Faculty members at Brock University, in Canada, are angry that the winners of a student costume contest for Halloween were four students who put on blackface as part of their portrayal of the Jamaican bobsled team, CBC News reported. The university has said that it will consider ways to screen offensive costumes, but some faculty members consider that response to be insufficient.
Brock's student body president said that the contest was judged by audience applause, and that participants were not seeking to offend. But critics said that it should be well-known by now that blackface is not acceptable humor.
The British Columbia Law Society, reversing an earlier decision, has revoked recognition of the new law school at Trinity Western University, The Globe and Mail reported. At issue is Trinity Western's ban on students and faculty members having sexual relationships outside of heterosexual marriage. Critics say that the policy violates principles of equal rights for gay people. Earlier this year, in a non-binding referendum, members of the law society recommended that its governing council withdraw recognition, and it has now done so. A legal fight could follow. Trinity Western has argued that it should be allowed to have rules consistent with its Christian beliefs. A statement from the university said that it was reviewing its options.
Murray State University is deferring new applications from prospective students in the Ebola-stricken countries Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the Murray Ledger & Timesreported. The university will not allow students from these countries to enter in January and will instead defer their admission until the fall.
The College Board is holding back SAT scores from October tests given in China and Korea, amid investigation into allegations of cheating on the SAT in those countries, The Washington Post reported. Testing companies have struggled with test security in Asia.
A $10 million gift to Yale University will go toward scholarships for low-income Chinese students. The gift is part of a $100 million endowment fund created by the co-founders of the Chinese real estate company, SOHO China, to fund scholarships for Chinese students who are admitted to elite universities. The co-founders, Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi, recently gave $15 million to Harvard University.
Prominent university says government's proposal to deregulate tuition will allow it to give scholarships to a third of its students; critics say Sydney's plan will help it cream students from other universities.
U.S. colleges and universities face choppy waters ahead. Navigating institutional direction these days requires not only a clear grasp of what the domestic challenges are but also demands a good global positioning system.
Domestic challenges and global positioning intersect at the need for a steady revenue stream of fee-paying students. The past five years have seen an exponential growth in the business of recruiting international students, especially undergraduates, to U.S. campuses. The search for tuition revenue from abroad has happily converged with a rising middle class around the world that is attracted to U.S. higher education. This intersection has its risks and calls for careful steering.
Colleges and universities that view these students as principally a revenue fix and confuse their mere presence on campus with internationalization are ultimately headed for stormier seas. It’s time to check the GPS.
We’ve already heard that some campuses are experiencing problems retaining international undergraduates. This can begin with recruitment and whether exaggerated promises have been made. Setting the right direction here requires knowing what your recruiters are doing and the standards they employ.
Successful retention can be further compromised by the way international students are integrated — or not — on campus. Housing them in an international dorm completely disconnected from the center of campus life is just the wrong thing if you want happy graduates and a loyal alumni network around the world.
And, too often we hear presidents say, “We’re international, we have international students!” Really? How do those students contribute to the internationalization of your institution? If your answer is: “We have an international week every year filled with food and folk dances,” you are in big trouble. When presidents can more carefully address the question, we have moved past simple revenue production to an understanding that students from abroad are an important aspect of internationalizing a college or university. However, their presence, even a well-integrated one, is not enough.
In the U.S., we have a significant import-export gap, and it starts at the institutional level. If 20 percent of your students are international, do you send a similar percentage of your homegrown students to study abroad? If not, you should actively recalculate that quotient. Exacerbating this gap, U.S. students generally are on shorter term study abroad programs, while their international counterparts are mostly enrolled for degrees .
But study abroad alone will not be enough to declare a victory for internationalization. Why? Because while student mobility should be encouraged, it will not work for everyone. Consider that most college students no longer fit the profile of an 18- to 22-year-old residential student. A single mother attending part-time classes at a community college while holding down a 40-hour-a-week job is not going to do a semester in Bahrain.
Colleges and universities are going to have to spend more time and energy on curriculum design to reach large numbers of such students. It really matters to ask how your students, no matter their origin, will come away with a broader and deeper sense of the world in which they will pursue their personal and professional lives. Ultimately, you have to focus on the curriculum and the faculty who are its stewards. This is the center of the map when it comes to internationalization.
A well-tuned GPS will be all about creating an institutional learning environment that is consciously cross-national and cross-cultural. We have a term for this at the American Council on Education: comprehensive internationalization. Here is what it includes:
You have articulated institutional buy-in: Your mission statement and strategic plan show a commitment to global education, and there’s a road map for how you’re going to get there.
Senior leadership is on board with a holistic vision of connecting what may be separate international activities and, importantly, someone is assigned to wake up every morning thinking about ways to connect the dots as a core element of institutional direction.
Your curriculum, across disciplines and schools, reflects that you want your students to develop global competencies, whether they are majoring in East Asian studies, engineering or art.
Faculty members play a critical role in this work — so they are recruited and rewarded in part on their international engagement. In this domain, you may need to invest further in their global experience and development.
U.S.-based students are encouraged to go abroad, but also supported appropriately — whether financially or in cultural orientation. And international students, as noted above, are supported by systems too.
Global partnerships, an important part of the internationalization picture, are pursued thoughtfully, maintained with integrity and mutuality, tracked and evaluated on a regular basis.
Through the work that we do with many different types of colleges and universities, we have found these elements to be a winning combination. They set the GPS coordinates for deeply embedded internationalization, as opposed to one-off initiatives, and serve a wide array of institutional best interests, most importantly better outcomes for all students.
Patti McGill Peterson is presidential adviser for global initiatives at the American Council on Education.
The University of Zimbabwe has banned students from kissing on campus, BBC reported. While the university has not detailed its rationale for the ban, students are objecting. "In this age to say I'm no longer allowed to kiss or hug someone ... is unreasonable," said Tsitsi Mazikana, a student.