WENR, January/February: Americas

Five Myths About Internationalization in Higher Education

In the latest issue of International Higher Education, Jane Knight, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education [1] (OISE) outlines “Five Myths About Internationalization.” [2]

These myths include foreign students as internationalization agents, international reputation as a proxy for quality, international institutional agreements, international accreditation, and global branding. Knight observes that the presence of more foreign students at an institution will not necessarily help internationalize the campus, internationalization does not always lead to improved quality or high standards, and that the goals of internationalization are not synonymous with those of international marketing campaigns aimed at improving a school’s global brand or rankings.

International Higher Education [2]
Winter 2011


Ministry of Education Releases Results of Quality Review

The Ministry of Education [3] last year evaluated a total of 1,695 colleges and 6,804 programs on criteria that ranged from students’ test scores to institutional infrastructure. The ministry found that 15 institutes of higher education had received unsatisfactory grades for a third year in a row, meaning they will not be allowed to add new courses or increase enrollment. Only 4.5 percent were awarded the top mark of 5, while at the bottom end of the scale, 23.2 percent scored 2 out of 5, and 3.2 percent got the lowest rating of 1.

In recent years, Brazil has seen a boom in private universities, with the number of for-profit institutions increasing to 2,243 in 2009, from 689 just a decade previously. However, many of the new programs are of questionable quality, and the annual evaluations are designed to prevent the proliferation of operators offering substandard programs. According to a ministry official, the 15 institutions getting the lowest grades three years in a row will be closed down unless they can demonstrate that they have raised their standards within a year.

The Chronicle of Higher Education [4]
January 14, 2011


Provinces Agree to Work Together in Promoting National Education Brand Abroad

Canadian higher education must “accelerate” its internationalization efforts if it is to become a serious competitor in the overseas market, according to the president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada [5] (AUCC).

“Canada is really in the early stages (of the process),” said Paul Davidson, president of the AUCC, who in November last year led a delegation of 15 Canadian university presidents to India.

Canada’s provincial governments appear to agree. In a meeting of the Council of the Federation, an intergovernmental body made up of the premiers of the country’s provinces and territories, it was agreed that the marketing of international education should become a priority for 2011. This decision to work together marks a shift in attitude. Higher education is under provincial rather than federal jurisdiction, and until now there has been little coordination of policy among the provinces.

Mr. Davidson said the move indicated a general recognition that a “national brand” was key to Canada’s success in this area. The consensus was making it possible for the AUCC to advocate international marketing in a way it had not been able to do before, he argued. He also highlighted reforms of the student-visa system, instituted last year, as another defining moment for the internationalization efforts of Canadian universities.

Times Higher Education Supplement [6]
December 23 2010

Ontario to Introduce New Credit Transfer System

Beginning this September, students in the province of Ontario will be able to make use of a new credit transfer system that, it is hoped, will make it easier for students to transfer credits among Ontario colleges and universities — saving them time and money.

The current transfer system relies on 500 individual agreements between institutions and programs and is widely regarded as unwieldy and inefficient. Students often have to repeat courses when they transfer and sometimes get no credit at all for what they’ve taken. That is especially true for students who transfer from colleges, which are often more vocationally focused, to universities.

Ontario’s new credit transfer system will reduce the need for students to repeat similar courses or years at different institutions — allowing them to complete their studies sooner. Colleges and universities will work together to develop more opportunities to transfer credits between institutions and provide on-campus advisors and orientation programs to help students transfer their credits. Students will also have access to a centralized website that will help them identify which credits can be transferred.

The new credit transfer system will be implemented over the next five years and is being funded with nearly US$74 million from the provincial government. This is part of the provincial government’s Open Ontario plan [7] intended to help every student succeed and build a knowledge-based economy for the future.

Government news release [8]
January 17, 2011

British Columbia Outs Long List of Unauthorized Tertiary Colleges

The government of British Columbia has named 45 private post-secondary institutions suspected of operating illegally within the province. The list includes some schools that the province has known about for years and are now believed to be out of business. The list also identifies two schools that were caught in a scandal in 2006 involving illegal degrees offered by Kingston College. The province says it compiled the list to help students make informed decisions about where they want to study. A spokeswoman with the Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development says BC is “the first jurisdiction in Canada to do this, but it is common practice in the US.

BC Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development [9]
January 2011

Apollo Group Shuts Down Online Canadian Institution

One of the biggest names in private higher education is shutting its Canadian online university just two years after it began operations. Apollo Group has announced it is closing Meritus University [10], which was intended as a cousin to the company’s flagship institution, the US-based University of Phoenix [11].

“Despite our best efforts, we have concluded that there is a high risk that enrollment will continue to be insufficient to sustain the required quality academic and student-service infrastructure we and our students demand,” Apollo says in a statement. Meritus has attracted just 722 students, and only 590 of them have earned any credits, according to a statement from the school. Students enrolled from now until Meritus’ last class on March 14 are already being advised of their transfer options, a company official said.

Meritus News Release [12]
January 24, 2011


Inaugural University Rankings Released

According to a new ranking [13] comparing standards at Colombia’s universities, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia [14] is the best university in the South American country. Seven of the top-10 spots are occupied by public institutions, while the universities that ranked in the top five are all located in Colombia’s three biggest cities: Bogotá, Medellín and Cali.

There are currently 125 universities and 114 colleges in the country, however only 62 universities and three colleges are on the list because they are the only ones that met participation criteria laid out by the Sapiens Research Group, which compiled the rankings.

The top five schools were: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad de Antioquia [15], Universidad del Valle [16], Pontificia Universidad Javeriana [17], and the Universidad de los Andes [18]. The rankings place a particular emphasis on graduate provision and research output. Sapiens plans to release a new ranking of Colombian universities every six months.

Sapiens [13]
January 31, 2011


Dominican Republic to Build New University in Haiti

The Dominican Republic will finance a new university in Haiti in the northern city of Cap Haïtien. Scheduled to be complete next year, at a cost of $30 million, the new university will accommodate 10,000 students.

Constructed with the help of private money from the business community, the institution will be a public university, in a country where private universities were proliferating before the earthquake.

By building the new university outside the capital Port-au-Prince, the project is in line with recommendations from the Association of Francophone Universities (AUF), which suggest that higher education needs to be decentralized. Currently, higher education in Haiti was heavily concentrated in the capital Port au Prince, which was devastated by the 2010 earthquake.

According to the AUF, more than half the country’s universities or professional schools are concentrated in Port-au-Prince and that presents two fundamental problems: it favors the development of the country’s western region to the detriment of the others; and it increases the vulnerability of the system to natural calamities, such as the earthquake and hurricanes that often hit the Caribbean state.

University World News [19]
January 22, 2011


AACSB Accredits First Peruvian Business School

Centrum Business School [20] recently earned accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business [21] (AACSB), a global body that recognizes excellence in business education. Centrum is the first college in Peru to achieve the accreditation, which is currently held by 607 business schools in 38 countries, less than five percent of the world’s business schools.

Centrum joined 11 institutions of higher learning from nine countries as AACSB-accredited schools, including Elizabeth City State University [22], Groupe Sup De Co Montpellier [23] in France, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa [24] of Brazil, Lingnan University [25] of China, University of Melbourne [26], University of St. Thomas-Minnesota [27] USA and University of Victoria [28] of Canada.

Centrum was founded 10 years ago and is the business branch of the Universidad Católica [29].

Living Peru [30]
January 14, 2011

United States of America

Clinton Challenges U.S. Universities to Double the Number of Students They Send to China

In a letter to Alan Goodman, President of the Institute of International Education [31], U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton challenged leaders of U.S. higher education institutions and study abroad providers to double the number of their students in China by 2014.

The Secretary of State set the challenge in a bid to meet the goal of President Obama’s “100,000 Strong [32]” initiative. The “100,000 Strong” initiative seeks to dramatically increase the number of American students studying in China. Specifically, the president has challenged the nation to send 100,000 students to China over the next four years, a significant increase over current numbers.

In the week prior to the arrival of China’s President Hu Jintao, the administration’s initiative got a high-profile endorsement from Michelle Obama, who called [33] such student exchanges “a key component of this administration’s foreign-policy agenda” in a speech at Howard University [34]. However, despite the administration’s apparent enthusiasm for study abroad in China, it is offering no financial incentives to help meet the lofty goals it has set forth. Instead, the administration has stated that financial support for the effort will have to come from the private sector.

IIE newsletter [35]
January 11, 2011

Cuba Rules for Academics Eased

President Obama in January reversed a series of Bush-era rules that prevented most American colleges from organizing exchange programs in Cuba. An October letter from college and university presidents, [36] organized by NAFSA [37], cited statistics showing that only about 250 students from the United States are currently able to study in Cuba each year. That compares to about 2,100 before the Bush administration imposed the rules that are now being lifted.

The reversal of the rules will mean that American colleges wanting to set up credit programs in Cuba will have to follow certain “general” rules but will not need a special license from the U.S. Treasury Department to do so. They will also be allowed to involve adjunct faculty members in their programs, which they had previously been barred from doing. Colleges with Cuba programs will once again be able to enroll students from other colleges, which will allow colleges without programs in Cuba (the vast majority) to send students there.

How many study abroad programs that decide to reopen operations in Cuba remains uncertain, but at least one has announced plans to go back. The Institute for Study Abroad at Butler University [38] issued a statement saying that as soon as the rules are finalized, the university will restart a program at the University of Havana [39].

White House news release [40]
January 14, 2011
InsideHigherEd [41]
January 17, 2011

2010 Carnegie Classifications Reveal Significant Growth in For-Profit Sector in Last 5 Years

The 2010 Carnegie Classifications [42] were released in January, revealing the ways in which higher education in the United States has changed since the last Classifications were released in 2005. A total of 483 institutions were classified for the first time, of which 77 percent are considered for-profit institutions, compared to only 4 percent that are public and 19 percent that are independent non-profit institutions. There has also been growth in pre-professional and career-oriented programs in all sectors of higher education and an increase in the number of community colleges offering four-year degrees, while there was a drop in the number of liberal arts-focused institutions.

The Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education are produced by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the 2010 classifications follow the same methodology [43] as the 2005 version, which saw a significant methodological revamping from previous iterations. The aim of is to let researchers, granting agencies and foundations group together similar institutions, while also allowing for comparisons over time.

Institutions receive a “basic” ranking (broadly dividing institutions into sectors) and also additional rankings reflecting curricular offerings and missions. Carnegie also has a system of “elective” classifications in which colleges across all kinds of sector and curricular categories may seek to demonstrate that they possess certain qualities, such as the recently evaluated “community engagement” criteria. [44]

2005 2010
Number of public institutions 1,738 1,705
Percentage of all institutions that are public 39.6% 36.8%
Number of private, nonprofit institutions 1,745 1,713
Percentage of all institutions that are private 39.7% 37.0%
Number of for-profit institutions 909 1,215
Percentage of all institutions that are for-profit 20.7% 26.2%
Public institutions total 13,085,114 14,909,531
Public institutions as a percentage of all students 74.5% 71.9%
Private, nonprofit total 3,589,454 3,924,278
Private, nonprofit as a percentage of all students 20.4% 18.9%
For-profit total 899.896 1,893,712
For-profit as a percentage of all students 5.1% 9.1%

The number of research universities with “very high research activity,” a group that includes the most prominent research universities in the country, grew by 14 to a total of 108 institutions. The new institutions joining the category are: the City University of New York Graduate School and University Center; [45]George Washington [46], Georgia State [47], Mississippi State [48], North Dakota State [49], Rockefeller [50] and Virginia Commonwealth [51] Universities; and the Universities of Alabama at Huntsville [52], Arkansas [53], Central Florida [54], Houston [55], Louisville [56], Oklahoma [57], and Oregon [58]. The University of Colorado at Denver [59] and Kansas State University [60] are no longer eligible.

Carnegie Foundation [61]
January 17, 2010

Australian Recruitment Agency Announces 80th U.S. Institutional Client

IDP Education [62], an Australia-based international student recruitment agency, announced in January that it now represents a total of 80 U.S.-based institutions, with 25 of those considered ‘tier 1’ institutions by the commercial rankings of U.S. News and World Report.

Per an IDP news release, “this achievement underscores the growing acceptance of third-party recruitment in the United States and highlights the level of respect and trust IDP has earned throughout the higher education community.”

While there has indeed been growth in the use of third-party recruiting among U.S. institutions recently, the practice remains highly controversial. The full list of ‘tier 1’ institutions currently under contract with IDP can be found in the company’s news release.

According to Mark Shay, IDP’s North America director, “IDP’s goal is to create a representative sample of America’s higher education system, in order to be able to provide an ideal institutional match for all types of students.”

IDP new release [63]
January 18, 2011

University of Phoenix Parent Company Reports Dramatic Fall in Enrollments

Enrollment at institutions operated by Apollo Group, one of the largest for-profit providers of higher education in the United States, fell by 42 percent in the past quarter. The company has predicted that the slump is just the start of a steep decline in enrollments that will continue through 2011.

It is a turbulent time for for-profit providers, following recent congressional hearings into allegations of sharp practices by the industry. The hearings were sparked by an investigation into recruitment tactics at Apollo’s flagship University of Phoenix [11], carried out by National Public Radio and ProPublica, two non-profit public interest news groups.

A congressional inquiry then looked at 15 for-profit institutions, including the University of Phoenix. “Mystery shoppers” participating in the congressional probe reported that “deceptive or otherwise questionable statements” were given by every institution visited, on topics including employment prospects, graduation rates and costs.

The figures reflect a trend among US for-profit providers. Strayer Education [64] has seen its new student enrollment drop by 20 percent, while DeVry University [65] has reported a 5 percent fall in national enrollment.

Times Higher Education [66]
January 20, 2011

California ‘Diploma Mill’ Raided by Immigration Authorities

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in January closed Tri-Valley University, Inc. in California for allegedly defrauding students, 95 percent of whom are of Indian origin, in a real property forfeiture complaint [67] filed January 19.

According to the allegations by the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco, the alleged diploma mill, described as a ‘sham,’ was nothing more than a scheme to defraud international students. A total of 1,555 students paid tuition fees worth an estimated $4,198,500 in less than two years beginning in February 2009 when the school was granted an I-17 by the Department of Homeland Security to enroll foreign students and issue paperwork necessary for the issuance of student visas. According to the Complaint for Forfeiture filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco, the school consisted only of a building, several condominium apartments and a minimal staff with no faculty.

The school is also alleged to have operated as a kind of pyramid scheme whereby referrals who registered generated a 20 percent kickback of the tuition of $2,700 to the referrer who ultimately received five percent of subsequent referrals. The allegations also note that 95 percent of the students in active status were citizens of India. The school allegedly purchased several apartments for use as local addresses for its students who were actually living all over the country.

Indian government officials have questioned why the university was permitted to operate and have also condemned the use of radio-tracking devices that were used to monitor some of the 1,500 Indian students that were enrolled at Tri-Valley and who were detained and released following the investigation.

According to the allegations detailed in the complaint, visa-granting authority for the institution was awarded under false pretenses. As an unaccredited institution, Tri-Valley had to provide evidence from three accredited colleges that they would accept credits earned at the university. The complaint says at least two of the articulation agreements supplied to homeland-security officials were false, and administrators at those institutions had never agreed to accept Tri-Valley credits.

For students to maintain immigration status, they must show proof they are making reasonable process toward completing course work and must physically attend classes. Tri-Valley has been accused by the government of approving visa-related documents for students who were not actively enrolled in classes, but signed off on documents stating that they were attending classes.

California Watch [68]
February 2, 2001

Wharton, London Top Business School Rankings

According to the Financial Times’2011 global ranking of MBA programs [69], London Business School [70] (LBS) and the Wharton School [71] of the University of Pennsylvania are the joint best business schools in the world. Completing the top three is Harvard Business School [72], the only other school to have claimed the title of best MBA program in the thirteen years that the ranking has been published. Last year, LBS was ranked first outright after Wharton had been ranked first for nine consecutive years, until 2009 when the two schools shared top honors.

Elsewhere in the ranking, the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology [73] continues its rapid ascent. It entered the ranking at number 17 in 2008 and broke into the top 10 last year, and now sits in sixth according to the latest ranking. Barcelona-based IESE [74] also entered the top 10 this year, ranked joint ninth with MIT Sloan School of Management [75].

The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad [76], is the highest-placed newcomer. Impressive salary data, both in terms of the average three years after graduation ($174,440) and increase in earnings following the MBA (152 per cent), enabled it to debut at number 11.

Financial Times [69]
January 31, 2011


Government Scraps Plans for New University Law

The Venezuelan government will scrap a controversial law that would have increased government control over the country’s universities.

President Hugo Chavez said in early January on state-run television that he would not sign the university law which would have given central authorities greater control over the South American country’s autonomous higher education institutions – which have been critical of his socialist government and policies. Government officials had justified the law by saying it would make admissions for universities more egalitarian and open them up to poorer people. But students protested the legislation, saying it infringed on their academic freedoms.

The law was passed in late December, along with a flurry of other orders by the then-overwhelmingly Chavez-supporting National Assembly, but it still needed to be enacted by the president. The night before a new assembly took office, in which the percentage of opposition lawmakers was set to rise from 10 percent to 40 percent, Chavez made the decision not to sign the university bill. Chavez said in his television address that he would ask the assembly to lift the entire University Law and open up a debate over the measure.

Many academics agree that Venezuela needs to update a higher-education law that dates back to 1970. They argue that more attention must be given to modern teaching methods and complain that the lack of government investment has decimated universities. Mr. Chavez, meanwhile, suggested he would set up a presidential commission to discuss reforms with university rectors, and he called on the new congress to form a parliamentary forum to start a nationwide debate.

Wall Street Journal [77]
January 4, 2011