The Trouble with Going Global

By Hacker, Andrew; Dreifus, Claudia | Newsweek, September 20, 2010 | Go to article overview

The Trouble with Going Global


Hacker, Andrew, Dreifus, Claudia, Newsweek


Byline: Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus

American universities are eagerly recruiting foreign students and setting up outposts overseas. What's wrong with the new expansionism.

Perhaps it was inevitable. Just as American businesses and banks have looked overseas for new markets, so our universities are globalizing in a quest for revenue and growth. The numbers behind this new internationalism are impressive. Every year more and more overseas students apply to American campuses: last year, 103,260 came from India, 98,235 from China, even 11,581 from Nepal, according to the Institute of International Education. In a complementary move, American colleges are extending their range by establishing branch campuses abroad, like Carnegie Mellon in Qatar and the University of Nevada in Singapore. At last count, 38 American schools had 65 branches in 34 countries, all mandated to grant the home institution's degree.

This sounds exhilarating, very 21st century. International engagement, with its interplay of people and ideas, has unquestionable benefits. Yet these globalized ventures are certain to have an impact on education at home.

The first American educational outposts were organized as missionary colleges--like American University of Beirut, founded in 1866 as Syrian Protestant College. While they often earned reputations as the best in the region, the students were sometimes drawn to nationalist causes, frightening the local elites. Today's efforts are different. Now host countries extend the invitations themselves. China has solicited U.S. liaison programs even before campuses are built. But there remains the question of whether this new internationalism actually represents colonialism in a softer guise. Often these efforts seem intended mostly to add glamour to a school's brand; the locals can seem beside the point. In this new form, a student from, say, Switzerland will study at an American-sponsored program in Shanghai.

What is driving the new expansionism? In part, these new ventures recall the advice the Red Queen gave to Lewis Carroll's Alice: "It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place." Schools are clearly looking for new ways to grow. Yet if growth were the sole aim, colleges could establish two-year branches on their campuses or nearby, since that's where the real educational need is. The problem is that there's not much prestige in founding a community college. Colleges not quite in the top tier are looking for ways to seem distinctive. So Michigan State sets out for Dubai and Florida State for Panama. Globalization is one of the mantras of the moment; press releases about making an imprint in South Korea or India have an undeniable cachet--not to mention comfort-class visits for university administrators and photo-ops with heads of state.

On the flip side, there are obvious benefits to importing scholars. The influx of foreign students creates a bright blip in our otherwise dismal balance of payments. In 2008, the most recent year for figures, international students spent $18 billion on American education. Many of these visitors come from well-off families who can write full-tuition checks more easily than many of their American counterparts. For others, the fees will be paid by their governments; China and Saudi Arabia, for example, have a lot of dollars piled up in their treasuries.

Foreign students usually come for graduate degrees, chiefly in the sciences and engineering--subjects that attract fewer homegrown Americans. Professors get career points for teaching advanced seminars, so they welcome overseas applicants to fill up what would be empty seats, as well as serve as assistants in labs, which bring in grants. At last count, in 2008, "nonresident aliens" accounted for more than half the Ph.D.s awarded in mathematics, and 60 percent in engineering. More than a few graduate programs can thank their international scholars for their solvency, if not their continued existence. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Trouble with Going Global
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.