“International Higher Education’s Scholar-Practitioners: Bridging Research and Practice” published by Symposium Books brings to attention the importance of aligning research and practice in international higher education. The book editors are Bernhard Streitwieser and Anthony C. Ogden, two experienced international educators who pulled together leading “scholar-practitioners” from around the world to realize this pertinent publication. Despite their kind invitation to contribute, I missed the opportunity to be part of this book. However, I had the privilege to collaborate with the editors in different capacities. Berhanrd and I co-authored a piece on assessing the impact of internationalization. I also contributed a chapter on the future of global student mobility with Hans De Wit for Bernhard’s previous book. Tony and I served together on the Editorial Committee of AIEA. Here are the perspectives from the editors on the context, need and flow of the book. They were also interviewed on FreshEd podcast.
– Rahul Choudaha
Q. What gap in the field of international higher education this book aims to address?
This book was driven by an observation that nagged at us for years and we felt needed to finally be written about and put into the open for public discussion. When we looked closely at international education activity, two distinct categories seemed to exist: those who ‘do it’ and those who ‘study it’ – the practitioners and the scholars. Practitioners we felt were viewed as those who facilitate international education activity by managing all the details necessary for ensuring successful mobility and exchange for students and staff, whereas scholars were viewed as those who study the phenomenon and publish research on its meaning and impact but are removed from daily practice. These two groups were given distinct names as if they operated in completely distinct orbits, but we felt that dichotomy was overly simplistic and false and excluded the growing number of hybrid scholar-practitioners or practitioner-scholars—either order is fine—who we see routinely and actively engaging in both kinds of activities. We believed that the idea of the professional who spans both research and practice had for too long been largely overlooked by the academic and administrative structures governing U.S. higher education. We believe that in international higher education activity today there are many who by the very nature of their engagement clearly bridge both areas. It is therefore these bridge builders, these Scholar-Practitioners (SP), that this book set out to explore and profile. In inviting thought pieces and essays from a wide range of commentators in our field, we set out to create an academic, intellectual, and widely broad analysis of the SP as he or she is seen in our field and profession. We think that higher education administrators, researchers, faculty, teachers, policy makers, graduate students, and observers of international higher education will all find this book to be useful in furthering their exposure to pertinent topics and positions related to the internationalization of higher education and the advancement of both the field and the profession of international higher education.
Q. What are the primary objectives of the book?
With this book we wanted to tackle two main goals: first, to open a much-needed dialogue exploring the notion of the SP in international higher education; and second, to create a publication that would support and guide those new to this profession/field and for the growing number of graduate students seeking careers in international education. The intellectual discussions in each chapter take different approaches to exploring the meaning of the SP, while the final chapter shares each contributor’s unique personal story and professional pathway to becoming a scholar-practitioner. We chose to structure the book this way with the hope of inspiring both our peers and our students to appreciate the many different international educator profiles and realize how urgent broad thinking and the liberal utilization of a wide skill set has become. An added message of the book is to caution against international education graduate programs facilitating a linear approach to work in our field and profession. Rather than seeing students enter and leave a program with an unchallenged, single-minded focus, we hope the collective intellectual arguments and personal essays presented in the book will inspire all of us to realize our full potential to work broadly in the field and to utilize our wide skill set to enhance the profession.
Q. Please share how the book is organized and what are some of the highlights?
The book is divided into four major sections. Following a Foreword by Hans de Wit that lays out the broad mandate to engage in an exploration of the notion of the SP, the first section of the book includes chapters that introduce the SP in international higher education in historical and present day perspective. These chapters provide a definition of the SP relevant to international higher education (by Bernhard Streitwieser and Anthony Ogden); then an exploration of the dichotomy of the terms “practitioner” and “scholar” and an argument for a new action agenda (by John Hudzik); then a historical overview highlighting the most notable SPs of international education (by John Heyl), and a chapter identifying where SPs had a significant impact on the field over time (by David Comp). The second section of the book provides context-specific chapters related to the scholar-practitioner in the profession of international education. The section includes perspectives of a senior International Officer (Donna Scarboro), managers of ISSS offices (David Austell), large and small Study Abroad offices (Mandy Reinig) and program curriculum developers (Lou Berends and Giselda Boudin), those working in community colleges focused on internationalization (Rosalind Raby), and a view from the professional associations (Brian Whalen of the Forum on Education Abroad). The third section of the book includes personal essays and narratives intimately related to the role of the SP in advancing international education scholarship and practice in a variety of different settings, and include essays from Bruce La Brack, Elizabeth Brewer, Richard Slimbach, Michael Woolf, Gregory Light, and Jane Edwards. The final section of the book consists of instructional chapters that are related to the education and training of scholar-practitioners in relation to the future of international higher education and include essays by Darla Deardorff, Taylor Woodman and Katherine Punteney, Tamar Breslauer of NAFSA, and Fiona Hunter and Laura Rumbley. The book ends with a collection of short personal narratives that share the diverse pathways each contributor has taken to becoming an SP of international higher education in his or her own right today.
Bernhard Streitwieser is Assistant Professor of International Education at the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Streitwieser earned his PhD in International and Comparative Education from Columbia University, Teachers College, his MS in Applied Linguistics from Georgetown University, and his BA in International Relations and Minor in Spanish from the University of Virginia. He most recently published Internationalisation of Higher Education and Global Mobility in the Oxford Studies in Comparative Education Series with Symposium Books (2014).
Anthony C. Ogden is currently the executive director of Education Abroad and Exchanges and an adjunct assistant professor in Educational Policy and Evaluation Studies at the University of Kentucky. From May, he will move to Michigan State University, where he will direct one of the largest education abroad programs in the country. Dr. Ogden earned his bachelor’s degree from Berea College, master’s degree in International and Intercultural Management at the SIT Graduate Institute, and his Ph.D. at The Pennsylvania State University in Educational Theory and Policy with a dual title in Comparative and International Education. Ogden is a career international educator with numerous publications in the area of U.S. education abroad.