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ENGINEERING BULLETIN

Publisher: All-Russian public organization "Academy of Engineering Sciences named after A.M. Prokhorov".

Graduate Programs Have International Bent but Struggle to Produce Global Thinkers

17.12.2012

While other industries talk about globalizing, higher education, particularly in the United States, has long been heavily international, drawing students and faculty members from around the world. Still, universities, here and elsewhere, need to do more to ensure that the next generation of scholars and researchers has an international perspective and the ability to work in diverse settings, said speakers at the annual meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools.

Such skills are increasingly important as classrooms fill with even more international students and as many academics pursue careers abroad. They are equally crucial, speakers at the four-day conference noted, for the growing number of doctorate recipients who pursue careers outside the academy.

But as Liviu Matei, senior vice president of Central European University, in Hungary, pointed out, although universities around the world face a common challenge in cultivating globally minded graduates, the solutions may differ by institution, country, and region. For example, efforts to encourage student mobility within Europe have led to a "brain drain" for institutions like his, in the former Soviet bloc, as talented homegrown students who choose to study elsewhere in Europe outnumber Western Europeans who go to universities in Central and Eastern Europe.

Likewise, Brazil plans to send more than 100,000 students abroad, many at the graduate level, on government scholarships through its new Science Without Borders program. But what of those students who don't go overseas? How will they get an international experience? said Vahan Agopyan, provost for postgraduate studies at the University of São Paulo. Unlike the United States, where fully a third of doctoral students are foreign-born, most students in Brazil's graduate programs are Brazilian and plan to pursue their academic careers there.

Despite significant international enrollments, North American universities don't always do a good job of using the presence of international students and faculty members to globalize their campuses, several speakers said. Foreign graduate students can too easily become "ghettoized" in their academic programs and research, said Graham Carr, vice president for research and graduate studies at Concordia University, in Montreal.

source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

 
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