KUALA LUMPUR, 19.11.2021 – Driven by a goal to seek global perspective, some of the best global universities are now on the rise as a powerful force in the higher education industry.
Some best global universities started as a branch campus experiment intended for one purpose: to cater to the interests of international students.
Now, they have grown into multi-campus entities that offer various programs around the globe with a noticeable presence across countries and continents.
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Global universities have two main goals: solidify the education system; and build a stronger foundation for the international community, especially in the current global dynamic.
Other larger US-based universities, although lesser-known than the best global universities, also offered innovative and forward-thinking postgraduate degrees and specialized leadership programs aside from their undergraduate degree programs.
An example of a leading global presence strategy is Curtin University. The Australia-founded global university goes by a prospect that ensured each campus “do research, teach, and engage with their communities and global issues”. This strategy provided students with comparable experiences wherever they study, which helped them shape a global perspective with a better cross-cultural understanding.
Deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Seth Kunin, commented that “one of the strengths of the Curtin model is that each campus created their own online material aimed at their own students.”
As a result, students felt appreciated and heard as their home faculty took the effort to produce customized materials after recognizing their preferences and pace in learning.
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Some of the best global universities established an official institutional perspective across campuses. This integrated a shared vision among the community of students and alumni around the world that promoted the quality of student experience and academic delivery.
The integration benefited students the most as they could participate in international programs from their home country, breaking the barriers of travel bans and mobility concerns during the Covid-19 pandemic.
ESCP Business School, for instance, practiced a rotation system: programs with a similar academic content are approached differently in each location. For example, critical thinking (Paris), theoretical-based (Berlin), gamification (London), humanistic (Turin), blended (Madrid), and contextualization (Warsaw).
A high level of diversity on each campus also allowed students to move fluidly between cultures and adapt to a complex multicultural environment.
Despite the promising success and advantages of the global university model, it is still a rather new concept that is yet to be implemented in higher education institutions around the world. Naturally, challenges will rise.
Global universities must first obtain local and international credibility for each campus in order to gain in-country accreditation and to be a legal entity in each location.
As local laws differ in each region, the accreditation details may vary depending on the educational framework and focus of the institution.
As confirmed by executive vice-president and dean for academic affairs and international relations at ESCP Europe, Professor Leon Laulusa, “The main challenges lie in coordination and harmonization at both a federal and local level and the need to comply with pedagogical rules and legal requirements that differ from country to country. The key to tackling these challenges is a hybrid governance, federally and locally.”
Students may also feel isolated at a foreign-built campus. It will be challenging for a foreign entity to accurately integrate local cultural concepts to encourage interaction between students and the local community.
Lastly, a strong leadership from both local and foreign campuses must be present to ensure the effectiveness of a shared vision.
With more global universities expected to rise in the next decade, studying abroad will be a common concept among students and parents looking for a better quality of education.
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