WENR, April 2013: Americas
University Prestige Rankings Tell Same Old Story
The big six universities in the United States and the United Kingdom have consolidated their dominance of the Times Higher Education’s Reputational Ranking, according to the 2013 update released in March.
The rankings use the Thomson Reuters Academic Reputation Survey to measure the power of universities’ global brands within the market for the best professors, brightest students, richest business investors and most innovative research partners. The “super brands” have held the top six spots since the rankings began in 2011.
While the U.S. dominates the list with 43 universities in the top 100, its influence has diminished slightly since the inaugural ranking. One university has fallen off the top 100 list while two have dropped out of the top 50. Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education, pointed to spending cuts to explain the downgrade of the three universities, while also pointing out that, “East Asian institutions are enjoying serious government investment and rapidly rising prestige, which in turn are driving their knowledge and innovation economies. This is bad news for U.S. competitiveness.”
– Times Higher Education
Latin American Universities Look to Attract English-Speaking Students
By offering more courses in English, Latin American universities are hoping to appeal to English-speaking students who may have overlooked the region previously, according to a recent article in University World News. The article also notes that universities are beginning to seek accreditation in the United States.
Mexico’s private university, CETYS – Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superio – has campuses in the northern cities of Mexicali, Tijuana and Ensenada, and is one of five Mexican universities accredited by United States organizations. Costa Rica and Chile each have one accredited university, and other Latin American institutions are seeking U.S. certification to gain credibility among northern students.
Language continues to be a barrier to mobility outside of the region, however. Few Latin American universities offer courses in English, and not enough U.S., Canadian and European students speak Spanish or Portuguese. A handful of Latin American institutions are beginning to offer courses in English. CETYS, for example, plans to provide 10 percent of its curriculum in English, according to university president Fernando Leon Garcia, and will have entire English-language degree programs by 2014.
The United States plans to send more students to the region under a White House initiative called “100,000 Strong in the Americas.” Launched in 2011 by President Barack Obama and modelled after his 2009 collaboration with China, the initiative aims to double the number of U.S. college students studying in Latin America and the Caribbean and to attract more students from those regions to U.S. universities in less than a decade. In 2011, 40,000 U.S. students were studying in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to White House figures.
March 9, 2013
Thunderbird Business School Partners With For-Profit to Offer Programs Globally
Arizona’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and Laureate Education announced plans in March for a joint venture through which the business school would offer academic programs at the for-profit education provider’s campuses in cities around the world.
Under the arrangement, which is expected to be finalized in June, Thunderbird would remain non-profit but would look to offer instruction at Laureate campuses in places such as Madrid, Paris, Santiago, Chile, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
March 18, 2013
Tweaks to Immigration Rules Produce Big Gains for International Recruitment Efforts
International students have become an increasingly integral part of Canada’s immigration strategy as a result of ongoing changes to federal regulations aimed at recruiting more highly skilled newcomers to the country, according to University Affairs. Canada’s incremental approach has led to a different immigration system without the need for parliamentary approval, and has moved Canada away from a system that assesses would-be economic migrants on a points system towards a two-step process that admits international students and foreign skilled workers on a temporary basis before allowing them to transition to permanent residency status.
The Canadian Experience Class, introduced in 2008, is central to the change, and although it accounts for a small proportion of economic immigrants admitted to Canada, it is the fastest growing class. The CEC allows skilled foreign workers who have been working in Canada on a temporary basis and foreign graduates of Canadian postsecondary institutions with work experience to apply for permanent residency without leaving the country. Since the program’s inception five years ago, more than 20,000 permanent residents have entered Canada through the CEC. Canada has set a target of accepting 10,000 permanent residents through the CEC program this year.
To help meet this target, the program was tweaked at the start of 2013 to allow foreign students to stay in the country for up to three years following graduation, instead of two, giving them more time to gain the Canadian work experience needed to qualify for permanent residency. The government also reduced the work requirement period to 12 months from 24. After three years, permanent residents may apply for Canadian citizenship.
Almost 240,000 international students were studying in Canada in 2011, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada data; about half of these were enrolled in universities. The number of foreign students studying in Canada at all levels of education has been growing more quickly in recent years. The year-over-year increase averaged 11.5 percent from 2008 to 2011, up from an average of 4.3 percent from 2001 to 2008, according to CIC.
Many postsecondary institutions include information about immigration policies in their promotional materials, although they take care to emphasize that the primary reason students should come to Canada is for their studies, according to university administrators interviewed by University Affairs. In addition to changes to the CEC, the federal government has revised rules governing temporary work permits for international students. The Post-Graduation Work Permit program allows students to work for up to three years after completing their studies with no restriction on the type of employment. The number of work permits issued under this program has doubled since the government revised it in 2008. Off-campus work permits allow students to work up to 20 hours a week during regular academic sessions.
Still, there are challenges. The number of permanent residents admitted under the CEC class has consistently fallen short of targets since the program was introduced. One reason for this may be that the weak job market has made it difficult for new graduates to find employment and gain the work experience needed to quality, said Sophia Lowe, manager of community engagement at World Education Services.
March 13, 2013
Government Invests Millions in Promoting Canadian Education Overseas
The Canadian government will invest C$23 million (US$22.6 million) over two years to promote Canada internationally as a study destination. The money was made available in the 2013 federal budget, announced in March, which also includes increases in funds for research and partnerships between colleges and industry.
The five national organizations that comprise the Canadian Consortium for International Education Marketing welcomed the budget announcements on behalf of their over 400 respective member institutions, pointing to a need for “a comprehensive strategy for international education…to keep pace with other countries.”
Funds are also being made available for an international scholarship program that will bring top undergraduate students from around the world to Canada, in addition to offering opportunities for Canadian students to go abroad for research experiences through the Mitacs Globalink Program.
March 21, 2013
U.S. Study Abroad Group Receives License to Send Students to Cuba
Two years after President Obama lifted an embargo on academic travel to Cuba, the first study-abroad group, Texas-based Academic Programs International, has received a license to send American students to the Communist nation. The group plans to offer programs in Spanish, Cuban and Caribbean studies, and general humanities. It will send its first students this fall, working with the University of Havana.
Under rules outlined in 2011 governing such travel, the Obama administration said accredited colleges are allowed to establish their own study-abroad programs and also said licenses could be granted to groups organizing seminars, conferences, and workshops in Cuba as well as those organizing trips for “educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program.” However, there was no license category for for-credit overseas-study programs run by outside providers.
In a statement clarifying the position of third-party providers, the U.S. State Department said that “academic service providers” are now eligible to receive “specific” licenses from the Office of Foreign Assets Control to offer for-credit educational programs in Cuba on behalf of accredited American undergraduate and graduate institutions. “The goal is to provide study-abroad options for students whose university or college does not have a stand-alone Cuba program but which is nevertheless prepared to grant course credit for formal study in Cuba,” the State Department said in its statement.
April 1, 2013
Network to Connect Research in 21 Caribbean Countries
A new high-capacity fiber optics research and education network, known as [email protected], will connect colleges and universities in 21 countries in the Caribbean.
The network is wholly owned by the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKNET), an agency within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and financed by the 21 member countries the network will serve.
The project creates the region’s first research and education network, connecting all CARICOM member states, among others. The high-speed data network and dedicated fiber optics connections is designed to significantly reduce the cost of tertiary education in the region by increasing access to the various centers of excellence across member countries.
March 10, 2013
Immigrants Constitute Large Segments of the U.S. Professional Community
Immigrants in the United States have an expansive range of education levels, with about one in three immigrants having obtained a college degree, according to the findings of the US Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey (ACS).
The survey found that immigrants accounted for 16 percent of the 58.8 million college-educated people in the United States, with significantly higher numbers among workers in certain occupations. Immigrants represent nearly 28 percent of physicians, more than 31 percent of computer programmers, and over 47 percent of medical scientists.
Other findings include:
- The college-educated immigrant population grew significantly faster than their native counterparts in the 1990s and 2000s.
- Women slightly outnumbered men among the foreign-born, college-educated population.
- College-educated immigrants were younger than their native counterparts.
- The foreign born were more likely to hold a doctorate or professional degree than the native born.
- Close to 28 percent of college-educated immigrants were limited English proficient.
- Of the 9.4 million college-educated foreign born, one-third arrived in the last 11 years.
- Over half of all college-educated immigrants came from Asia, with India, the Philippines, and China being the top three origin countries.
- College-educated immigrants were more likely to be unemployed than the native born, and more than 1.6 million were underutilized in the U.S. labor market in 2011
- California, New York, Florida, and Texas accounted for half of the 7.2 million immigrants in the college-educated labor force.
International Students Struggle to Integrate Into Campus Life
As the number of international students at U.S. colleges continues to rise – especially at the undergraduate level – there are increasing concerns as to how well they’re being integrated into campus life, reports Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.
Citing a number of reports, Redden suggests that while international students are interacting well with their foreign peers, substantive relationships with American students appear to be much less common. One study found that nearly 40 percent of international students reported having no close American friends. In explanation, many of the students cited “internal factors” such as limited language proficiency or shyness, but they also described a perceived lack of interest on the part of American students in other cultures.
And according to attendees at a session of the recent Association of International Education Administrators annual conference, U.S. students travelling abroad also fair poorly when it comes to integrating into foreign cultures.
In interviews with Inside Higher Ed, researchers and professionals in international education spoke about the challenges in this regard and their efforts to create opportunities for meaningful interactions between domestic and international students through programming. It seems that many universities have a long way to go in living up to the promise presented by increasing numbers of international undergraduates – the promise being increased opportunities for sustained and meaningful cross-cultural interactions in classrooms, dorm rooms, and so forth.
At the AIEA session, audience members discussed co-curricular strategies such as peer mentoring or “buddy” programs, living-learning communities and other residence life initiatives, and more robust orientations for international students. Click through to the full Inside Higher Ed article for examples of what colleges around the nation are doing to try and better integrate international students.
March 4, 2013