Over the past two decades, American higher education institutions have been increasingly exporting their educational programs abroad. But the trend of establishing international branch campuses has led to a number of setbacks and controversy.
Universities have had to handle a host of issues in order to build campuses abroad. These challenges range from working with foreign governments to remove bureaucratic red tape to formulating a curriculum that maintains the home university’s standards yet takes into account the location of the satellite school and recruiting faculty and students who will succeed in an international environment.
According to Dr. Jason Lane, director of educational studies at Albany State University, the number of branch campuses grew significantly in the 2000s. “I define the 2000s as the gold rush period,” he says. “In 1995, there was 15 to 16 [branch campuses] — and now there are about 200 that we know of.”
Lane is co-director of the Cross-Border Education Research Team (C-BERT), founded in 2010 to study the organizational, sociological, economic and political perspectives of establishing a branch campus across geographical lines.
“Texas A&M is setting up shop in Israel, but you wouldn’t see the Texas prison system operating prisons in Mexico,” Lane notes. “Or you wouldn’t see the New York transportation department fixing roads in Canada, but you see public institutions going abroad. That is what led me to try to unpack this whole thing, and from there I just realized [there are a lot] of interesting questions.” <Read more.>