As the World Turns: Implications of Global Shifts in Higher Education for Theory, Research and Practice: Volume 7


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(33 chapters)
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To me, diversity is a concept that evolves over time. I was born in Kunming, China. It was only when I started my doctoral study in London, I realized that diversity is so foreign to my culture. I left Kunming, which is in a province of the greatest ethnic diversity, when I was 1 year old and returned to Chinese societies where the Hans, the majority, shape the culture. When I was five, I moved from Shanghai to Hong Kong where I received my entire schooling.

Beginning in 2003, Walter Allen co-convened and codirected an international consortium of scholars dedicated to examining the “Implications, Challenges and Lessons from Increased Student Diversity in Higher Education” ( The larger group includes 35 scholars from fourteen different nations and five continents who are concerned with diversity in higher education. For our purposes, diversity is broadly defined to encompass not only race/ethnicity but also gender, language, citizenship, social class, culture, and region as significant in each national system of status hierarchy. The inaugural meeting of the consortium was held at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy.

Institutions of higher and tertiary education are routinely recognized for their development of human capital to foster critical discoveries and applications of knowledge that grow industries, jobs, and other stabilizers of international and national economies and productive environments. In the time between the conference proceedings that first prompted the conversations presented in this book and our present-day economic circumstances that dwindle the coffers for individual as well as global economies daily, tertiary education has undergone some important transformations.

This chapter has three main objectives: (1) to address the qualitative and quantitative impact of globalization in higher education institutions (HEI) and in the higher education systems (HES) in different regions and countries during the past 20 years; (2) stress the need of having specific levels of social equity in order to attain a permanent education for all and for life applying adequate educational policies; and (3) refer briefly to the need of a world report on higher education.

The ideas discussed in this chapter highlight key issues identified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regarding higher education, such as access, diversification, pertinence (or social commitment), quality, management, financing, new technologies of information and communication (ICT), and international cooperation.

This chapter is based on data from an international research project entitled ‘Gender Equity in Commonwealth Higher Education’ (GECHE). Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Carnegie Corporation of New York from 2003 to 2005, this project examined interventions for gender equity in relation to access, staff development and curriculum transformation in Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda. Data were collected via literature and policy review and interview data from a sample size of 200 including students, academic staff, managers and policymakers in the five countries. The key findings suggested that gender equality was promoted by widening participation and affirmative action policy interventions, national and international policy initiatives, and community links and coalitions. Gender equality was being impeded by gender violence, gendered organisational and social cultures and micropolitics, male domination, lack of understanding of diversity, low numbers of women in senior academic and management positions and beliefs in gender neutrality rather than gender awareness.

This study overviews the representation of students of color at critical junctures in California's educational pipeline based on analyses of California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) and the California Department of Education (CDE) data. More specifically, it examines high school completion, undergraduate and graduate attendance rates, and degree attainment for different racial/ethnic groups within California's higher education system and related state-wide statistics. In doing so, we aim to provide a critical analysis of the state's educational system and the conditions for access and success in higher education.

This chapter discusses the political economy of social stratification in higher education in Japan with a focus on the problem of centralization and decentralization in the allocation of institutions in its higher education system. Specifically, the chapter highlights the role of a nation state government in the process of social stratification formation and the impact of recent equity and institutional higher education policies on the Japanese system of higher education.

This chapter focuses on policy efforts to improve college access in India and Brazil, which utilize affirmative action in higher education for historically marginalized groups. We compare structural factors impacting access to higher education for marginalized groups in India and Brazil, placing these factors in their respective historical contexts. We apply the concepts of intersectionality and interest convergence from critical race theory (CRT) not only to draw attention to how race, caste, and socioeconomic status converge to affect access for historically marginalized groups but also to further an understanding of how elites can maintain their hegemony even in the face of policies intended to achieve social justice.

At its core, education serves to develop individual and societal knowledge. In our increasingly diverse societies, the knowledge through educational channels also conveys norms and cultural values from respective states and nations. At the same time that educational institutions ensure their longevity and relevance through services to and support from these broader levels, they also risk elevating any one cultural “story” or perspective as “the story,” to the exclusion of other member perspectives (Van Sledright, 2008, p. 110). This frustrating dilemma has unique consequences for higher education since these institutions prioritize knowledge pursuits and often have greater similarities in their discovery and application activities across their diverse, international sector than within the specific political or social contexts that characterize their state or national locations (Enders, 2004).

Since 1999, there has been a rapid expansion in enrollment in Chinese higher education. By 2003, its gross enrollment had risen to 17 percent of the age-cohort (which typically refers to the age group from 18 to 22 in China and 18 to 21 in Japan), indicating that Chinese higher education had entered the phase of mass higher education, according to Martin Trow's definition. Mass higher education in China was achieved nearly 40 years later than in Japan, but it is still worth conducting a comparative study. This chapter is concerned with similarities and differences in massification of higher education between China and Japan and focuses on the character, tendency, and policy choice of massification of these two systems of higher education in a comparative perspective. First, by reviewing rationales and policies for massification of higher education in the two countries, it is pointed out that although both countries share similarities, massification of higher education in Japan was greatly influenced by industrial demand, while in China it was heavily affected by a rapid increase in more graduates from senior higher schools and by unemployment. Second, how mass higher education was achieved in the two countries is examined. Third, based on quantitative analyses, this chapter illustrates the two types of massification of higher education arising from differences in the history and traditions of higher education institutions, political influences, social backgrounds, and international contexts. Finally, the chapter considers the progress of massification of Chinese higher education and puts forward some recommendations at the policy level for the further development of higher education in China in light of the Japanese experiences.

History in Argentina shows that, from 1945, rotation between democratic and de facto governments was accompanied with changes in policies of free or restricted university access, respectively. In this way after more than 20 years of democracy, 60 percent of the university matriculation of the public system stays under the modality of free access. Nevertheless, the socioeconomic composition of the students of public universities shows overrepresentation of the higher income quintiles. This means that the policies of free access to the public universities have been better taken advantage of by the population with major resources. However, the ideology of free access remains in the social imaginary as the representative of progress policies. In this chapter, we set out, first of all, to describe the admission system to the universities in Argentina. Second, we analyze the relationship between unrestricted access and equity. Finally, we will raise the necessity to design policies of affirmative action, for the case of Argentina and more likely in other countries of Latin America, that consider the asymmetries in the distribution of the wealth on the questions of race and gender.

The chapter attempts to articulate a possibility for integrating a number of perspectives in studying higher education as a scholarly subject in current social science. We begin with the reasons for such an undertaking and its relevance. We then develop several basic definitions in order to establish a common conceptual basis for discussion. The final section presents new institutionalism as one of the ways to integrate several approaches in understanding higher education.

This chapter is rather theoretical and methodological in its outlook. We develop the basic approach that, in many respects, is still a work in progress. We take in this approach a set of arguments that open up new research agenda rather than settled a perception to be accepted uncritically.

The chapter shows substantial changes in the Polish higher education system since 1990. These changes were associated with the shift from centralized, controlled economy to market economy in the context of the economic globalization and democratization. The increased number of students and the emergence of many private universities are a response to the growing educational aspirations of the Polish society. The changes are a subject of public debate focused on advantages and disadvantages of the functioning of private universities and paid studies at state universities. The basic issue will soon not be the education level, but its quality; the name of the university, which issued a given diploma; and doctoral studies, which are now of more elitist character than studies offering lower degrees.

African Americans comprised over 60 percent of the 15,000 Army men and women who would serve on the Ledo Road in the China–Burma–India Theatre of Operations during World War II. Many of these Black soldiers and nurses attended racially segregated Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Their contributions would directly affect integration efforts confronted by the United States in the decades following the war (e.g., President Truman's 1948 order to end racial segregation in the U.S. military). The Ledo Road experience not only helped change U.S. attitudes toward African Americans, but it transformed Black people. The extraordinary success of Blacks as front line workers in the unprecedented engineering and construction feat represented by the completion of the Ledo/Stilwell Road rejected the myth of Black inferiority.

Globalization has been a significant factor in shaping the world market, as well as higher and postsecondary education. In response to the shift to knowledge-based economies and postsecondary degrees increasingly being a prerequisite for work and engaged citizenry, the massification of higher education has led to more and more people aspiring to college enrollment. However, despite high postsecondary educational aspirations being shared across racial, cultural, and economic groups, there continue to be significant disparities among racial, ethnic, and economic groups in college access and success – a trend that has even increased in some cases.

This study was to ascertain the validity of Sternberg's theory of mental self-government for Tibetan ethnic minority university students and to compare the thinking styles of Tibetan students with those of the Han Chinese majority students. Participants were 408 Tibetan students and 920 Han Chinese students. Furthermore, focus group interviews were conducted with two Tibetan scholars and 11 Tibetan students. Results indicated that compared with the Han students, Tibetan students scored significantly higher on the more norm-conforming thinking styles but significantly lower on the creativity-generating styles. Moreover, Tibetan students indicated a stronger preference for working with others as opposed to working independently. Discussions of these findings focus on the impact of Tibet's culture and economy upon students' thinking styles.

This chapter examines the current higher (tertiary) education system in Aotearoa/New Zealand, drawing specifically on Maori (indigenous people) endeavours to engage at that level. I outline historically key practices and their underlying philosophies, which limited Maori access to higher education, especially those based on colonial views about race that positioned Maori at the lower end of the social structure in New Zealand society. The loss of language and culture, a monocultural education system, and the impact on Maori in terms of educational underachievement will be further outlined.

The chapter then examines Maori educational initiatives as a means to outline how Maori have attempted to address educational underachievement and the redress of their language, knowledge and culture. The engagement of Maori in universities, research and education will be discussed including new tertiary developments, an indigenous tertiary institution – Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi.

This study examines the changes which were observed in the composition of student enrolment at the University of the West Indies over two decades, and highlights the movement towards greater inclusiveness, as the University campus in Jamaica enrolled greater proportions of students from rural backgrounds, and from lower income levels. The analysis shows that over this period (1983–2003), the University was itself seeking to become more responsive to regional needs and developmental priorities, while nonetheless being hampered by the limitations of the secondary school system, which still bore the colonial imprint of dual and unequal tracks. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the institutional demands that are generated by increasing diversity, and assesses the extent to which the UWI and the country have been able to respond effectively to these student needs.

This chapter probes into what happens to the beneficiaries of special provisions while they are pursuing higher education within the existing structured inequalities of caste, culture and economic diversities in the era of liberalization, globalization and privatization. Structured inequalities cannot be remedied only through corrective measures given the disadvantageous situation. Traditional factors limit the influence of modern factors such as skills, knowledge, competition and performance. Higher education in India fails to equip students to completely overcome the limits and constraints of the caste system that lead to several handicaps in social life as well as in higher education. Still, there is no viable alternative to higher education to this significant section of the Indian population – the scheduled castes – as a means to achieve social mobility in a closed society like India. Hence, it is pertinent also to understand and draw experiences of such supportive mechanisms like the Post Matric Scholarship scheme at the higher education level provided to such section(s) of Indian society.

A strong relationship exists in many cultures between ethnic identity and educational success. This study was conducted at a teacher training university in Southwest China in 1997. It examines how ethnic minority students, through a series of micro-level interactions, construct “scholar selves” within their families, villages, and schools. The study also looks at how macro-level structural supports, built into the Chinese education system, help minority students overcome obstacles to academic success. These supports include special schools and classes for ethnic students, training teachers for nationality areas, financial support for minority education and additional points awarded on national examinations. The chapter suggests what scholars and practitioners might learn from an educational system that demonstrates the characteristics of flexibility, inclusiveness and cohesiveness.

The last section of this volume is focused on both practical and conceptual approaches to address challenges associated with access, equity and the stratification of postsecondary educational settings. While much of the existing research focuses on inadequate preparation for college as a reason for low postsecondary educational attainment, the chapters in this section look at the broader implications of policy barriers, the cultural practices of institutions, and the inadequate and ineffective systems through which students are pursuing their postsecondary aspirations.

Racial and ethnic diversity and the attendant challenges and benefits of multiculturalism in society are a worldwide phenomenon. As higher education is often the training ground for future social and political leaders, as well as the primary institution charged with the study of social problems, the educational benefits, and challenges of diversity in society are particularly relevant to institutions of higher learning. This chapter synthesizes the ongoing empirical research on the educational impact of racially and ethnically diverse university environments in a U.S. context and offers a framework of institutional practices based on that work to help administrators both respond to challenges and better harness-related benefits for all students.

Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) in the Pacific Northwest of the United States attempt to maintain a sufficient number of African Americans represented in the student population. This number should reflect the population of the state. African American students at the PWI face and conquer many nonacademic issues daily. This analysis of the African American Student Center (AASC) in the Pacific Northwest will examine the PWI support for Black students. Based on the information gathered from the students participating in the AASC, the PWI's support is limited and should increase. The support is apocryphal, but with time and progressive institutional effort, the AASC will continue to exist.

Institutions of higher education in Britain pride themselves on being open, liberal spaces of learning and social engagement. However, many establishments, particularly the prestigious ‘old’ universities, are predominantly White, despite the implementation of a range of progressive, anti-racist, multicultural policies and practices. This chapter draws on both national discourses and research conducted in a major civic university to argue that it is necessary to confront myths of academic liberalism, the ideology of professional academic autonomy and the historical and contemporary processes that continue to shape university racisms. The picture revealed is one of unsettling rather than transformative spaces, where there are contests over power, intellectual authority and ethnic identity, but where there is also cultural containment through hegemonic practices.

The author examines critical precollege learning contexts with a focus specific to California and the nation. Trends within these school communities often illustrate achievement below state averages for students from low-income status or from cultural backgrounds historically underrepresented in higher education, while demonstrating increasing segregated learning communities for the same groups with related achievement gaps for the students and their schools. The author uses organizational and sociological approaches to examine the lessons about student diversity in context where they matter most: related to student academic opportunities and outcomes for college and beyond. She concludes with suggestions that underscore the opportunities for transformation within public education using evidence-based practices to benefit students primarily from these educational settings in and beyond California.

Hugh Africa, Council on Higher Education (South Africa)

Walter R. Allen is Allan Murray Cartter Professor in Higher Education, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also distinguished professor of sociology and director of CHOICES, a longitudinal study of college attendance among African Americans and Latinos in California. Allen's research interests include higher education, race and ethnicity, family patterns, and social inequality. He has been a consultant to courts, communities, business, and government. Allen's more than 100 publications include: Towards a Brighter Tomorrow: College Barriers, Hopes and Plans of Black, Latino/a and Asian American Students in California (2009); Till Victory is Won: The African American Struggle for Higher Education in California (2009); Everyday Discrimination in a National Sample of Incoming Law Students (2008); Higher Education in a Global Society: Achieving Diversity, Equity and Excellence (2006); Enacting Diverse Learning Environments: Improving the Climate for Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Higher Education (1999); College in Black and White: African American Students in Predominantly White and Historically Black Public Universities (1991); and The Colorline and the Quality of Life in America (1989).

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Pages 463-469
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Advances in Education in Diverse Communities
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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