David Comp, The University of Chicago

David Comp
Senior Adviser for International Initiatives
The College at The University of Chicago

David Comp currently works as the Senior Adviser for International Initiatives in The College at The University of Chicago.  He has also consulted on several international education related projects for a variety of institutions and organizations in higher education.  He serves on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Studies in International Education (JSIE) and edits and maintains International Higher Education Consulting Blog.  Additionally, he has co-authored several book chapters and reports on international education topics.  His research focuses on the use of international education for soft power and public diplomacy efforts; methodology of data collection on global student and scholar mobility and on the history of international education exchanges.  He currently serves on the Committee on Outcomes Assessment of the Forum on Education Abroad and has served on multiple task forces and committees for NAFSA including his current role as special adviser to the Research and Scholarship Subcommittee.  He received his B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, his M.S. in Family Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is currently at the dissertation proposal stage in Comparative and International Education at Loyola University Chicago.

Rahul- You founded one of the most popular blogs on international education–International Higher Education Consulting Blog.  Please share how you thought about starting it and what are some of its success factors?
David- Thank you for your generous comments about International Higher Education Consulting Blog (IHEC Blog for short).  Very much appreciated!  I can’t really remember why I started IHEC Blog back in February 2007.  Around that time I started a consulting business focusing on international education so I could occasionally work on small side projects and I had been reading many business/entrepreneurial magazines, web articles and blog posts and I learned more about the value and power that various new media tools can have so one night I just started IHEC Blog.  In a way, the content that I post to IHEC Blog has been a part of my practice and contribution to the field since I entered in 2000 but in the early days of my professional career I posted items of interest and discussion pieces to listservs instead.  IHEC Blog helps keep all of my content together in one location and serves as an archive.  I still post to the various listservs and related networks in the field but not as often.  My IHEC Blog activities tie in with other new media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Rahul- You have been actively engaged with the international educational exchanges. How would you describe your experiences with exchange programs with Indian institutions? What are some of the opportunities and challenges in establishing sustainable partnerships with Indian institutions?
David- While my experiences with Indian institutions is limited, the interactions I’ve had with colleagues and students from India have been wonderful.  All of the U.S. students that I have talked to about their study and/or research experiences in India have had nothing but positive things to say about the institutions where they studied and the regions of the country that they studied in.  India is such a large country with a significant population size and I think that both of these variables offer tremendous opportunities as well as challenges in establishing sustainable partnerships with Indian institutions.  What I mean is that with India being such a large country with so many young people who are eager to expand their educational horizons the opportunities for establishing partnerships with Indian institutions is ripe with possibilities.  Conversely, with so many opportunities for partnerships it takes much longer to sort through all of the possibilities to determine what partnerships will be most beneficial for both institutions.  I imagine the same goes for Indian institutions looking to establish partnerships in the United States as we also have a large student population and a significant number of higher education institutions and sorting through all of the options to find the appropriate fit is an important yet laborious process.

Rahul- What are the top two trends you are witnessing in campus internationalization strategies?
David- One trend over the past few years that has become quite interesting to me is the establishment of branch campuses across the globe.  It will be quite interesting to see how these branch campuses and collaborations such as Education City in Doha, Qatar develop and especially in the current economic climate.

Another development that has caught my attention over the past couple years is the focus on the economic impact of international education (primarily focusing on the inflow of international students).  The economic impact of international education is certainly a focus at the national level but we are now seeing states/provinces, counties and even cities paying close attention to this issue.  For example, the Aberdeen City Council (Scotland) issued a briefing paper in 2008 entitled “The economic impact of international students in Aberdeen City”.  The Aberdeen City briefing paper is just one example of this new and interesting trend in campus internationalization strategies and one I will continue to follow and post about to IHEC Blog about in the future.