by Charles E Phelps
University Professor and Provost Emeritus, University of Rochester
TIAA-CREF Institute Fellow
November 2007 |
International economic exchange has increased rapidly in recent decades, fueled by technologies such as the Internet and computers and by regularized reduction of trade barriers through international treaties. How much (and in what ways) will this affect higher education? The U.S. has had a long-standing position as the world leader both in education at the baccalaureate and graduate and professional levels and also in the research activity that parallels this educational effort. Part of the U.S. advantage has been the keenly competitive nature of U.S. higher education, which finely hones the excellence of its colleges and universities. But that competition is now turning world-wide. A number of steps can help U.S. higher education adjust to and gain from the growing internationalization of higher education, including internationalization of our curricula, and increased investment in specialized services for international students (ESL, immigration support. and cultural assistance). Diversification of our colleges and universities at every level (faculty, students and staff) along international dimensions will become crucial not only in the U.S. maintaining its “share” of the world market, but most importantly in the ways we prepare future leaders of our society for the globalized world in which they will live and lead.