Reflecting on The World View, 7 Years On

A new Boston College publication maps the evolution of The World View since its inception.

April 9, 2017

This post is by Lisa Unangst, Georgiana Mihut, Liz Reisberg, and Hans de Wit


The first blog post on The World View was published by Inside Higher Education on June 23, 2010. Liz Reisberg, Research Fellow at the Center for International Higher Education (CIHE), has been editor of the blog since its inception.  To date, The World View has published over 300 articles that offer commentary on the state of higher education worldwide, producing an eclectic portfolio of reflection and analysis on issues ranging from the effects of the commercialization of higher education to threats to academic freedom. Blogs appearing in The World View have been written by scholars and practitioners from more than 30 countries and provide thoughtful opinions on central issues facing academic communities everywhere.


Among news and other media outlets in higher education, The World View remains somewhat unique. The blog sits at the midpoint between a source of daily news, such as Inside Higher Ed, and a publication oriented towards analysis, such as International Higher Education. The format of The World View offers a space for ideas to be piloted and discussed. Blog writers are experts with international, local, and topical expertise in the field of higher education. They provide up-to-date incisive commentary on developments along with relevant implications for myriad higher education stakeholders.


In the fourth edition of CIHE Perspectives, the Boston College Center for International Higher Education offers a selection of World View articles designed to celebrate the work done to date. The timing of this publication is not coincidental; CIHE is in the process of publishing two books focusing on articles that have appeared in International Higher Education (IHE) and University World News (UWN). The first of these books, titled Understanding Global Higher Education: Insights from Key Global Publications, will bring together articles focused on trends in higher education, while the second book looks specifically at publications that focused on internationalization. This issue of CIHE Perspectives is an integral part of this series.


Insights into The World View

For this issue of CIHE Perspectives, all of the articles published in The World View from its inception through December 2016 were reviewed. This exercise -- described below -- allowed us to both identify general trends among published works, and to curate the articles reproduced. Articles were initially coded by main topic, subtopic, and geographical focus. In a second stage of the review process, the emergent topical codes were transformed into themes, clustered across key issues of importance in higher education.


The most frequent theme among The World View articles was internationalization and globalization, with 78 articles addressing these issues. Articles in this category focused primarily on aspects of student mobility, student recruitment and the role of agents, branch campuses, transnational education, and partnerships. However, discussions on the use of English at universities, quality assurance and internationalization, and education for refugees were also included. Diversification, rankings and quality and Regional and national analyses accounted for 47 articles each. Less discussed, but significant, themes included Access and equity, Financing higher education, and Higher education governance, the state, and the market. Most of the articles published in The World View —125 of them —have a global focus. The selection of the 30 articles reproduced in this publication was sorted by topic, region, country, and author in an attempt to offer geographic and topical diversity and to avoid over-representation of any individual contributor.  A breakdown of all World View posts by region and by theme is available in the introduction to the Perspectives publication.


Selections are inevitably subjective, and we note that more articles from the period 2012 to 2016 than posts from 2010 and 2011 have been included in this compilation, representing changing circumstances and an evolving landscape. However, we believe that quite a number of The World View articles from the past seven years remain relevant today to the international higher education discourse. We are pleased with the regional diversity of posts; for a blog titled The World View it is only appropriate that nearly 40% of posts are globally-focused. That Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Oceania together represent just over 40% of all World View articles is not only a reflection of their importance in international higher education, but also testament to our commitment and ability to highlight regions of the world that typically receive less coverage elsewhere.


The aim of the CIHE Perspectives series is to serve as a resource for policy and research, but also to stimulate debate and interaction on key issues in international and comparative higher education. We hope that this publication will stimulate lively conversation; indeed, we wonder how a second retrospective view of The World View might look five years from now. What will be the most pressing issues in 2022? How will these issues affect different world regions, student and faculty mobility, and internationalization more broadly? What will be the consequences of the current nationalist populist trends around the world? As always, we look forward to the dynamic dialogue to come.



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