Book by Caroline Kreber
Review by Matt Church
Academic Advising Coordinator
Arts & Sciences Advising
University of Louisville
Internationalization is an important issue in contemporary higher education. Kreber (2009) compiles an excellent work that analyzes the numerous applications and attributes of internationalization and how these elements affect higher education. The work highlights numerous internationalization efforts as they have been manifested in sustainability programs, service learning, course design, and even the application of Sattvic philosophy to curriculum development.
While the program examples provided are interesting illustrations of internationalization efforts, the most enlightening chapter provided the definition of internationalization. The term is frequently used in policy discussions, but very rarely clarified. Kreber provides a clear distinction between globalization and internationalization as she notes that globalization focuses on interdependence and the lessening of the influence of individual nation-state. Internationalization does not lessen nation-state influence, but instead focuses on mutual cooperation among nation-states. Following the clarification of internationalization, the author then discusses four different rationales for internationalization: political, academic, social/cultural, and economic. The political rationale relates to motivation for reasons of national security, while the academic rationale aims for greater enhancement of higher education through setting international standards. Kreber proposes the social/cultural rationale is a response to the homogenization of globalization and stresses the need for knowledge of foreign languages and cultural distinctness (p. 3). Finally, the economic rationale for internationalization is driven by the need to develop the resources to stay economically competitive.
Proceeding from the discussion of the rationales, Kreber addresses the current debate between the possible division of internationalization and internationalism; the former focuses on nation-state actor presence, the latter on community. The end conclusion is that the motives for pursuing internationalization are most important. From a higher education standpoint, these motives can manifest themselves in methods ranging from increased recruitment of international students to incorporation of international dimensions into the curriculum. Included in the text are numerous examples of the ways differing institutions have sought to internationalize. Two examples from Canadian universities address the internationalization of curricula. This process can be perceived as seamless but, the recounting of these two examples brings up issues such as: how do we infuse international aspects into existing courses? how does an institution define the goals of internationalizing the curriculum?, and how does an institution measure the impact of an internationalized curriculum?
One particularly interesting example of internationalization is Kahane’s chapter on the global justice course taught at the University of Alberta. The course is entitled “Obligation, Compassion, and Global Justice” and helps students to focus on both global inequalities and moral principles to help in the pedagogy of global citizenship (p. 49). Kahane noted that completion of the aforementioned course alone is not enough to bring about a sense of global citizenship and that “a pedagogy of global citizenship also requires that students be supported in contemplative practice, bringing mindful attention to their own embodied experiences of disassociation from their own and others suffering” (p. 49). Reading this chapter begs the question: should a variant of this course be offered at all institutions and should it be mandatory?
This interesting work raises many questions about contemporary higher education. From an advising standpoint, numerous issues arise. Most notably, how much responsibility do advisors have for helping students select courses that aid them in understanding an internationalized and globalized world? Also, what role should academic advisors have in the internationalizing of the curriculum and the measurement of the impact of this internationalization? Finally, is there a need for greater internationalization and cooperation among academic advisors throughout the world to aid in the quality of world higher education?
Internationalizing the Curriculum in Higher Education (2009) Book by Caroline Kreber (Ed.). Review by Matt Church. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass 128 pp., $9.00, ISBN # 978-0-470-53733-6