A Global American University: How Midwest University Exports Education to the Periphery

A Global American University: How Midwest University Exports Education to the Periphery

Heather Sweeney (University of Missouri, Columbia, USA) and Edwin Nii Bonney (University of Missouri, Columbia, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3796-1.ch013
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Abstract

Today's higher education institutions are engaged in fierce competition over research dollars, attracting students, and reputation. And the institutions of the Global North have begun to demonstrate a proactive desire to drive the academic exchange occurring on the global stage via the creation of strategic partnerships abroad. The purpose of this chapter is to understand the role played by American universities in the internationalization of higher education as national systems of education respond to globalization. Through a discourse analysis, the authors apply world systems theory to the analysis of a single U.S. institution with several American institutions abroad in multiple periphery societies and ask the following questions: How do U.S. higher education institutions define global education? And in what ways do U.S. higher education institutions contribute to the countries they operate in?
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Introduction

It is most appropriate to begin with a clear understanding of what is meant by the term globalization and by the term internationalization when discussing the higher education landscape of today. Throughout this chapter, the term globalization refers to the culmination of an increasingly integrated world economy, the rapid developments in both information and communication technology, and the emergence of a global network facilitated by the dominance of the English language across most of our knowledge communities (Altbach, 2007; De Wit, 2011). This particular definition of globalization acknowledges the broad economic, technological, and scientific realities of our 21st century world (Altbach, Reisber, & Rumbley, 2009). While often used interchangeably, globalization and internationalization are not one in the same but rather entwined (De Wit, 2011). Internationalization is the strategy used by societies, governments, and institutions to navigate globalization. This strategy is most visible in the policies and programs implemented in response to the distinctive demands of globalization (Altbach, 2006; Altbach, Reisber, & Rumbley, 2009; De Wit, 2011). One such challenge facing higher education institutions today is the need to prepare graduates to successfully engage in a globalized society. A challenge which has led many higher education institutions to incorporate an international, intercultural, or global dimension in the purpose, functions or delivery of programs (Altbach, Reisber, & Rumbley, 2009; Knight, 2003). As the authors seek to build an understanding of how the higher education landscape has responded to globalization, it is the process of internationalization, its many components, and its application which will be at the center of the discussion.

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the role played by American universities in the internationalization of higher education as national systems of education respond to globalization. Through a discourse analysis, the authors apply world systems theory to the analysis of a typical liberal arts university located in the Midwestern region of the U.S. with several campuses abroad in multiple periphery societies. By focusing on a single American institution, the authors can engage in an in-depth examination of the pervasiveness of hegemonic discourse occurring across the individual universities of each periphery locality.

The chapter will begin with an overview of the historical development of U.S. institutions abroad. Following this overview is an introduction to the university and the institutions approach to global education, then the authors present the world systems theory framework and a review of methods. Following the methodology, the authors review the data collected via promotional videos, institutional websites, and institutional documents such as mission statements, course catalogs, organizational structuring, and vision statements. The analysis asks questions about local involvement in the establishment of American institutions abroad, is this global American University U.S. centric? As a conclusion to the chapter, the authors put forth implications and discuss opportunities for further examination rooted in this chapters findings.

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