David Eastwood (guest writer), vice chancellor of the University of Birmingham in Britain, WorldWise: Commentary from globetrotting higher-education thinkers (blog), The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 7, 2013
Another iteration of ‘think globally, act locally/institutionally’?
Traditionally a university has been defined by, indeed defined itself as, a place. People “go to” universities, even in a world where the virtual may seem to have made place less important. Students often will pay, and pay significantly, to study at universities, putting a premium on the real, the immediate, and the academic experience in a particular environment. The Harvard experience is Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. However generous the institution is with its online content, that is only a tantalizing fragment of the Harvard experience. Not valueless, of course, but different.
To study at a particular university means to study in a unique setting and in a distinctive program. The importance of that experience for many leads them to want to return to their alma mater, literally to revisit their memories and to reconnect in their university setting. Nowhere is this more powerful than at the most prestigious universities.
So what does this mean in a world where higher education is increasingly globalized, and where many of us think long and hard about our global strategy? (read more)