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Center for International Higher Education

Philip G. Altbach


Logo of the blog The World View

The World View is a blog by the Center for International Higher Education posted on Inside Higher Ed. The following are blog posts that Philip Altbach has contributed. To see all blog posts, including posts from other authors, please visit The World View here.

August 17, 2014

The Elite of the Elite at Peking University

Peking U. will soon open Yenching Academy, a new one-year master's program in Chinese studies open to Chinese and international students and taught in English.

May 27, 2014

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Frequently, when work is done at the request of an organization, government agency, or private firm, and published for public distribution, no author or editor is listed.

May 20, 2014

Essay on this year's controversies over commencement speakers

Controversial speakers and colleges leaders, not just those protesting, need to change their attitudes, writes Philip Altbach.

February 4, 2014

The Volatility of International Student Flows

More countries and institutions thinking of international students as commodities to be traded are contributing to more volatility in the flow of international students, and this may have consequences for budgets and academic programs.

November 17, 2013

World Bank’s Africa Initiative: Forgetting the Faculty

The World Bank has announced a “Centers of Excellence” initiative that will provide $158 million to a select group of African universities.

June 16, 2013

Politicians, Fake Degrees and Plagiarism

Are politicians more prone to this kind of hanky-panky than others in society? Is degree fakery and plagiarism a global epidemic?

November 13, 2012

World Bank’s Africa Initiative: Forgetting the Faculty

The World Bank has announced a “Centers of Excellence” initiative that will provide $158 million to a select group of African universities.

April 05, 2012

Down the Slippery Slope—The New Commercialism and the Decline of Standards

The United States is truly moving into the era of the commercialization of international higher education. International students, particularly, are being seen as “cash cows” that can bring in needed revenues at a time of austerity.

March 25, 2012

Philip Altbach: A New Twist— In-Country Branch Campuses

With persistent pressure for increasing income entrepreneurial universities may pounce on any new market niche if it promises potential students. Domestic branch campuses are yet another element in the increasing commercialization of higher education.

March 13, 2012

Altbach & Salmi: International Advisory Committees—A Good Idea?

The latest accouterment of world-class universities, or those aspiring to world-class status, is an international advisory group. The useful goals of such committees, which meet on an occasional basis to review and evaluate the institution’s plans and performance, include bringing new ideas and analysis from the experience of academe beyond the borders and especially from the pinnacles of higher education globally, and hopefully assist the institution to understand itself and to improve. The committee members have a continuing relationship with the university and, presumably, a commitment to its welfare and improvement. 

February 19, 2012

China Has Right Approach to Foreign Collaboration

Observers note that there is increased scrutiny of foreign academic initiatives in China. There has been some dissatisfaction with unfulfilled promises and poor quality by some foreign providers. Municipal and provincial authorities, often enthusiastically luring foreign institutions, sometimes turn a blind eye to issues of quality, and it is possible that corrupt practices might be involved.

January 15, 2012

A Plague of Journals

Established indexed journals have been inundated by submissions and many journals accept as few as 10%. Universities increasingly demand more publications as conditions for promotion, salary increases, or even job security. As a result, the large majority of submissions must seek alternative publication outlets. After all, being published somewhere is better than not be published at all.

December 25, 2011

India’s Foreign Providers Legislation—Breaking News

Despite a new bill headed for parliament, the regulatory framework for permitting overseas institutions to operate in India seems as murky as ever. Observers, inside and out of India, will watch with interest the next steps of this seemingly unending an confusing saga.

November 09, 2011

BRIC Realities: The Need for Academic Culture

Recent research concerning higher education in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, China, India) reflects as many differences as there are in economic models and cultures But one similarity among these emerging economic powerhouses is the urgent need to improve academic culture. All four countries aspire to being recognized as home to world-class research-focused universities, but this class of institution requires a vibrant, merit-based academic culture.

November 04, 2011

Essay on the U.S.-India higher education relationship

What can India learn from American higher education? Not much, writes Philip G. Altbach.

September 27, 2011

The UK Tightens Immigration Regulations for International Students -- Good News -- Others Need to Follow Suit

The British government recently tightened up visa regulations for international students. Australia is backing and forthing in an attempt to define appropriate visa regulations. More stringent scrutiny of applicants for student visas inevitably risks a decline in the number of incoming international students. The British Home Office predicts that the measures will result in 52,000 fewer visas/year being issued to international students—a net reduction of 260,000 during the next five years.

September 07, 2011

The World View - Doctoral Education: Too Much?

A recent OECD report on doctoral education points to an oversupply in some countries—mainly in North America and Europe. The report notes that many PhD holders cannot find academic jobs and that perhaps there is an overproduction of doctorates. It is useful to have global attention paid to doctoral education, which has expanded significantly in recent years, but largely without planning or coordination in most countries.

August 09, 2011

Agent/Recruiter Arrested: Shenanigans Continue

An alarming story from India illustrates the continuing and unending problems monitoring the activities of agents and recruiters working in developing countries for colleges and universities in the United States and elsewhere. The head of the largest international student recruitment company in the Indian state of Punjab was recently arrested on a multiplicity of charges, including embezzlement (of more than $1 million) and forgery.

July 15, 2011

The Branch Campus Bubble?

The outposts being created around the world are vulnerable in many ways, writes Philip G. Altbach.

July 05, 2011

Communicating About Higher Education

A conference in Toronto last month focused on higher education and the media. Organized by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations and other groups, the event considered how information about higher education is communicated—we don’t often think about how higher education is portrayed to the public and to policymakers, or for that matter even how the academic community learns about what is going on in the ever more complex world of higher education.

April 25, 2011

Are Western Countries Tightening Up Visa Requirements Unfairly?

In recent months there have been reports from several countries hinting at a trend towards tightening up visa requirements for international students. The notable current examples are Australia and in April, the UK announced the implementation of new restrictions. The United States implemented dramatically new visa restrictions after 9/11 but has since loosened them significantly. Are these restrictions unfair to students or damaging to higher education? In a word, no.

May 30, 2011

Agents and Recruiters: The Futility of Pretending to Certify Virtue

(Liz Reisberg and Philip G. Altbach) The debate about agents sure has occupied a lot of space in the professional press of late! Mitch Leventhal, Vice Chancellor for Global Affair for the State University of New York, continues to insist that his organization, AIRC, can certify virtue but the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) isn’t buying it.

March 27, 2011

Money and Internationalization: Cautions and Contradictions

Recent discussions raise questions about the financial viability of international higher education ventures.

February 21, 2011

US 'Sham University' Creates Problems in India- and Raises Questions about Internationalization

If it were not so serious, it would be laughable. An American ‘sham university’ enrolled more than 1,500 students from India and enabled them to obtain American visas. The fact that they were not studying at the university, nor even residing anywhere near the place, was eventually discovered by US authorities, who started cracking down on the students. The story is reported in the February 2, 2011 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

December 11, 2010

Who is Teaching in India's Universities?

India faces a severe shortage of teaching staff as it rapidly expands it higher education system. At such top institutions as the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Management, the generation of academics who matured with these schools is now retiring and there isn’t another cohort in the pipeline to take their places. Similarly, there are shortages of well-qualified staff in departments as most Indian universities responsible for graduate (post-graduate) degrees.

November 18, 2010

Advanced Study Institutes: The Top of the Top

A few of the world’s research universities have established Institutes of Advanced Study—small, usually interdisciplinary, centers that bring together scholars and researchers from different fields, sponsor fellowships, invite top academics from other universities to campus, and in general provide intellectual ferment to the sponsoring university.

November 11, 2010

The State of the Rankings

Efforts to evaluate universities from around the world may be flawed, but they aren't going away so they need to be understood, writes Philip G. Altbach.

November 04, 2010

Training University Administrators: Should Management Schools Do It?

It has recently been announced that Yale University will work with the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur and the Indian Institute of Management at Kozhikode to train university leaders.

October 02, 2010

Chinese Contradictions

Recent statistics concerning flows of students from China and Chinese views about migration raise some interesting questions concerning the present and future of Chinese higher education—particularly at the elite levels. Record numbers of Chinese continue to study abroad—270,000 are self-funded and (only) about 25 percent are returning to China, surprising in the context of the economic problems of the West and China’s booming economy (figures come from Willy Lam of the Jamestown Foundation).

August 30, 2010

For-Profit Higher Education Scandals in the United States: International Lessons

Hardly a day goes by in the United States without another report of malfeasance and exploitation by the for-profit education industry. ABC’s national television news featured a story about how the University of Phoenix, owned by the Apollo Group, one of the largest for-profit education corporations, misrepresents job possibilities to prospective students. A story in the New York Times on August 14, 2010 discussed in detail how repayment rates on government backed student loans in the for-profit sector are much lower than in the non-profit sector.

August 23, 2010

Bottom (Line) Feeders

Colleges should stop using agents to recruit and enroll international students, writes Philip G. Altbach.

August 18, 2010

The Company We Keep: A Cautionary Tale

In international higher education, we are judged by the company we keep. Thus, it is of great importance that universities choose their partners carefully, make sure that their “brand” and reputation is protected, and that the partnership provides benefits to all sides.

August 08, 2010

India's Higher Education Quality Deficit

A constant theme in discussions with Indian academics, government officials, and business people concerns the low quality of the country’s rapidly expanding higher education system. India now ranks third in size, after China and the United States. The current cumbersome, and ineffective accrediting system is being dismantled. The government is proposing a new system — how it may work is as yet unclear.

July 26, 2010

Academic Fraud and the Academic Culture in China — and Asia

When The Economist (July 24-30, 2010, p. 43), one of the world’s most influential magazines, devotes attention to academic fraud in China, the issue has reached a high level of international attention. I wrote about this issue in the broader context of Asia’s efforts to gain global academic leadership in my article “Enter the Dragons? Not so Fast” (Times Higher Education, June 17, 2010, pp. 38-39). The Economist points to a number of egregious examples of academic dishonestly, plagiarism, misuse of academic degrees and awards in China.

July 14, 2010

Lessons Learned From Michigan State's Campus in the Gulf

The only surprise about the abrupt closing of Michigan State University’s branch campus in the Gulf is the timing — its demise was remarkably quick. The stated reason for the closing was that enrollments were short of expectations, but no doubt the underlying causes are more substantial. There are, of course, lessons to be learned.

July 01, 2010

Australia's Decline

A decade or more ago, the Australian government decided that international higher education could become a major income producer for the nation. The higher education sector was motivated to make money from international education by government budget cuts — revenue to be made up by entrepreneurial international activity. The essential goal of internationalization was moneymaking.

June 23, 2010

An Introduction

The Center for International Higher Education at Boston College presents a new blog, The World View, which will offer commentary, news, and analysis collected from an international network of experienced observers and researchers — global perspectives by global analysts. The opinions and analyses posted will be written to stimulate reflection and debate on the central issues facing higher education worldwide. Our community of bloggers will provide a wide range of viewpoints and perspectives.

September 15, 2008

The Worst Academic Careers -- Worldwide

Philip G. Altbach and Christine Musselin wonder if things are getting so bad that a new kind of ranking is called for.

May 08, 2006

The Tyranny of Citations

A popular way of comparing scholars and institutions is having unintended negative consequences all over the world, writes Philip G. Altbach.