All posts by Jason Lane and Kevin Kinser


China Plans to Build the Biggest Branch Campus in the World, but Will It Succeed?

The Chinese government announced recently that it will allow Xiamen University to establish a branch campus in Malaysia.  Although this is not the first international branch campus of a Chinese university (Soochow University is in Laos), it does represent a significant move by a major Chinese research university. Though details are not public, what has been reported so far reveal ambitious expectations for enrollment that frankly seem unlikely to be realized.

First, some context is needed on Chi…


BMWs, Beer, and Education: Why Germany Makes University Know-How a Key Export

Like Germany’s auto industry, German higher education is keen to export its models.

Governments have long used higher education as a means for building relationships with foreign nations. The U.S. Agency for International Development and the Fulbright program have promoted American higher education abroad. Under the Colombo Plan of the 1950s, Australia started supporting academic exchanges and higher-education development across Asia. The British Council was developed in part as a means for faci…


Looking Ahead: 5 International Trends for 2013

In honor of the New Year, we wanted to put forward five trends that we think will affect international branch campuses in 2013. As is always the case with predictions, we run the risk of being completely wrong. A year from now we will revisit this list to see how we did. In the meantime, feel free to add your own predictions—and critiques—in the comments. And we wish everyone a very happy 2013!

Greater push-back from home campuses. By and large, the development of overseas campuses has been led …


Who Should Make Sure Overseas Education Programs Are Worth Their Salt?

Making sure that cross-border higher-education efforts offer quality programs can be a conundrum. The problem is that quality assurance remains centered in nations and defined by political borders. There is no shortage of organizations and proposals to remedy this problem, as we were reminded by the recent announcement of a new International Quality Group sponsored by the U.S.-based Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

But even in Europe, which because of the Bologna Process has been deal…


The International Implications of Domestic Branch Campuses

To regular readers of this blog, it will come as no surprise that public colleges and universities are operating across international borders—the University of Nevada at Las Vegas is in Singapore and Texas A&M operates in Qatar. Less known perhaps, is that some public institutions in the United States have campuses in other states. In other words, you can get a degree from Central Michigan University on a campus in Atlanta.

While the movement across state borders may seem like a domestic issue, …


MOOC’s and the McDonaldization of Global Higher Education

We’ve been treated to a rash of stories about how new technological models for higher education raise questions about the viability of the traditional campus. After all, why invest in an elaborate physical plant when virtual education can effectively expand your reach exponentially?

This is of particular interest for global education and multinational universities, as the expense and difficulty of establishing foreign educational outposts may make virtual options seem even more attractive. At th…


Will MOOC’s Take Down Branch Campuses? We Don’t Think So

In a recent blog on University World News, Rahul Choudaha argues that MOOC’s (massive open online courses) could lead to the decline of international branch campuses. There is some logic to this argument. Access to online learning is available just about anywhere, and economies of scale as represented by the MOOC’s can make education incredibly inexpensive. Branch campuses, on the other hand, double down on geography and are often more expensive than other local options. But does that make MOOC’…


The (Imperfect) Multinational University Analogy

What is a multinational university? As colleges and universities expand their physical presence into other locations, the term multinational university seems to be popping up in different venues as a descriptor, often with different meanings. And, while analogies can be useful, we believe they should be used with caution.

We’ve used the concept of a multinational university before in our writing, including in our recent book, to differentiate between those institutions with a strictly domestic p…


A Phoenix Rising in the Desert: Michigan State University

A sign on Michigan State’s home campus.

In 2007, Michigan State University announced to great fanfare a new branch campus in Dubai. It was the first U.S. institution to do so, and it began an elaborate process to transform one of the central buildings at Dubai International Academic City into a foreign outpost. The school colors, green and white, guided the decorations of the space. There were classrooms, computer labs, study spaces, lounges, and a small library. During basketball season, televi…


Is Comprehensive Internationalization Comprehensive Enough?

Comprehensive internationalization seems to be all the rage these days. For the past decade, the concept has been the topic of policy reports, institutional planning documents, and meetings around the world. More than mere internationalization, comprehensive internationalization emphasizes activities that touch on all aspects of the institution, suggesting deep and ubiquitous change from the status quo. Advocates rightly argue that institutions need to be more strategic and inclusive with their …