Challenges and Opportunities: The Future of International Higher Education in the U.S.

Abstract

Higher education in the U.S. is undergoing major shifts. There are questions surrounding the role of higher education, its value, and its public mission. Decreased funding for basic research and increased governmental interventions are also emerging, as are questions about freedom of speech. The perceived diminishing value of higher education and the often-visible rhetoric of anti-globalization only marginalize higher education further. There is discussion about the eventual stratification of U.S. public research universities, arising from the decline in both federal and state funding. Finally, threats to pension and tenure systems generate increased mobility (if not exodus) of faculty from most affected states.

The challenges to higher education in the U.S. are directly related to the vital international dimensions of higher education. Both the amplified need and desire to collaborate across borders and disciplines, and the demands for students’ preparedness for a global era and for expanding student access to international, intercultural, and global opportunities are at the forefront of considerations. Simultaneously, the U.S. is faced with a declining share of international student enrollment. These factors, combined with the rather slow integration of technology into teaching and learning, all pose a threat to the future global standing of the U.S. higher education.