Global Issues For US Universities – Nu Leadership Series

Men cease to interest us when we find their limitations. The sin is limitations. As soon as you once come up to a ’s limitations, it is all over with him.

Emerson

How are American institutions preparing students for globalization? Are universities also being impacted by global trends? Scholars love to debate this matter. Today, academic institutions are trying to tap into this international craze. Are international programs located on college campuses adequately preparing students for globalization? Let’s analyze closer.

First, today’s universities must take the role of global leader developers. Traditionally, schools of higher learning have acted as major liberators in society. Hughes, a United States government executive, argues that an education dramatically expands the opportunities for young people. Furthermore, demographic changes continue to the realities of globalization. Futurists identify the following key factors for this transformation of today’s organizations: (a) more women and minorities as employees as well as customers, (b) more older employed in the workplace, (c) more concern of employees related to the quality of life factor, and (d) more need for retraining of employees in organizations.

Therefore, studying abroad by students can open a window to a wider world.
Consequently, the State Department has seen an increase in its scholarship programs for U.S. students to study overseas are now at historic highs. As a result of sending students overseas to study, America is developing a greater global competency. This consequence has created major issues for educators in universities as they brainstorm about global education. Although 70% student in foreign language courses, currently, only 2% of American high students study the combined critical languages such as Arabic or Chinese. Hughes suggests four ways that the US government is dramatically strengthening its educational outreach: (a) expanding capacity, (b) building global competency which includes better language skills, (c) increasing the diversity of students studying abroad, and (d) promoting America as a higher education destination.

In addition, Altbach, a globalization expert, maintains that higher education is increasingly viewed as a commercial product. The World Trade Organization had proposed making the importing and exporting of higher education come under the complex rules of its protocols in order to improve the quality of worldwide education. Clearly, higher education institutions worldwide are a victim of global trends. These trends include the use of advanced communication technologies, accountability of academic institutions to government, an ever mobile and international profession, global research, and other savvy innovations. New multinational academic institutions seek to meet the needs of an international market of students by quickly disseminating new curricular and other innovations.

Historically, academic institutions have provided education for the learned professions such as medicine, law, and engineering in a systematic fashion. Because of some key influences of dominant universities and research facilities in larger countries, some innovative views of education are rejected in order to maintain the status quo in the of globalization. Consequently, poorer countries have little defense or competitive advantage in globalization so that it exacerbates the unfairness and inequalities among the world’s universities. US universities can become the deciding factor for more equality by developing more insightful leaders. Therefore, it’s important that universities develop the proper strategy in order to better prepare students for globalization.

References:

Altbach, P. (2001). Higher Education and the WTO: Globalization Run Amok. International Higher Education.

Hughes, K. (2006). Remarks to American Council on Education: A Strategic view of Study Abroad. Leadership Network for International Education, Washington, DC.

Tsui, A. & Gutek, B. (1999). Demographic Differences in Organizations. New York: Lexington Books.

© 2007 by Daryl D. Green

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