What's Next? Possibilities and Probabilities in the Future of International Higher Education
Higher education continues its evolution, but towards what new reality? Shifting student demographics, changing demands from the labor market, emerging educational technologies, growing national demands for accountability and quality assurance, and declining public funding, are among the global trends that are requiring colleges and universities to respond by transforming longstanding processes, and by questioning long held assumptions.
Higher education leaders called upon to navigate these tempests are increasingly expected to be futurists and strategists, among other roles. As futurists, higher education leaders must anticipate forces that may drive change over the next one, five, ten, or more years. As strategists, the same leaders must prepare their institutions to respond and innovate in preparation for likely events. Either of these roles presumes reasonably steady change; there may be the occasional disruption, such as economic challenges that strain resources, but the previously identified trends will reassert themselves, eventually.
Global megatrends that will affect higher education as an entire sector will necessarily have particular impacts on internationalization of the academy and the senior international officers who lead this. How, for example, will universities align such perennial objectives as broadening access to higher education with our own traditional goals, such as increasing participation in education abroad? How closely will internationalization plans align with expectations regarding demonstrated ROI on a college degree? How will rapidly developing new learning technology affect the future of campus internationalization? Which new players or external agents as yet unknown will become our institutional partners in leading change? These are just a few of the questions that may challenge senior international officers in the possible, probable yet mostly unpredictable future. AIEA invites submissions for sessions that consider international higher education leaders as both futurists and strategists.
We seek proposals that anticipate trends that may directly and indirectly affect international higher education in the nearer and longer term. We particularly invite sessions that examine how senior international officers can lead innovation in a time of change.
NB: AIEA defines senior international officers (SIOs) as those individuals within an institution of higher education who are charged with leading and facilitating internationalization efforts. AIEA recognizes that many other terms may be used to reference these leaders, depending on the cultural context (examples include International Relations Officer, International Relations Manager, International Liaison Officer, and so on). We invite you to incorporate AIEA’s recently published Standards of Professional Practice for International Education Leaders and Senior International Officers into your proposals as warranted. The standards are available online.
sios at futurists
In order to develop sound strategy, the SIO as a successful futurist must be able to separate realistic expectations from unfounded hype and “wishful thinking.” What are the trends that will shape directions in international higher education? How does the SIO read data, receive signals, and recognize emergent trends, while relentlessly testing his or her own potentially faulty assumptions? What future do we envision and what role will internationalization play in this future?
SIOS AS STRATEGISTS
The SIO is expected to provide effective leadership and strategic vision for institutional internationalization. How can SIOs develop, lead, and communicate a steady internationalization strategy while nimbly responding to a changing environment? How do emergent trends in higher education drive internationalization strategy? Who are new or unexpected partners with whom we engage? How do SIOs cultivate an entrepreneurial culture and practice in order to secure financial and other support needed to advance internationalization?
SIOS AS INNOVATORS
Higher education has a reputation, justified or not, for chronically resisting change. What is the role for the SIO in cultivating a culture of institutional innovation? What are examples of highly innovative leadership in response to trends affecting international higher education? How might innovation enhance the various aspects of SIO responsibilities, such as managing partnerships, risk management, recruitment, curriculum, study abroad, intercultural learning, faculty engagement, and working with administrators and other stakeholders?
SIOS AS INSTITUTIONAL DISRUPTERS
Positive disrupters challenge current organizational habits in order to promote salutary change. They can change how their institutions think, behave, do business, learn and deliver services. How do SIOs help create a culture that tolerates (and necessarily manages) risk, and build an infrastructure that produces transformative solutions?
SIOS AS EDUCATORS
SIOs have an obligation to prepare students for participation in an increasingly interconnected, diverse, and continually changing world. How are trends driving change in higher education affecting the role of SIO as an educator? What can SIOs do to promote global teaching and learning in context of current, emerging, and future geopolitical trends? What is the role of interdisciplinarity in global teaching and learning? What assumptions do we need to challenge? Whose voices are missing in the educational process?
SIOS AS ETHICAL LEADERS
SIOs provide leadership for internationalization that advances their institution’s aims of teaching, research, and service. What are current and future ethical issues that will challenge SIOs? How, in a time of change, do SIOs provide reliable leadership for partnerships, risk management, recruitment, curriculum, study abroad, intercultural learning, and faculty engagement? How will SIOs as campus leaders respond to growing demands for higher education to provide greater access and demonstrable value for the degree? How do SIOs lead internationalization with consideration of equity and inclusion?
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