Rationale and Risk Considerations: Establishing Transnational Higher Education Provisions or International Branch Campuses Abroad

Rationale and Risk Considerations: Establishing Transnational Higher Education Provisions or International Branch Campuses Abroad

Eng Kee Sia (Management Development Institute of Singapore, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0169-5.ch010
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This chapter attempts to categorise the international Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) based on the International Branch Campus (IBC) establishments with the application of both the Institution Distance on risk consideration as well as the Uppsala Model of internationalisation. As the establishment of an IBC involves a sequence of incremental decisions to be made by a foreign HEI, this chapter reveals such decision-making processes, especially on the rationale and risk considerations for establishing an IBC, and proposes a modified institutional distance to synergise with the Uppsala model. Much of the data have been gathered from an in depth literature search. The purpose of this chapter is to provide university leaders, economic strategists, policy makers, entrepreneurs, practitioners and decision-makers within HEIs consider the risk reduction strategies that are practiced by other HEIs before embarking on establishing an IBC in a foreign country.
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While internationalisation of HE is not a new phenomenon, establishing IBCs is an increasingly discussed strategy of foreign HEIs. The history of IBC establishments can be traced back to the middle of the 20th Century when the US universities took the lead in setting up IBCs in the 1950s especially in Europe and Japan. One representative example is Johns Hopkins University, which established its branch campus in Italy in 1950 (Kosmutzky & Kruchen, 2014). Subsequently, the pace of further development of IBCs was slow. There were only five IBCs established in the 1970s, and not many more in the 1980s and 1990s (Krollpfeiffer & Kosmützky, 2012). At present, there are approximately 200 IBCs (C-Bert, 2014) mostly situated in the Asian countries, notably China, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These host countries have incentivised prestigious foreign HEIs from Australia, France, Germany, the UK, and the US, to establish IBCs in their key cities at an increasing pace in the last two decades (Murray et al, 2011). At present, the UAE has the largest number of IBCs (n = 33) followed by China (n = 32).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Culture: The set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual, and emotional features of a society or a social group. Culture encompasses art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions, behaviours, and beliefs.

Joint Degree: A degree jointly offered and jointly awarded by more than one institution. A joint degree program leads to a single credential or degree conferred by all participating institutions. All institutions share responsibility for all aspects of the program’s delivery and quality. The curriculum of the joint degree program is under the direction of a joint program faculty, with representation from each participating institution.

Overseas Branch Campus: A separate campus of a college or university whose main campus is in a different country. Formal accreditation is typically through the country where the main campus is situated, and the academic structure typically mirrors that of the main campus. Unlike study abroad programs, overseas campuses offer degrees. They may be aimed primarily at host country students or at students from the country of the sponsoring institution.

Cross-Cultural: Pertaining to: (1) interaction between members of different cultures; (2) the phenomena involved in crossing cultures, such as the adaptation to different societies and the impacts this has on the members of each culture; and (3) the study of a particular group (or culture) and assumptions about how this group compares to other groups along a variety of dimensions, such as individualism and collectivism, communication styles etc.

Intercultural: The dynamics involved when people with different lived experiences (cultures) interact. The meaning of this term is derived directly from its components: ‘inter’ and ‘culture’. ‘Inter’ refers to between, while ‘culture’ is considered to reflect the lived experiences of an individual based on associations with a language, ethnicity, and nationality, as examples. Although ‘intercultural’ is often treated as a synonym for ‘cross-cultural’, this is not entirely accurate.

Partner: One of the parties involved in the processes of sending students abroad or receiving students abroad (when at least two parties are involved). For example, all of the following are potential partners: a home institution, a host institution, an independent provider, a consortium, and a travel or logistics provider.

Program Articulation: Inter-institutional arrangements whereby two or more institutions agree to define jointly a study programme in terms of study credits and credit transfer, so that students pursuing their studies in one institution have their credits recognised by the other in order to continue their studies (‘twinning programs’ and ‘articulation agreements’ etc.). These may or may not lead to joint or double degrees.

Education Abroad: Education that occurs outside the participant’s home country. Besides study abroad, examples include such international experiences as work, volunteering, non-credit internships, and directed travel, as long as these programs are driven to a significant degree by learning goals.

Internationalization of Higher Education: A broad and all-encompassing concept that integrates many different activities such as all forms of academic mobility, research collaboration, international development projects in higher education, curricular aspects in terms of the scope of programs and courses offered or changes in curriculum of specific disciplines.

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