CSSI News from Global Summit

Sharon Prado and Caitriona McGrattan report

IASAS & NASPA co-host Global Summit for Student Affairs and Services in Washington, DC, 21-22 September 2012

Dr. Philip Altbach, Monan University Professor Educational Leadership and Higher Education, Boston College gave the opening address. The purpose of this address was to set the context for the two-day summit and raise some recent issues, challenges, and questions that are current and that lie ahead for higher education globally. Dr. Altbach shared that higher education globally is affected by massification –a movement even affecting the EU and global education worldwide, which represents a move away from elite education. Historically three categories have governed the development of higher education delivery: elite, mass, and universal.

He noted that there are 200 million post-secondary students worldwide with most countries enrolling more than 50% of the population, and in some cases as high as 70-80% of the usual college-age cohort of the population. Opportunities or challenges yet abound. China enrolls only about 22%, and India only 12%. Future growth will occur in widening access to higher numbers of students in those countries. Africa provides an even greater opportunity to create access routes, with most of Africa still enrolling only 10% of the age group.

Private provision of higher education is growing, and is in fact the fastest growing segment. Dr. Altbach predicts that this type will become the majority and has in almost all Latin American countries. Most private higher education is for-profit. With massification comes the question of qualifications, quality standards, accreditation as the question of highly esteemed university is called into question. Traditional measures assigning status and esteem to faculties, libraries, and the university experience along with brand recognition will be impacted by massification and the rise of for-profit education. Universities who are sharing educational resources openly and for free are contributing to the massification movement, by making resources available to those who have access to online course materials and are self-motivated to learn on their own. The paradigm is shifting. In light of that paradigm shift there is an opportunity to develop a framework for professionalizing student affairs and services, informed by global contexts which take into account the cultural and contextual difference across countries.

What is a student affairs professional? Does the definition have to be a Western model? As a field of study or professional discipline, student affairs is often linked with student development. Dr. Altbach challenged the audience to think about the professional management of student services and what that might look like given current political and global issues.

1. Who is the Student that is being served? What is the nature of the Student Experience? No longer are students from elite and privileged situations. No longer are they necessarily fully committed to their studies. They are more diverse on many levels and in many ways. [no longer the Victorian model].

2. Access in America in Dr. Altbach’s estimation has been overcome. Persistence and completion are the collective challenge. Strategies are needed for completion. He offered as an example the University of Buenos Aires, which is required by law to admit most, if not all second-level completers. In practice the university community uses the first year to weed out the underprepared for university level work. That is the unstated aim. Access is not enough. Why not create a community college model? A differentiated system already exists in the U.S. Less expensive instruction for less well-prepared or those who are unlikely to succeed at a research university. Globally this idea is new. Differentiated institutions.

3. Research—how can basic research survive and prosper in an age of accountability? Why not discuss rankings? Humboldt in 1818, advocated for the integration of research and teaching.

4. Privatization. Publics have been increasingly privatized. Most public institutions in the U.S. are now at 20% or less of state financial support.

5. Funding. There has been a change in ideology about funding. In the U.S. the economic rationale was that higher education contributed to the public good. There is a trend or shift toward higher education as a private good to the individual. Dr. Altbach pointed out that these economic values cannot be separated. The World Bank promulgated the private good idea, but since its initial inception, has tempered the view. Australia has implemented a student loan model.

6. Faculty qualifications (in many countries, China, e.g., 30% have PhDs, but less than half that have only a B.A.). What incentives can be in place to encourage faculty qualifications. He recommended reading Paying the Professoriate, a recent publication. To be an academic means sacrificing compensation with other professionals. It does not pay for a middle class lifestyle. Retention of faculty. How is productivity measured? In many countries they are civil servants. Very few countries measure faculty productivity.

7. Technology. Future of libraries, distance education, MOOCs. MOOC enrollments are mostly foreign. Dropout rate is high.

8. Internationalization and multi-nationalization. Student and faculty mobility. OECD, 4 million students studying outside their own countries (doubled within 6 years). Global English. How do countries deal with this? More people speak English in India than in Britain. What are the implications for academic publishing in non-native language journals? What is the role of a branch campus? Of dual-degree programs? EU Bologna process-how does that impact cross-border mobility? How are international students treated on campus? What are their special needs? Can they stay?

World Perspectives Shared at Round Table Discussions

Thursday Afternoon Topics

What is the status of student affairs/services in your world?
What are the similarities?
What are the differences?

What are the critical issues, trends that students are facing around the world?

What are the unique challenges in my part of the world?
Are there specific populations concerned with access?

What does student centeredness mean? Is it a construct that is global? What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for student centeredness?

Friday Morning Themes and To Dos

Caitriona and Sharon participated in the group that explored these questions.

Theme D: Student Affairs is expanding globally as a field in higher education. Think about how you might focus on this issue with the intent of making a difference and how we might make the difference through collaboration.
Issues:
1. How will we prepare the next generation of individuals aspiring to Student Affairs?

2. How will research and data undergird our work and status?

3. How will we attend to our own continual professional development?

4. How will we engage in institutional governance (or not) and influence colleagues and students?


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