Trends, insights and research to inform growth and innovation strategies in international higher education.

January 29, 2014

Founding Vice Chancellor of NYU Shanghai on making universities more transnational

International branch campuses are resource-intensive, complex endeavors, especially in the context of the emergence of technology-enabled learning models. They become even more complex when reputation is involved, forcing some universities to reassess their investments and global expansion goals. However, two recent ventures which have been successful in taking their grand ideas to implementation, despite obstacles, are--Yale NUS and NYU Shanghai (disclosure: I also teaching graduate seminar at NYU Steinhardt on International Perspectives in Education Reform). Here is the interview with Prof. Jeffrey Lehman on his leadership experiences with NYU Shanghai. - Rahul Choudaha

Jeffrey S. Lehman, the founding vice chancellor of NYU Shanghai, previously served as founding dean of the Peking University School of Transnational Law, president of Cornell University, dean of the University of Michigan Law School, a professor of law and public policy at the University of Michigan, a practicing lawyer, and law clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and First Circuit Chief Judge Frank M. Coffin. He has received the Friendship Award from the People’s Republic of China, the National Equal Justice Award from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., an honorary doctorate from Peking University, and several honorary professorships.

Rahul: Please share the context and genesis of NYU Shanghai with our readers. As the Vice Chancellor of the University, what are your strategic priorities for next three years?
Prof. Lehman: NYU Shanghai reflects the fusion of two powerful desires. China’s leadership was eager to sponsor experiments in higher education that would better nurture qualities of critical skepticism and original analysis. And NYU was eager to complete its transformation into a networked university in which students from around the world share an educational experience that requires them to study in two or more of the world’s most important cities over the course of their undergraduate education. The next three years will continue to be building years for us. We have the opportunity (very unusual in contemporary higher education) to add scores of permanent faculty to our community. Since these appointments will shape both our teaching culture and the research contributions we make over the next several decades, we view each one as a precious investment.

Rahul: How would you describe your experiences, thus far, in launching an institution of excellence in China (challenges, surprise, opportunities etc.)? What are your couple of recommendations for higher education institutions interested in offering transnational education?
Prof. Lehman: I have been very fortunate to participate in two experiments where my Chinese partners really “got it.” Before agreeing to come to China, I was not certain how dedicated my Chinese colleagues would be to core values like meritocracy, academic freedom, research integrity, intellectual risk-taking, etc. In both cases, I was dealt colleagues straight from central casting. Any higher education institution that wants to expand its presence in transnational education should (a) articulate for the entire community why it wants to do so, (b) articulate what sacrifices (financial, intellectual bandwidth, opportunity costs, etc.) it is prepared to make in order to secure those benefits, (c) ascertain which external partners will be in a position to determine the venture’s success or failure, and (d) evaluate those partners with the same kind of rigor that is devoted to determining whether a colleague should be awarded tenure.
Rahul: If you have to distill your extensive university leadership career into top two lessons what would they be? In other words, what would be your leadership lessons for achieving success in global higher education?
Prof. Lehman: Quality research and teaching are life-consuming activities for serious faculty members, and so they depend upon the university’s academic leadership to keep them advised about which changes in the university’s environment will be creating the most significant challenges and opportunities in the years ahead. The academic leaders I admire the most have a knack for recognizing those changes and for articulating to their faculty colleagues possible ways to propel the university’s underlying values forward. We happen to be living in a time when the next generation of adults will need to have developed their abilities to work in multicultural partnerships to a much higher level of refinement than their forbears. For that reason, every university president I know is grappling with the question of how to make their university more transnational, without taking on unaffordable costs and without jeopardizing other commitments that help define their institutions.
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January 28, 2014

GRE and GMAT test taker volume comparison for international students

Number of international graduate students coming to the US had been growing at a slower pace as compared to number of undergraduate students. Here is the data snapshot of leading markets by test-taker volume for GRE and GMAT. It is sorted by top markets for GRE test-takers.

The chart suggests that China is the most important international market for GMAC, while India is most important for GRE. At the same time, it shows opportunities of growth for GRE in China, especially for business programs. Iranians are mostly taking GRE for non-business programs and have shown significant increase in recent years. Taiwan is primarily a GMAT market, again indicating opportunities for GRE for business programs. 

Here is a related post "What institutional drivers explain different enrollment trend of Indian and Chinese graduate students in the US?"

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January 16, 2014

Comparative data on enrollment of Chinese and Indian students in US, UK and Australia

Drivers of mobility of international students are complex, which makes it even more difficult to devise effective, long term recruitment strategies. Consider the case of the global mobility of top two sending countries--China and India. While the growth of Chinese students to major destinations is a clear growth trend, many are still perplexed with decline in the enrollment of Indian students. This becomes evident from the comparison of Indian and Chinese student enrollment in top three destinations--Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Data on International Student Enrollment  in US, UK and Australia
Comparative Data on Enrollment of Chinese and Indian Students in US, UK and Australia

Here are some of the trends:
  1. Number of Chinese students showed a consistent pattern of growth, while Indian students showed a consistent decline
  2. Number of Chinese students enrolling in the US increased at the fastest rate, while number of Indian students in Australia declined at the sharpest rate
  3. Indian student mobility is highly concentrated in the US followed by UK and Australia. Seventy-three percent of all Indian students headed to the US, UK or Australia were enrolled in the US.
  4. Chinese enrollment is more diversified with US as the preferred destination followed by Australia and the UK. Fifty-seven percent of all Chinese students headed to the US, UK or Australia were enrolled in the US
  • What are the implications for international student recruitment strategies?
  • What are the reasons for decline of Indian students going abroad to study in the US, Australia and UK?

Related readings:

Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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January 11, 2014

Engaging with Senior International Officers in higher education and their comprehensive internationalization strategies

I am honored and delighted to be elected as the Chair for NAFSA's International Education Leadership Knowledge Community (IELKC). IELKC serves knowledge, skills and networking needs of aspiring, new and experienced senior international officers (SIO) who lead comprehensive internationalization in a diverse institutional settings ranging from community colleges to doctoral research universities, based in the US and abroad. I look forward to working with NAFSA members and attending Washington Leadership Meeting (WLM).

Most of the readers of this blog are already aware of NAFSA, however, for the uninitiated, "NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. NAFSA's 10,000 members are located at more than 3,500 institutions worldwide, in over 150 countries."

Here is must read article published in International Educator magazine on the profile of SIOs and their increasingly important role played on university campuses.

Related resources:
Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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Get in touch with Dr. Choudaha for speaking opportunities, consulting engagements, and media inquiries.

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