The global economic crisis has accelerated the fear that the United States’ international power is fading. But it has also made clear the necessity that American higher education must engage more deeply with the rest of the world, not run from it.
That was the consensus among a group of presidents and provosts who are meeting in New York this week as part of “Higher Education in a Global Society,” a two-day conference sponsored by the TIAA-CREF Institute.
The discussions on Thursday were wide-ranging and covered study abroad, foreign-student enrollment, curricular development, visa policy, and partnerships abroad. In the process, participants highlighted some emerging trends in internationalization. Among them: more sophisticated links with universities overseas, increased corporate involvement in curricular development, and global education programs that focus on America’s increasingly international population.
Several presidents talked about the importance of continuing international programs in the face of budget challenges and public skepticism over money spent on foreign projects and students, rather than domestic ones.
“Especially at a time like now, we run the risk as a country of being too insular and pulling back too much,” said Mark S. Wrighton, chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis. “American higher education is one of our strong cards, and we don’t have many.” [Click here to read the rest of the story. Subscription required.]