Globalization and the Emergence of Supranational Organizations: Implications for Graduate Programs in Higher Education Administration

Article excerpt

Higher education plays a significant role in shaping the culture of societies. As globalization becomes more prominent in all aspects of civilization, higher education must respond and lead in this endeavor. It is incumbent upon postsecondary institutions to train the leaders of tomorrow to lead in a world without boundaries, and to be able to embrace and promote the diversity of this new world stage. As such, higher education administration graduate programs must rise to the challenge of training educators in a new "global" way to prepare them for the possibilities that will emerge.

Introduction

Higher education in the United States is on the cusp of yet another period of transformation. How universities and colleges respond to the current and future changes that accompany the tremendous impact of globalization on the world, will determine their prosperity, viability, and success for years to come. The decisions of leaders in policy-making, curriculum design, governance, and management of more than 3,600 institutions in this country will have an immense impact on the future of American higher education. Producing leaders capable of functioning in this era of unprecedented global interaction and connection requires a new focus on multicultural competence, world-wide awareness, and an understanding of complex relationships and new ways of managing networks in a knowledge based society.

The relationships between governments and higher education are changing around the world. Consequently, methods for administering and leading in higher education are being transformed as new responsibilities and expectations arise (Goedegebuure & Vught, 1994). Leaders of American colleges and universities need to be able to build new understandings of global relationships and propel their individual institutions into the mix of newly formed international organizations and partnerships in the knowledge producing community. This emerging task requires prospective leaders to garner new skills and knowledge through graduate preparatory programs for higher education administrators and policy makers. Globalization and its effects on higher education is an essential theme, which should underlie or become a core component of masters and doctoral programs for future leaders.

At the present time we may not realize what changes will materialize with regard to globalization, however, we can no longer exist in the ivory tower, or in the relative isolation of traditional American higher education. In some respects, higher education has always been a part of the global information and knowledge society; yet, in ensuing years relationships among people, economies, and universities around the world will integrate in ways not yet imagined. From the graduate student perspective, in order for higher education in the United States to remain a global influence, new methods of leadership and management with an emphasis on a working understanding of the global market is essential.

Defining Globalization

The task of defining globalization is difficult due to the complexity of the phenomenon, hence the array of definitions offered by scholars tend to be lengthy and intricate. For the purposes of this paper, however, a more straightforward definition will be employed, "... globalization has multiple dimensions--economic, technological, and political--all of which spill into the culture and affect in all-encompassing ways the kinds of knowledge that are created, assigned merit and distributed" (Stromquist, 2002, p. 3). This compact characterization serves to open the dimensions of globalization for discussion as we attempt to examine the impact that globalization has had and will have on the world, the landscape of higher education, and graduate programs in higher education administration.

Globalization and Higher Education

In recent decades higher education has been at the head of many governmental agendas and has been central to the economic prosperity of numerous nations (Henry, Lingard, Rizvi, & Taylor, 2001). …