First Impressions of Program Participants: We Need a Systemic Approach to Internationalization Strategies21 июня 2016 года
The first week of the seminar entitled “Internationalization of Higher Education in the 21st Century: US University Experience” in Boston College (Massachusetts, USA) has come to an end. The participants in the event had the opportunity to learn how US universities have managed to reach and maintain a high level of currency in the international education market; they were also introduced to methods of building strategies designed to make progress on the road to internationalization, and were given the chance to consider global educational and economic problems and trends. The participants in the program gained knowledge regarding the differences between the US and Russian legal regulations, learned about certain political and historic aspects of the development of higher education in the USA, received awareness training about the modern conditions and resources of internationalization.
During the first week, the participants visited two symbolic universities. The first - Northeastern University -- is famous for its long-established learning model whereby the university works closely with off campus businesses and sends its students to undergo on-the-job learning programs during their BA studies. In addition, almost 50% of this university’s students have the opportunity to work in companies abroad. The second – Franklin Olin College – has become famous for its new approaches to engineering studies. Olin College students get to implement their science projects in numerous foreign countries while still in their role as undergraduates..
All the participants agreed that having a clear understanding of the goals of internationalization by management and academic staff on every level is essential for success. Representatives of Russian universities noted the commitment and involvement of the employees involved in the internationalization processes. Everyone was very attentive and enthusiastic about the lectures, workshops and group projects during this week of training.
The most interesting comments of the participants are quoted below.
“I think that we, as administrators, have jumped on board the internationalization locomotive so quickly that we find it hard keep up with the landscape flashing outside the window. At the same time, as good administrators and members of the academic community, we need to come up with adequate responses to the challenges of internationalization in order to be able to see the big picture. This is my main target and what I expect from the program”.
Novosibirsk State University
“Our expectations were very high and we weren’t disappointed. We hoped to learn “first hand” about successful cases of internationalization of US universities, and to understand the principles upon which their strategies in this area were built. I think that the most surprising and inspiring story was about the endowment fund of Boston College, how it is such a powerful driver for the College’s development, and how much effort is being put into it”
Kazan Federal University
“The seminars and lectures were well-structured and gave us the opportunity to look at internationalization from an innovative and unconventional perspective. I was inspired by the idea that internationalization must involve all Russian lecturers, students and university staff”
Kazan Federal University
“The goal of my project is to find an answer to the question – “How can we attract more talented foreign students to South-Ural State University?”. At the moment, many universities are fighting for talented students using various methods. We are starting to develop some ideas as to the best way to promote the competitive advantages of South-Ural State, the most effective means to personalize proposals for talented students who want to study with us, and how to add special proposals concerning grants, accommodation, personal study plans, etc.”
South-Ural State University
“What is important to remember is that internationalization is not the end-goal, but rather a means to improve the quality of education. The US higher education system is not in a rush to implement the Bologna concept 100%. Moreover, a significant decentralization in higher education does not make it possible to form a clear strategy for universities wishing to enhance their level of internationalization in this ever-changing world or to identify universal indicators which could assess the effectiveness of internationalization”.
Korolev Samara National Research University
“The material reviewed at the seminars was certainly very useful and interesting. Also, I’d like to note that theoretical knowledge was very well combined with practical tasks. It is great to be among people who think like you and to feel the importance of what needs to come to life”.
National Research Tomsk State University
“Internationalization is the key element in the development of a global university. It is obvious from the example of American universities: in order to enhance our competitive position, we need to form an adequate environment (infrastructure, system of feedback, services for foreign students and employees, etc.) and to use a multi-dimensional approach to the development of students, lecturers and researchers. The program provides us both with theoretical knowledge and practical recommendations on how to solve problems and respond to current challenges. I’m sure that it’s only going to get more interesting”.
National Research University of Science and Technology MISiS
“In order to solve internationalization problems, we need to understand the specifics of strategic planning -- which will help us to develop successful and effective projects.
The language policy of the universities must answer the requirements of all aspects of the process of internationalization, which means that we need new approaches”.
Korolev Samara National Research University
“It is good to know that our foreign colleagues have the same problems! I have already “poached” a couple of good ideas that we can later implement back home. This program will help us to structure the process of internationalization in our university”.
Russian People’s Friendship University
“Despite having vast experience of recruiting students and lecturers from other countries, US universities have only recently started thinking about internationalization strategies. Not about internationalization based on numbers, but about the so-called comprehensive internationalization aimed at improving the quality of education, research and services involving the entire university and not just certain structures. This is what we should aspire to”.
Siberian Federal University
Autor: Zhanna Lagunova (TSU)