In International-Student Recruitment, Questions About Integrity Persist

The agent debate is dead. Long live the integrity debate.

For some time now, the discussion about whether American colleges could use commission-based agents when recruiting students abroad has been the hottest of hot-button issues in international admissions, with each camp staking out fiercely partisan positions.

It all came to a head with the recommendation of a commission organized by the National Association for College Admission Counseling—which represents some 13,000 college admissions of…


Can Overseas Branch Campuses Reflect Local Values?

Makerere University in Uganda was once an external college of the University of London.  Here is the main administration building.

Uganda’s Makerere U., once an external college of the U. of London.

We have been thinking a lot recently about the impact on local cultures of importing foreign higher education. How are outside providers different from indigenous institutions? How do branch campuses gain legitimacy and become embedded within the host country’s system of education? What does it mean when a campus established by a foreign university says it is a local institution?

More than 60 countries are home to some 201 inter…


Academic Freedom Overseas: Hopes and Obstacles

The following is by Robert Epstein, a former editor in chief of Psychology Today and author of 15 books on psychology.

Early in 2013, I was appointed the first full professor of psychology at the University of the South Pacific, which serves more than 25,000 students throughout the 12 island nations in this vast and often breathtakingly beautiful part of the world. It was a late-career adventure for me and my wife. Full professorships are rare here, and my appo…


A Syrian Student’s Fragile Hope for Higher Education

The following is by Xanthe Ackerman, a senior fellow at the Syria Research and Evaluation Organization.

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Mohiaddin Binanah, the interim minister of education for the Syrian opposition movement, examines a Syrian high-school student’s graduation test. Photo by Xanthe Ackerman.

On a recent Tuesday morning, Muhammad Adib woke up early, ate breakfast, and walked the bombed-out streets of rebel-controlled Aleppo in Syria to a testing center for male high-school students.


Reflections From a Global Provost

The following is by Peter N. Stearns, provost of George Mason University. Mr. Stearns plans to retire this summer after more than 14 years in the role.

One of the reasons I wanted to become the provost of George Mason was the opportunity to help shape a more global university. Of course, given Mason’s Northern Virginia location near the nation’s capital and faculty talent, a good bit was going on already, but as an institution we had the chance to accelerate …


A Failure to Capitalize on Globalization

The following is by Harvey Charles,  president of the Association of International Education Administrators and vice provost for international initiatives at Northern Arizona University, and Darla K. Deardorff, executive director of the association.

Globus_im_GeographieunterrichtGlobalization is one of the most dominant forces facing higher education in the 21st century. Many colleges have responded to it with plans to internationalize their campuses and academic programs.

Yet all too often, …


Mexico Gets Serious About R&D

After years of paying lip service to the importance of science and technology, Mexico is finally committing itself financially to the priority. And universities in the United States should take note.

President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office in December 2012, has vowed to raise spending on research and development to 1 percent of gross domestic product by 2018, up from the current 0.48 percent. That level would bring Mexico’s economy in line with those of similar size, like Brazil’s.



Down Under or Upside Down? Higher-Education Reforms in Australia

The following is by Jamie Miller, an incoming postdoctoral fellow at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University and a graduate of the University of Sydney.

It’s not news that higher education in the United States is in crisis. Student fees are out of control. Enrollment growth is slowing. Executive pay is skyrocketing. Faculty hiring and job security are plummeting. Nothing is working the way it is supposed to. Looking closely a…


Even in the U.S., Chinese Students May Have Tiananmen ‘Amnesia’


An unknown Chinese man temporarily stops a column of tanks on June 5, 1989, in Beijing. Photo from Wikipedia by Jeff Widener for the Associated Press.

One day, not long ago, I was hanging out with a Chinese college student I’d come to know well. We were talking about the usual things—American parties, bad cafeteria food, an assignment he had due, an essay for his freshman composition class on Martin Luther King Jr.—when he abruptly changed the subject.

Had I heard, he wanted to know, about June …


A Global Push to Reduce Dropout Rates

Britain has one of the lowest dropout rates of any country in the world, according to a recent study by Sylke V. Schnepf, a researcher at the University of Southhampton. Her work showed that 16 percent of British students prematurely leave their courses at universities, colleges, and vocational institutions.

Her study examined mostly European nations and did not include the United States. While not an apples-to-apples comparison, 46 percent of those who enter an American college fail to graduat…