who are hired to work in foreign programs spend a significant period of time on the home campus, involved in the courses that they will later teach abroad and working with home campus faculty members on research.

    Home campuses in the US can be positively affected as faculty members have the opportunity to gain international experience. In the current economic climate, assignment or transfer of faculty members to foreign campuses can relieve home campus budgets, and perhaps avoid layoffs.

    Developing necessary enrollments to justify the offering of foreign programs, and provide sufficient income to maintain them, is a major issue. In many developing countries, the majority of secondary school leavers are poorly prepared to handle American-style university level programs. Lack of adequate preparation in math and science is typical, and the ability to study advanced material in English is often lacking.

  6. Here's a refreshingly blunt article ("universities are in it for the money. These campuses take in foreign students to help fund their operations back home") that also articulates philosophical / political reasons for opposing American campuses abroad (Jones, too, touches on this issue):

    It is the belief of many that it should not be the role of the American military to police the world. Nor should it be the role of American universities to educate the world. Education and curricula are highly political and culturally loaded. This foreign intrusion suggests that American education is somehow superior to what is, or could be, offered in other countries. This arrangement also allows governments off the hook for maintaining or creating a domestic and public post-secondary education system. What’s more, it opens the door to cultural domination from a foreign power. Hardly a noble exercise in geopolitical welfare.


  1. Anonymous said...

    I think it is fundamentally easier and useful to both sides for American univs to open its shops in S&T/educationally underdeveloped countries like Africa or Middle east. But other places and in nationa it competes with like China or India it will leans more towards what benefits American interests in terrms of foreign policy, investments, developing contacts and networking. Think of it as tools of soft-power diplomacy.

  2. Patrix said...

    "comprehensive list of foreign campuses of US universities (until 2008)"

    Misses Texas A&M's Qatar campus

  3. Anonymous said...

    Here is an interesting interview with former MIT/NAE president that indicates that the American ed. policy makers are keen to "study" more about their future competitors who are on a learning curve in terms of producing quality graduates and leaving the Americans behind in the race. This will be the reason why the American univs want to enter Asian market.