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Exporting American Higher Education

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Technical-Capacity Building & Exporting of Higher Education to Developing Countries

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.616.1 - 14.616.7



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Paper Authors


Russel Jones World Expertise LLC

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Russel Jones is Advisor to the Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research in Abu Dhabi, UAE. He previously served as founding president of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in the UAE. His career in higher education in the United States included faculty member at MIT, department chair at Ohio State University, dean of engineering at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, academic vice president at Boston University, and President at University of Delaware.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



A variety of circumstances has led to a decrease in the number of foreign students enrolling in American universities, leading to disruption of previous benefits to US universities and to US influence abroad. American universities have responded by developing educational offerings in foreign countries, in a variety of formats. While there are many issues to be dealt with in such foreign offerings, there are significant benefits to both the US universities involved and to the foreign countries involved.


For many decades prior to 9/11, higher education institutions in the United States attracted large numbers of foreign students, particularly at the graduate level. These students met several needs of the institutions and of the US, particularly in the sciences and engineering where domestic students were increasingly scarce. And many returned to their own countries, either immediately or after getting valuable work experience in the US, to become leaders in government and commerce.

After 9/11, the flow of international students to US higher education institutions decreased dramatically, both because many of them, particularly from the Middle East, no longer felt welcome, and because visa processing delays made timely access difficult. This has had a damaging effect on financial and human resources at US universities in the short run, and perhaps a more important damaging effect on the beneficial impact of graduates of the US higher education system abroad in the long run.

Recognizing these negative impacts, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Secretary of Education Margaret Spelling convened a meeting of university presidents at the US State Department in April 2008 to discuss options for returning to an increased positive impact globally of graduates of US style education. Discussion focused heavily on exporting American style higher education abroad through a variety of mechanisms such as branch campuses, partnerships with foreign institutions, distance education, and quality assurance assistance.

The increased interest in having US universities enter into programs abroad has resulted in considerable discussion at conferences and in publications. The American Council on Education, for example, has recently published three books detailing the issues, processes and magnitude of US degree programs and branch campuses abroad. 1,2,3

Driving forces

Jones, R. (2009, June), Exporting American Higher Education Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4604

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