Is higher education globalizing? You betcha!
07 Dec 2007

Is higher education globalizing? You betcha!

USC’s Lloyd Armstrong posted a link to

07 Dec 2007

USC’s Lloyd Armstrong posted a link to a draft article for New Directions in Higher Education (2007, Wiley Periodicals) where he argues that globalization has had a small effect on higher education. In his blog, he writes:

But why has higher education responded so slowly to the opportunities and challenges of globalization? I argue that the major reason has been the place-based nature of our history, and consequently, of our missions. There are also constraints in the way of change, which include the reality that at present, US higher education has been dominant in the competition for international students and faculty; that the constituencies that support higher education are not open to a greatly changed role; and that government in the US has not addressed the question of what it expects of higher education in a rapidly globalizing world.

Sure. If you’re thinking of globalization as internationalization, there hasn’t been much change. If you’re thinking of internationalization as study abroad or as attracting more foreign students, creating branch campuses, etc., you’re not going to see much change, either.

There are far more dimensions to globalization than just “internationalization,” and far more dimensions to internationalization than study abroad. A globalized institution attends toward developing a chaordic balance between dichotomies of the local and the global, the real and the virtual, the periphery and core, and its interdependence among and with various actors.

This also means that a globalized university, inherently, is more creative –and its levels of creativity need not operate at administrative levels. Globalizing activities may occur at institutional, departmental, and individual levels within universities. If Armstrong is looking for macro-level signs of globalization, he will ultimately fail.

Breaking away from 20th century paradigms, Armstrong needs to explore how globalization also extends beyond the development of institutional “brands.” Global universities harness the opportunities provided by the interdependencies and dichotomies of globalization. An example of a globalizing activity is the upcoming (“version 2.0”) knowledge co-seminar/open seminar organized between the University of Minnesota and FLACSO-Mexico with linked classes at FLACSO-Ecuador, FLACSO-Chile, and the Technical University of Loja –and with additional participants from the Open University of Catalunya and SRI International. Such projects typically fall under the radar if you’re looking for macro-level signs of globalization or internationalization.

Perhaps the question Armstrong ought to ask is, how do we identify creative, global activities among our institutions?

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