International Education Must be Imbedded in Campus Life
November 07, 2011
The article, “How Presidents Can Foster an International Culture on Campus,” joins contributions by Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee and Pace University President Stephen J. Friedman in debuting the AIEA series. The association will publish monthly articles on international education online at www.aieaworld.org and ultimately prepare an eBook and a printed compilation of the viewpoints.
In announcing the perspective series, AIEA through its website said, “We believe that presidents listen to other presidents and that this may be a way of making more presidents aware of the importance of advocating for a global education agenda on their campuses.”
In his article, Rallo wrote, “Any institution’s quest for relevance in the changing landscape of higher education takes place in a triangle formed by public perception, student demographics and financial resources.”
He indicated many universities face challenges on each side of that triangle as public perceptions about the importance of international education have declined in favor of greater education in science, technology, engineering and math in the wake of 9/11. Additionally, changes in student demographics have meant reductions in traditional language education, such as Spanish, French and Italian, without increases in emerging language needs such as Arabic, Korean and Chinese. Just as significantly, financial support at both the federal and state levels for international education has declined.
To counter this trend and revitalize international education, Rallo wrote that university presidents “must affirm that appreciation and awareness of international culture” as well as “the linguistic and cultural growth occasioned by international studies” remain prime components of intellectual growth.
Rallo concluded that in their roles as heads of universities, “Presidents must strive to make international culture at their institutions ‘untouchable’ by embedding its presence in the campus narrative, rather than setting it apart.”