John Howe, PhD, Associate Dean of Students, University of South Dakota, USA
January 8, 2018
Reflections on Chapter 11: Branches, Hubs, and Hybrids: Trends in International Higher Education Models
Stryker, Witt, and Konecny’s chapter begins by summarizing the global growth of campus and international educational partnerships. This rise of branch, hub, and hybrid campuses has conversely led to the growth in the need for student affairs and services internationally as well as a more global perspective of our work in serving students.
The authors also provide clear definitions for various models of cross-border educational institutions to ensure readers are able to understand these global trends, including international branch campus, education hub, replica campus, and hybrid student affairs program. While the benefits of global educational exchange were presented (increased access to education, potential for improved labor market for host country, student familiarity to local context), the authors also addressed critiques (such as concerns about instructional quality, mission creep, or worries that education would be viewed as a commodity) in this chapter. While these ventures increase educational access globally, Stryker, Witt, and Konecny (2016) also recognize that “countries with fewer resources and institutions that are resource poor have limited opportunities to benefit from the international engagement and exposure that TNE [transnational education] institutions provide” (pp. 221-222).
While the authors are all student affairs professionals at global campuses, they also acknowledged their training and influence through a Western educational lens. A great strength of this chapter is that the authors sought feedback on the challenges and opportunities of internationalization by interviewing student affairs and services professionals from China, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Singapore, and Malaysia. The added perspective of these national and expatriate student affairs and services professionals added increased depth to this chapter as they offered diverse and unique perspectives. One of the individuals interviewed by the authors (2016) shared the following:
Sometimes I think you just have to develop a whole new way of thinking, a whole new way to approach things. You have to take what you know and reframe it so that it works for the culture you are in and not because it worked the culture you came from. It has to fit with the students you are with right here and now – in this moment with this culture. (pp. 230-231).
This is the continued challenge and opportunity presented throughout this text: how does a profession largely rooted in Western theory and practice transform in this time of global educational growth. As a foundational tenet of student affairs professionals is the value of and belief in the unique individual, this transformation is critical.
Questions to ponder:
John Howe was born in India, reared in Germany, and worked as an educator in Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, India, and Afghanistan. He serves as Associate Dean of Students at the University of South Dakota.
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