Review by: Deborah M. Decker
Dixie State University
Designed for those who are involved with the development, implementation, and assessment of higher education programs, the fall 2016 issue of New Directions for Higher Education, “Enhancing Student Learning and Development in Cross-Border Higher Education” has several overarching recommendations for those involved in various capacities with cross-border higher education. The editors, Dennis C. Roberts and Susan R. Komives have created a logical progression through the 11 chapters by starting with the basic considerations, giving specific examples, and then moving to various strategies.
The ever-increasing technological advances in communication and travel continue to reduce the “distance” between global communities. The growing interdependency economically has illustrated how imbalances of power have created relationships among nations where one nation benefits far more than another. This volume seeks to avoid that situation in cross-border education. Taking the time to reflect and consider what practices will work best in each unique context is a thematic element of the articles. The authors stress the importance of taking an honest look at the motivation behind the adoption and transfer of programs. An overarching theme of the articles is a call to return to core values and principles as opposed to rapid expansion without careful analysis and evaluation.
The review does bring in a balanced amount of historical background combined with current findings to create a cohesive picture of student development as it is seen in higher education today. This can be useful background for all advisors, even those who have little or no interaction with international programs or students. The shift to viewing student development from a holistic perspective is not limited to international students and programs. The recurring theme of integrating co-curricular activities and service learning is present in several of the chapters. This collection of research validates the importance of co-curricular experiences in higher education and the need for student affairs and academic affairs to work together to best serve students.
The paucity of research and evaluation of international programs from the developing nation perspective is openly presented as problematic. Unfortunately, the volume does refer to the education and cultural contexts of Singapore on more than one occasion rather than increasing the breadth of the cultures discussed. Some of the programs discussed are so specific in nature that it may be hard for the reader to determine how these examples could be applied to their institution.
The visual adaptation of the strategies for internationalization can assist advisors in determining the amount of support a program will need and highlights how development theories can be used to create evaluations of programs and practices to determine goodness of fit and the likelihood of success. The information given can push advisors to advocate for not just a cross boarder experiences for students but well-designed culturally sensitive and engaging experiences.
Enhancing Student Learning and Development in Cross Border Higher Education. (2016).Review by Deborah decker. Book by Dennis C. Roberts and Susan R. Komives (Eds.), San Francisco: Jossey-bass. 115 pp., $29.00, (Paperback, ISBN #978-1-119-31129-4, http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1119311292.html.