Guru Mantra: William Brustein, Ohio State University

Nov 11, 2010

Dr. William I. Brustein
Vice Provost for Global Strategies and International Affairs

Dr. William I. Brustein is Vice Provost for Global Strategies and International Affairs and Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and History at the Ohio State University. He has served previously as the senior international officer at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Brustein has published widely in the areas of political extremism and ethnic/religious/racial prejudice. His most recent books are The Logic of Evil: the Social Origins of the Nazi Party, 1925 to 1933 (Yale University Press, 1996) and Roots of Hate: Anti-Semitism in Europe Before the Holocaust (Cambridge University Press, 2003). He is past-president of the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) and current Chair of NAFSA’s International Education Leadership Knowledge Community. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Association for Studies in International Education, the editorial advisory boards of the Journal of Studies in International Education, the International Education Report, and the executive committee of the Commission on International Programs of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). In 2003 he was appointed to the NASULGC’s Task Force on International Education and helped draft the published report entitled A Call to Leadership: The Presidential Role in Internationalizing the University.

Rahul- You have proposed the concept of Gateways as a part of the strategy to create a global university. Please share how Gateway approach is more efficient and relevant as compared to other options you considered?
Dr. Brustein- The gateway approach is designed to strengthen several priorities of the university including faculty teaching and research collaborations, international institutional partnerships, international educational experiences for our students, recruitment of international students and scholars, international alumni networking, cultivation of donor prospects, and the global competitiveness of Ohio companies. We examined several models of international engagement (e.g., establishing offshore campuses, setting up an office at an overseas university, etc.) to further our list of priorities and came to the conclusion that the gateway strategy was the most cost effective, comprehensive, and flexible option for our university. Our designation of gateway sites emerged from a systematic examination of current international activities and engagement as well as future interests. As the Land-Grant Flagship University of Ohio we took into consideration countries in which Ohio companies have significant international presence. The current list of gateway locations for Ohio State includes China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Poland, Great Britain and sub-Saharan East Africa. A central component of the gateway strategy is the establishment of an office within the commercial hub of each gateway region. Rather than purchase space we have set out to rent space-- modest in size but capable of allowing us to facilitate and promote our international priorities. Our aim is to select locations within the central business districts easily accessible to our faculty, students, alumni, friends, and corporate partners. An eventual goal for each gateway office is to secure a business license which will allow us to design and offer executive training programs for Ohio and other multinationals for the purpose of enhancing their global competiveness within the gateway region. These programs will be designed and offered by our faculty in areas of demand for which we have highly-regarded expertise (e.g., food safety, foreign corrupt practices act, STEM training, etc.).

Rahul- The first Gateway in China is already operational and you plan to establish a Gateway in India in summer 2011. What are the some of the key learning from the China experience and how do you plan to approach Indian market?
Dr. Brustein- Our China Gateway office located in Shanghai has exceeded our expectations. It opened in February 2010 with the appointment of Ms. Phoebe You as our director. Since February 2010 we have witnessed a tripling of the number of active Ohio State alumni in China, a gigantic leap in the numbers of Chinese students who have applied to Ohio State for undergraduate and graduate admissions, an uptick in the cultivation of donor prospects, a significant increase in faculty collaborations as evidenced by new MOUs with Nanjing University, Shanghai Jiao-Tong University, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and new interests on the part of our students to study in China and to seek out internships. We are now working closely with several Ohio and western multinational companies to customize executive training programs for their employees. Among key lessons learned from the experience so far with respect to the establishment of the China Gateway, I would list that one needs to stay quite alert to the sudden changes in governmental regulations regarding the operations of foreign offices in China, that relationship building is critical to a university’s success in China, and that designing executive training programs for corporate clients in China requires a considerable investment of time and an understanding that the kinds of offerings which might appeal to corporate clients in Brazil and India may need to be customized to the Chinese market. As we move forward with our plans to open up our gateway office in Mumbai, we feel that many of the lessons gained from our effort in China will enable us to move more quickly with regard to the design and launch of executive training programs. Rather than pursue a liaison office initially as we did in China, our current thinking is that we will apply right away for a PLC license for the requirements for such a license differ significantly between China and India. Among the types of executive training programs we are envisioning for India we are working with our faculty on offerings in the area of sustainable development, STEM education, food and water quality, supply chain logistics and management and work force development.

Rahul- You have extensive leadership experience in building international partnerships. What are the two critical success factors in building sustainable international partnerships?
Dr. Brustein- I fear that many international partnerships have been undertaken without adequate strategic thinking about the expected benefits and risks and how these global partnerships contribute to the teaching, discovery, and engagement missions of the university. There is no question that global institutional partnerships constitute a major building block of the global university for they can buttress and enrich the three principal missions of a university. However, frequently valuable resources are expended on establishing a partnership with a foreign institution without the partners sitting down in advance and asking what does each expect to gain from the partnerships and how much does each partner expect to contribute. For the partnership to have a realistic chance of succeeding it requires that each side sees it as adding value to its core priorities. What objectives should a university pursue in establishing global partnerships? It makes little sense for our universities to attempt to set up institutional partnerships in as many countries as possible. It is much better to have a few substantial partnerships than to have many superficial ones. When deciding upon potential partners think of how that partner’s research and teaching strengths could complement those of your institution. Once you have constituted a viable institutional partnership think of ways your institution can build upon the initial relationship both vertically and horizontally. Again, the primary motivation for expansion has to be based on mutual self interests. A relationship initiated from complementary faculty research interests in chemical engineering can expand to include team-taught courses in chemical engineering and the development of a professional dual degree master’s as well as become a good starting point to explore the possibilities of teaching and research collaborations in other fields, exchange of faculty and students, recruitment of international students, development of an alumni chapter, fundraising initiatives, a portal for study abroad programs for that world region, and dual or joint degrees. The essential point is to see how other institutional objectives might be fulfilled by expanding upon the inaugural relationship.

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