Reflections on Chapter 1 – Collaborative Internationalization in Global Student Affairs and Services

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Shelley Price-Williams

July 10, 2018

From Supporting Students Globally in Higher Education
This blog post is part of an ongoing series responding to chapters within a recent NASPA book about student services in a global context. Please see the brief blog entry for more information or opportunities to blog and get involved.  

Reflections on Chapter 1 – Collaborative internationalization in global student affairs and services

Written by Shelley Price-Williams

As one might expect in the first chapter of Supporting Students Globally in Higher Education, editors Osfield, Perozzi, and Moscaritolo, Shea, and Associates set the tone for the text to follow and establish key priorities for practitioners. Straight off the bat, the authors emphasize sources of change in global higher education- massification, globalization, the evolution to a knowledge-based society, and the influence of information technology- and the influence of these forces on the demands of student affairs and services. Albeit a good thing, innovation and technology lead to accessibility, which in turn, leads to a widening, diverse population to be supported. Later in the chapter, the authors extend this conversation to what is required and needed of professionals in the field. Student affairs is becoming more important and playing a key role in advocacy for students in particular and the future of global education as a whole. Osfield et al. end their introduction by stressing the detrimental impact of government policies surrounding immigration and visa requirements. Not enough can be emphasized here, as contemporary shifting political ideologies become more challenging for educational mobility.

The authors point out the challenge in simply defining key terminologies, such as internalization and globalization. Even further, the way in which these terms are defined in Western cultures may differ from other parts of the world. To help influence how readers interpret the terminology, Osfield et al. define key terms that drove the development of the following chapters. For example, internalization is defined as the integration of an “international, intercultural, or global dimension into the purpose, functions, or delivery of post-secondary education”. Globalization is influenced by our complex world economy and technology, as well as the role of the English language and other forces outside academic institutions. These definitions appropriately set the tone and context for the remainder of the book. The authors emphasized, “understanding the difference between these terms is important as future cross-cultural collaborations are created” (p.7).

In this entry chapter, Osfield et al. contend practitioners need a global perspective for serving and educating students and call for institutions to support and encourage professional development. An increase in study abroad correlates with an increase in college enrollment, and there is also an increase of international students studying in the United States. In an age of declining funding and tightening budgets, professional development is a high-priced commodity. The authors spend some time on this topic by introducing the reader to later chapters in the text with discrete focus on skills and knowledge necessary for helping students develop culturally appropriate skills. These include effective communication, patience, strong listening skills, and a positive attitude. Learning and developing intercultural competence is not a static event. The authors characterize this as a “lifelong process” (p. 8). Osfield et al. state that we must work across the boundaries of academic and student affairs to support students. Global awareness and competency in supporting international students, or “cultural dexterity” (p. 9), is necessary of student affairs practitioners.

Halfway through this chapter, the authors reveal the premise of the text to assist in developing new programs and services throughout the world. Yet, they caution the use of Western perspectives among practitioners who are working abroad in other countries. Not everything in the West is appropriate in other parts of the world. The authors point to later chapters of the text where the changing and expanding landscape of higher education through branch campuses and educational hubs are discussed. This changing landscape through educational outreach and increasing online access provides more opportunity for international collaboration. As an example, the Global Summit on Student Affairs and Services (p. 12) grew out of collaboration between NASPA and the International Association of Student Affairs and Services (IASAS). Even further, student affairs as a graduate-level program is expanding in other parts of the world as in China, which reinforces the importance of the field. Osfield et al. call for a need to identify members of the profession throughout the world where specific job titles may vary. They write, “The very definition of student affairs and services differs globally” (p. 14).

Osfield et al. conclude their moving introductory to this text by highlighting the world common goal to enrich the lives of college students. Extending this further, the authors remark that we have the opportunity to learn from each other. They recognize the financial limitations of practitioners’ ability to travel for in-person meetings and also suggest the use of virtual discussion for learning. At the same time technology makes global education possible, so does it make collaboration possible. Webinars, virtual symposiums, and global meetings are other opportunities to foster connectivity. Osfield at al. maintain student affairs and services improve overall society by improving the lives of students. I cannot agree more and I am left at the culmination of reviewing this chapter with one final thought: “globalization continues to flatten our world” (p. 16).

Shelley Price-Williams, Ph.D., is currently the Coordinator of Student Services and Transitions in the School of Business at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. In this role, Shelley provides academic advising and transition support to international students in the MBA or M.S. in CMIS graduate programs. She received her doctorate in higher education administration from Saint Louis University (2015) and completed a M.S. in Counseling and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Memphis. She holds almost two decades of experience in student and academic affairs spanning program development and management as well as academic advising, career counseling, and assessment. She also serves as affiliate faculty in the College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) program at the SIUe.

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