• Kyle Long: Introducing Global American Higher Education

    Kyle Long: Introducing Global American Higher Education

    New to GlobalEd: We’re excited to launch regular re-posts of Kyle Long’s blog for Global American Higher Education. In this post, Kyle introduces the initiative. For the original post, see here.

    Kyle Long is a university administrator, educational consultant, and scholar of higher education and international affairs. As Senior Director of Organizational Strategy and Change at Northwestern University, he provides counsel to the Provost, Vice President of Operations, and deans. His research focuses on international campuses and the geopolitics of education. He is a Fulbright Specialist (2021-25) and non-resident Research Fellow at the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California (2022-24). Kyle serves as Vice President of the American University of Iraq Foundation, a U.S. tax-exempt charitable organization that supports liberal arts education in Iraq. Among his prior appointments are UNESCO Co-Chair of International Education for Development at the George Washington University, Director of Higher Education Research for Hanover Research, and inaugural Director of the U.S. Office for the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. He has consulted on development projects funded by the Asian Development Bank and the United States Agency for International Development. Kyle earned a PhD in International and Comparative Education from Columbia University.

    The Global American Higher Education website is the latest expression of a passion project years in the making. I first started working for an American university abroad more than a dozen years ago. I began collecting data on institutions like it nearly a decade ago. Since then, I have visited 14 American universities in eight countries on three continents. Those efforts led to a dissertation, then a book, and eventually a handful of papers on international American campuses. In these works, I have examined their significance to public diplomacy, international development, and stateside U.S. higher education. I have considered their roles in advancing neo-colonial power structures and sustaining American hegemony. I have criticized the free riders trying to make a buck on the American brand. I have applauded the American government’s impartiality while admonishing its parsimony. The through line in my work, though, has been an attempt to convey just how large, diverse, and collaborative this distinctive sector of American higher education is–of how capable many of these institutions are in expressing the best of American higher education. This is a difficult notion to advance in a scholarly text alone.

    In recent years, I started to realize that the best way to help others to see what I was seeing—short of physical immersion on these campuses—was to consolidate all the data I could and let interested parties explore it on their own. By visualizing the landscape in its entirety—over space and time (the dashboard includes historical filters)—we can truly begin to appreciate the scope of the sector. The site provides some orientation to the data through fast facts, written findings, and research briefs, but it is meant for custom exploration by educators, students, university administrators, researchers, policy analysts, government officials, journalists, entrepreneurs, and anyone else seeking information on American higher education institutions abroad. In short, I aim to establish Global American Higher Education as the go-to resource for information on American higher education institutions outside the United States and its territories.

    This collection of resources would not have been possible without Stacie Long. She is a creative genius and master problem solver. The effort also benefits tremendously from an intrepid and skilled team of volunteer research assistants. I am incredibly grateful for their time and talents. The Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California, which generously provided initial support to launch the site, has also been instrumental.

    In the next phase, I hope to expand the initiative with more data (different institution types, education levels), products (research briefs, video interviews), and services (consulting). Please contact me if you are interested in partnering to develop any of these or related items. We encourage you to sign up for our mailing list. We will use the list to issue a semi-annual newsletter highlighting updates to the database and share other items of interest.

    In the meantime, we will use this blog to share thoughts pertinent to the Global American Higher Education landscape as they arise. Thanks for reading.


  • Introduction to Quantitative Analysis for International Educators

    Introduction to Quantitative Analysis for International Educators

    Guest Essay by Melissa Whatley, School for International Training


    The new book by Melissa Whatley

    Financial strains and tense social contexts have put a spotlight on many aspects of international education in the past few years, touching issues such as the international flow of students, scholars, and ideas; the commodification and exchange of knowledge on a global scale; and the extreme inequalities associated with these activities. International educators can no longer assume that their work produces positive results for everyone involved, or that others will accept their activities as inherently benevolent. Coupled with an overall increasing focus on assessment in education generally, international educators have recently found themselves in a place where they must critically reflect on and evaluate the activities they undertake and the resources they expend, a task that necessitates empirical research and data analysis. Within this context, both scholars and practitioners in international education are increasingly in need of research training, both qualitative and quantitative. My new book, Introduction to Quantitative Analysis for International Educators published in 2022 with Springer, provides an introduction to one of these approaches to empirical inquiry, quantitative analysis, specifically written for individuals working in international education. The book assumes no prior knowledge of statistics and takes readers from the basic building blocks of quantitative analysis through an introduction to more complex research designs, namely experimental and quasi-experimental analysis. All examples draw from international and comparative education topics, which makes the book more accessible to individuals working in international education compared to other, more general, statistics textbooks.

    The book’s primary audiences include international education graduate students, faculty in international education who seek a foundation in quantitative research methods, and scholar-practitioners who want to analyze data quantitatively for practical purposes. Students can use this book to guide Master’s thesis/capstone or doctoral dissertation work, while scholars and practitioners will find the book useful when analyzing data for program evaluation, conducting needs assessments, and using data in decision-making.

    Book Structure and Contents

    Specifically, chapters in the book begin with an introduction to quantitative data, including types of data and sampling strategies, before moving on to measures of central tendency and measures of variability. Once these foundational concepts are introduced, the book introduces hypothesis testing, including t-tests, one-way ANOVA, the chi-square test of independence, and correlation. These chapters are then brought together in chapters on ordinary least squares regression and additional regression topics, which include categorical predictors, interaction terms, common functional form specifications, and binary outcome variables. The book closes with chapters that introduce experimental and quasi-experimental research design and suggestions for writing about quantitative research for both scholarly and practitioner audiences.

    In addition to the book’s core content, each chapter summarizes example studies in international education that apply the analytic approach described, provides suggestions for additional reading for readers who want to dive more deeply into a particular topic, and contains practice problems for readers who want to try out each analytic approach in the software of their choice, such as SPSS, Stata, or R. An answer key for these problem sets is found at the end of the book. Sample datasets that draw from publicly available data such as the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and the Institute of International Education (IIE) accompany these practice problems, and can be found on the book’s website. For instructors who wish to use the book to teach a research methods-focused course, the website also includes PowerPoint presentations that can be used as a starting point for developing teaching material for each chapter. For all audiences, the website provides a list of sources for obtaining quantitative data that may be of use for exploring international education topics, including global data sources such as UNESCO and the OECD, and country- and region-specific sources, such as Canada, Mexico, and Europe.

    Concluding Thoughts

    My purpose in writing this book was to provide individuals working in international education, whether from a practitioner or researcher perspective, with an accessible resource for learning and applying quantitative analysis to key questions in our field. While the book does not offer a comprehensive overview of all analytic approaches that individuals will need as professionals in international education, it introduces readers to the most important concepts. In this way, readers interested in diving deeper into specific analytic approaches will have the foundation to pursues these more advanced analyses, whether through formal training or future individual study. Importantly, this book provides readers with the tools they need to answer difficult questions about key issues in our field, such as inequality, commodification of education, and the consequences of international student mobility. While the answers to these questions may be uncomfortable and inconvenient at times, it is only through identifying these issues that we can begin to address them.

    Melissa Whatley. (2022). Introduction to Quantitative Analysis for International Educators. Springer Cham.

    Are you an author of a recently published or forthcoming book in the field? Get in touch with us at globaledinbox@gmail.com to discuss publishing a guest essay like this one. See also our Book Reviews and Book Excerpts sections.

  • Is International Education Web3 Ready?

    Is International Education Web3 Ready?

    Technology is shifting rapidly; is the international education field ready? Historically, international educators have sometimes resisted technology, viewing it as one of the “problems” to be fixed through human contact. Although virtual exchange, online learning, and tech have infused our field with new solutions and program models, the field has generally resisted major technological changes and innovations.

    In doing so, are we missing out?

    We are the precipice of a revolutionary shift to what experts are calling “web3.” Called by some “the future of the internet,” web3 technology promises to decentralize technology, and integrate blockchain, AR/VR, smart contracts, and digital currencies into the fabric of the internet (for an early look at this, check out the Brave web browser). Web3 may also shift the worldview of technology from less of a 2D space into more of a 3D space (imagine entire immersive websites that are like digital experiences). And then there is the so-called “metaverse” — entire virtual worlds based in VR/AR technologies.

    What do you think international education will look like in 5 or 10 years as this technology evolves? Is the field “web3 ready”? Should we be? Take this poll and tell us your thoughts.

  • On “Intercultural Leadership”

    On “Intercultural Leadership”


    Bryan McAllister-Grande

    GlobalEd Founder & Director Bryan McAllister-Grande is the founder and director of GlobalEd. He has over 20 years of experience in global higher education strategy, program design, intercultural teaching and coaching, assessment, and curriculum development. He is Director of Academic Integration and Planning at Northeastern University’s Global Experience Office. Bryan has twice served on the…

    What would it mean to “lead interculturally?” In the field of international education, we talk a lot about intercultural development for students and faculty, but not as much about intercultural development, or intercultural leadership, for ourselves. In fact, leadership as a topic is often avoided in graduate schools and training programs, except at management levels. In this brief essay, I offer some thoughts toward what it would mean to build capacity for intercultural leadership.

    Intercultural Leadership might mean understanding the history and current landscape of intercultural learning and development. Intercultural learning is not a new fad, but has a rich history dating back, at least, to the 1920s and 1930s. (Check out Rachel Davis DuBois, an early Quaker educator and intercultural pioneer). Intercultural Leaders should understand the historical development of intercultural learning, from early ideas around “intercultural communication” (see Edward T. Hall) to the advent of intercultural development models and intercultural process models (see Darla Deardorff) to more recent DEI-connected thinking in cultural humility and intercultural praxis. Check out our recent “Re-imagining Intercultural Pedagogies” Lab for more resources on the latest thinking and theories of the field.

    Intercultural Leaders should be active members and leaders in professional organizations and centers devoted to intercultural learning and development. These include:

    Intercultural Leadership might mean understanding and weaving together diverse leadership styles, including leadership practices from around the world. Typically, in leadership training, leaders are taught classic leadership styles, including democratic, authoritarian, and transactional. Not only is it important for Intercultural Leaders to be adaptable to different leadership philosophies, it’s also important for Intercultural Leaders to understand leadership traditions from outside of the Western constructs. Many of these leadership philosophies emerged from a market-driven, business-minded, outcomes-based approach, and do not necessarily apply to non-Western settings. Leadership is as diverse as intercultural learning itself. Check out this resource for more information on leadership styles.

    Intercultural Leadership could foreground cultural humility in addition to cultural competence. Cultural Humility is a concept that emerged sometimes in contrast to cultural competence. Whereas cultural competence can sometimes refer to expertise, cultural humility is focused on listening, understanding, receiving, and giving of yourself. These are powerful concepts and a significant re-framing of intercultural communication. Emerging from social work, nursing, and healthcare, cultural humility focuses on giving care to others while being humble and receptive of difference. 

    San Francisco State University Associate Professor of Health Education Vivian Chavez, physician and consultant Melanie Tervalon, and UC Davis nursing professor Jann Murray-García describe the three core commitments of cultural humility as:

    • Lifelong learning and critical self-reflection
    • Recognizing and challenging power imbalances for successful partnerships
    • Institutional accountability

    Of course, intercultural leadership should involve lifting up marginalized voices, improving hiring and equity practices, and challenging the status quo within our institutions.

    In short, intercultural leadership is a rich topic; we need more writing, thinking, and practice on the subject. What are your thoughts? Leave a comment in the comment box.

  • Tara Harvey: Reflections on WISE 2023

    Tara Harvey: Reflections on WISE 2023

    New to GlobalEd: We’re excited to launch regular re-posts of Tara Harvey’s popular blog, “Reflections on Intercultural Learning in Higher Education.” In this post, Tara reflects on attending the 2023 WISE Conference hosted by Wake Forest University. For the original post, see here.

    Tara Harvey, Ph.D. is a highly-regarded specialist in intercultural teaching and learning in higher education. She brings to her work broad experience in international education—including international student services, study abroad, and language learning—and a deep understanding of the intercultural development process. In 2016, Tara founded True North Intercultural LLC to provide high-quality professional development to higher education faculty, staff, and institutions to help them better navigate cultural differences and facilitate students’ intercultural learning (at home and abroad).

    Last week I attended the WISE Conference (Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement), hosted by Wake Forest University, which was held in-person for the first time since February 2020. WISE is particularly meaningful to me because it marks the anniversary of True North Intercultural. On February 1, 2016, I wrapped up my job as Academic Director of Intercultural Learning with CIEE. The next day—my first as a full-time, independent business-owner—I flew to North Carolina to present at WISE.

    It also feels fitting that the anniversary of True North Intercultural falls during Black History month every year, which invites me to reflect on my role as an intercultural educator who holds several privileged identities—such as being White and U.S. American—and consider how I can best contribute to building the kind of world I envision. I’m reminded that practicing intercultural competence requires embracing learning opportunities, even—or especially—when they involve challenge, discomfort, or ambiguity.

    It’s in this context of reflection that I share here one thing that excited me and one thing that I’m still thinking about from the conference.

    Intercultural Learning is Expanding Beyond International Education

    First of all, I was very happy to see that the conversations around intercultural learning in higher education continue to expand beyond study abroad and international education. When I first started in this field, international education and intercultural learning were often assumed to be synonymous. At WISE this past week, we were engaging in conversations about fostering intercultural learning during study away, yes, but also on our home campuses—in and out of the classroom, locally and globally, and among faculty and staff in addition to students.

    We grappled with questions such as:  Why has U.S. higher education historically taken a bifurcated approach to international and domestic diversity? How does that serve us and how does it not? How might DEI and IE professionals work together toward shared goals and learning objectives? How can we decolonize internationalization efforts? What’s our relationship to power and place? How could we get more faculty invested in intercultural learning? What intercultural ”superpowers” might individuals with marginalized identities gain through their lived experiences that make them especially well-suited for leadership? How can educators prepare students to succeed and lead in a highly diverse, volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world? (And that was just in the sessions I attended!)

    Intercultural Learning Not Consistently Approached in Constructivist-Developmental Way

    Personally, I’ve been exploring the relationship between DEI work, multicultural education, international education, and intercultural learning for a while (this was the topic of my presentation at WISE). I’m also very aware this type of work has long lived at the margins of higher education and must move from being peripheral to an integral part of education if we want to prepare future generations to build and nurture a sustainable, pluralistic world.

    This leads me to my second observation, which is more of a musing than a fully-formed thought at this time. During the conference, I was reminded that the constructivist-developmental approach to intercultural learning I find so useful is still not widely understood or consistently utilized (for more information, see previous posts about constructivist and developmental approaches to intercultural teaching and learning).

    For example, when Dr. Amer Ahmed was presenting a model that weaves together and builds upon several other DEI and intercultural frameworks, an audience member commented that they appreciate how the model includes the important “inner work.” They also lamented how hard it can be to do that work. I thought to myself, “That’s exactly where intercultural development comes in!” That is, the way I approach intercultural learning is all about that inner work, and doing it in a way that’s developmentally appropriate (i.e. that provides an appropriate balance of challenge and support for learners). By doing this developmental inner work, we build our capacity to engage in difficult conversations, address injustices, and build more inclusive environments.

    Similarly, in the session I facilitated, I felt the need to point out that personal development work is not the same as systems change work, but that some degree of the former is required for the latter. That is, if we want diversity to lead to equity and inclusion, we need intercultural competence. These experiences and other conversations I engaged in at WISE reminded me that intercultural learning isn’t widely thought of in this way, likely because such constructivist-developmental approaches are not yet the norm.

    I’m not saying intercultural development work is or should be just focused on the self—after all, it’s about developing our capacity to engage effectively, appropriately, and authentically across cultural differences, locally and globally. I’m also not implying that DEI work and training only directs our focus outward, and not inward. In fact, many DEI and social justice trainings help participants become more aware of their own power, privilege, and positionality. But I do think that the developmentally-appropriate inner work of intercultural learning and more outer-focused social justice and systems change work are both necessary and highly complementary.

    I know my own intercultural practice helps me be a better learner, especially in situations where I feel challenged or uncomfortable. The keynote speaker at WISE, Dr. Joel Davis Brown, discussed the fact that being a leader means showing up as your best self. As the world grows increasingly diverse, complex, and uncertain, developing our intercultural capacity helps us learn who our “best self” is, how to more consistently show up in that way, and how we can work across differences to embrace these challenges effectively and appropriately together. In other words, we all need to do the inner work in order to be more effective with the outward work required of us.

    I’ll end this musing with a quote I included in my own WISE session:

    “Higher education must play a critical role if we are to achieve the promise of our democracy: developing a pluralistic society that works. Although few of us have lived or worked in such a setting, this is one of the foremost challenges of our day.”

    – Daryl Smith

    What are your reflections?

    If you attended the WISE Conference last week, what were your take-aways? What are you still thinking about?

  • GlobalEd and SIMA Academy Form Partnership

    GlobalEd and SIMA Academy Form Partnership

    GlobalEd is excited to announce a partnership with SIMA Academy. Under the terms of the partnership, GlobalEd will offer institutional access to SIMA’s award-winning short documentaries. Both organizations will also mutually promote each other’s work and programs. SIMA Academy becomes one of GlobalEd’s featured partners.

    SIMA Academy is an award-winning collection of globally sourced short documentaries that inspire a more just and sustainable world. Jury-curated and professionally vetted by the Annual Int’l Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA), SIMA Academy provides fast, accessible and secure streaming of an ever-expanding catalogue of social impact films for academic institutions, educators, and global partners.

    SIMA Academy’s documentaries are loved and trusted by over 86,500 students and 2,500 educators, in 1,044 institutions and programs across the world.

    SIMA Academy documentaries are available for use by institutions to embed internationalization at home and global learning into their curriculum and co-curriculum. SIMA Academy also provides lesson plans for educators.

    Unlimited Institution Access to SIMA Academy

    Please fill out and submit the form below and will be in touch with next steps. Thank you!

  • The “International” and “National” Mind: Revisiting the History of Global Learning

    The “International” and “National” Mind: Revisiting the History of Global Learning


    Bryan McAllister-Grande

    GlobalEd Founder & Director Bryan McAllister-Grande is the founder and director of GlobalEd. He has over 20 years of experience in global higher education strategy, program design, intercultural teaching and coaching, assessment, and curriculum development. He is Director of Academic Integration and Planning at Northeastern University’s Global Experience Office. Bryan has twice served on the…

    In 1946, the President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Howard Mumford Jones, delivered three lectures on education and society for the Rushton Foundation. Critical of recent efforts to reform the “core” curriculum, Jones predicted that a “future educational historian will characterize the post-war epoch as one in which the nation turned defensively to reconsider the basis of its civilization.” He argued that Americans needed to look outward and imagine an entirely new vision of liberal education, rather than looking to the past. Such a program should not be based on absolutist, nineteenth-century thinking, said Jones; it should be contextual, and it should include the study of Russia and the “Orient” (Jones, 1946a, 64). For his arguments, he drew upon an ambitious work of analytic philosophy by Yale’s F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West: An Inquiry Concerning World Understanding. In The New York Times, Jones called Northrop’s volume the “most important intellectual event” of 1946 (Jones, 1946b, 98).

    Throughout the 1930 and 1940s, many other voices – from both within and beyond the academy — joined Jones in devising a “general education” for all Americans. Historians have typically regarded these discussions as a domestic pursuit — another chapter in the debate over the right kind of education for the liberal, free citizen in America. Designed to temper concerns about dogmatism from across the Atlantic, “general education for a free society” was the phrase that served as title of the famous Harvard University Red Book and the subject of similar faculty committees at Columbia, Princeton, Amherst, and Yale.

    Recent historical scholarship has highlighted the introduction of global and regional knowledge into those general education plans as a way to prepare Americans for their new international responsibilities. This era marked the rise of area studies and graduate programs in diplomatic affairs. Yet, the link between general education and the making of “international minds” between the World Wars and after WWII has not been fully explored. As the historian David Hollinger notes, there have been few studies examining the intellectual assumptions and ideological commitments behind these curricular and cultural shifts. If we accept the notion that philosophies of education (and the institutions where they are situated and put into practice) inform a society’s thought and culture, examining how those philosophies were shaped may illuminate our understanding of American society and the U.S. role in the world. Such a revisiting of intellectual-institutional history might take an approach to “the global” and to ideas about cosmopolitanism in a way similar to how ideas about religion, race, and gender have been examined for their role in shaping universities, disciplines, and society.

    This critical examination might be better described as a series of unfinished discussions about the curriculum and the idea of the university during the World War periods. The aftermath of two world tragedies had provided a unique moment for introspection, resulting in works of philosophical critique such as Jones’ that are not always recognized or remembered. During this key period that served as a bridge between old and new, between inter-war thinking and Cold War thinking, some the nation’s most prolific social critics and intellectuals examined the foundations of educational thought. In addition to Jones, the list included John Dewey, Sidney Hook, Horace M. Kallen, Carl J. Friedrich, Margaret Mead, Walter Lippmann, Northrop, Alain Locke, Mark Van Doren, and Robert M. Hutchins. These scholars tried to work through the history of ideas, searching for something that had gone awry or trying to reconcile older, supposedly cosmopolitan ideals. To solve international educational and social problems, they revisited Aristotle, Rousseau, Confucius, Aquinas, Locke, and many others. 

    These thinkers wrestled with a cosmopolitan curriculum at a time when the creation of a world state was possible if not inevitable. Writing for the “common man” – a popular term in the time period made famous by Henry A. Wallace – they fiercely debated the place of pragmatism, metaphysics, and modern science in service of social idealism. They hoped to unite classes around the world by constructing a meaningful and egalitarian version of international, social democracy. Education was their vehicle. These movements, now largely forgotten, were front-page news in the 1930s and 1940s. It was a unique stage in the twentieth-century curriculum battles, one shaped by competing “national” and “international” philosophies of culture. 

    In creating a general education philosophy, what did these scholars believe that American undergraduates needed to understand about the world, especially the non-Western world? How did their thinking apply to ideas about a world state and universal education? And, what were the philosophies of knowledge that informed their ideas? The answers provide seeds for re-thinking the history of what today is called “global learning” or “internationalizing the curriculum.”

    The remainder of this essay is devoted to identifying three groups of thinkers in the period — “idealists,” “moderns,” and “globalists.”

    The Idealists 

    What I am calling “Idealists” have also been called, previously, “ancients,” “traditionalists,” “perennials,” “humanists,” “metaphysicists,” “dogmatics,” “neo-scholastics,” “neo-Thomists,” and possibly more. Their ideas are now such a part of Americana – identified with the “Great Books of the Western World” — as to approach caricature. For that reason, I will primarily focus on sections of the texts that wrestle with global thought and will not address other aspects of their work and legacy.

    In the late 1930s and early 1940s, as pragmatism and educational progressivism fell out of favor, the idealists’ views gained popularity. Howard Mumford Jones noted in The New York Times that, in filling this gap, the idealists’ educational philosophy was for while the only credible one available. “There is nothing like the wild vigor of a crusade,” said Jones. “Philosophical thinking seemed for a time to be in the sole possession of the neo-scholastics” (Jones, 1946c). The “wild vigor” Jones referred to was, according to him, “backed by an ingenious show of dialectical reasoning” that criticized the pragmatic philosophy for contributing a relative, individualistic, even radical tone to education. According to the idealists, in the hands of pragmatism, modern education had become no longer as sacred as law or medicine. It could no longer be called capital-e Education, but instead simply education – a conglomeration of various ideas and practices. 

    The idealist philosophy was, they thought, capital-e Education, and it was unabashedly utopian and communal. (One of Hutchins’ many works was called The University of Utopia). Although today sometimes thought of as conservative, thanks in part to the culture wars, it is worth remembering that the 1930s and 1940s idealists tended to flirt with socialism and typically believed in a future world state. Said Alexander Meiklejohn: “We must become citizens of the world. Education is the fitting of people, young and old, for the responsibilities of that citizenship” (Meiklejohn, 1942, 283). Similarly, “civilization is the deliberate pursuit of a common ideal,” proclaimed Robert Hutchins. “Education is the deliberate attempt to form men in terms of an ideal” (Hutchins, 1953, 52). By “civilization” and “men,” Hutchins and Meiklejohn attempted to mean all humankind.

    For these self-proclaimed idealists, then, liberal education was the highest achievement one could gain and a world bonding force. It was a common language, a set of universal  “seven arts.” Based on the ancient Greek trivium and quadrivium, these arts were defined in modern terms as reading, writing, thinking (logic), arithmetic, music, geometry/calculus, and physics/astronomy. While this prescribed curriculum was an adoption of the old classical curriculum and heavily Western, the idealists adapted the study of that curriculum to egalitarian notions of a modern, global society. They believed that such an education was possible for all “common men” around the world and would be a basis for global understanding. According to these thinkers, the “seven arts” produced not only an educated American citizenry, but allowed one human being to be intimately connected to a fellow human being in any time, or any place, regardless of nation or creed. It allowed this human being to be directly involved in a “Great Conversation” – an ancient and on-going dialogue about religion, morality, truth, and justice. 

    One common assumption about the idealists is that their traditionalism was a blind devotion to ancient thinkers, or a religious appeal. While it is true that the idealists embraced Aristotle, they had other historical arguments to make. Hutchins wanted his University of Utopia to be a return to the medieval university. It represented, for Hutchins, a unique moment in history when education was tied neither to nation nor empire (that argument, of course, is faulty). For Hutchins, the medieval universities in Bologna and Paris and the wandering scholars who shared a common language (Latin) were answerable only to “truth” itself. This way of thinking formed the basis for their way of thinking about the anti-intellectualism of the modern university. Similarly, the idealist view of the American colonial college was also an attempted reinterpretation of history. The idealists wanted to re-position the American colonial college as an extension of the medieval university and the search for universal truths, de-emphasizing its religious content. A college, as defined by Meiklejohn in an early call to arms, his 1920 book The Liberal College, should not be a college for the United States or even a Christian college. “A college is a manner of being,” he proclaimed (Meiklejohn, 1920, 67). It was circular and renewing, a place of refuge from opinions or patriotic concerns. 

    Such a vision would be the only way to seed a world state, said the idealists, because it would allow common ideas to flourish. As the lone trained philosopher of the group, Meiklejohn searched for global ideals by re-visiting the Western past to search for forgotten cosmopolitan tendencies. He was especially critical of mainstream Christian philosophy. Education Between Two Worlds, written at the height of WWII, was an exegesis of the “Protestant-capitalist tradition” that Meiklejohn believed to be the cause of the crisis. He believed the tradition led to the separation of ideas from their natural setting and to the categorization of humankind into fixed classes and interest groups. Meiklejohn wanted instead to focus on the spirit of cosmopolitanism that humans had supposedly sought through the act of creating religions. For Meiklejohn, the fact that multiple religions celebrated unity with similar symbols was a reminder that an underlying, universal educational philosophy – what he called the “brotherhood of those who fly the flag of learning” — was indeed possible. He embraced the ideas of the seventeenth-century philosopher Comenius, who had sought a kind of classless, world integration; Meiklejohn believed a universal education had never been fully pursued or in-acted in history for a lack of confidence in Comenius’ “common man.” The result from this revisiting of history, he hoped, was a more effective human rationalism.

    The Moderns

    The first comprehensive response to the idealists’ critiques on modern education would normally have come from the “father” of progressive education himself – John Dewey. But, by the mid-1940s, Dewey was reaching his 80s. The response instead came from Dewey’s former student, Sidney Hook. As such, Hook’s 1946 work, Education for Modern Man, was a defense of Dewey and modern education. This seems significant, because Hook being on the defensive meant that Education for Modern Man is on the whole more caustic than visionary. Hook had little time to deal with global aspects of education, and his work seemed to set the tone for an emerging counter-idealist philosophy grounded in understanding the American present.

    Hook had been ready for battle at the beginning of the decade. During World War II, the idealist Mortimer Adler had delivered a speech called “God and the Professors” in which Adler had said that most “moderns” were worse than Hitler. Hook responded with a series of articles, amounting to what one scholar of Hook calls a “vendetta.” By the time he wrote Education for Modern Man, Hook was less focused on Adler, but still angered. Hook critiqued the idealist philosophy for promoting an essentialist view of human nature. He used the idealists’ own twin arguments – that modern education was anti-intellectual and that critical intelligence was the method by which to unite humanity – against them. Hook did not disagree with the goals. He just felt that the idealists were not using any critical intelligence whatsoever in making the argument.

    Hook attacked the idealists, particularly Hutchins and Meiklejohn on a few related grounds dealing with essentialism. He called out the idealists’ notion of human nature being essentially the same in any time and any place (and thus education as essentially the same in any time and any place) as “a truly remarkable assertion” using “atrocious logic,” in effect throwing away all recent claims of the history of ideas (Hook, 1946, 19-20; 22; 26). Such thinking divorced humankind from its environment, its cultural pluralism, and the very concept of social change, according to Hook. Taken to an extreme, thought Hook, the idealist viewpoint tended to a-historicize knowledge by conflating the study of the present with a rejection of the past. Such a viewpoint, said Hook, was “intellectually cheap,” masking the hard decisions that faculty and students must make about what parts of the past to emphasize as to best interpret present issues. More importantly, thought Hook, making the past a fixed point of study blocked any present issues from achieving the fundamental, timeless qualities that the idealists seemed so eager to re-acquire. Again, Hook used the idealists’ own arguments against them. He felt that the idealists had cornered themselves into an intellectual hole. They had wanted to create a common humanity, but they were perpetuating an underlying assumption that no genuine solutions to problems of a global polity could be found in present reality. Such problems, Hook said, were made by the idealists to be beyond analysis. “The habitual vision of greatness is important not only because it delights us to lift up our eyes on high but because it gives us working standards of comparative judgment,” said Hook. “It enables us to distinguish between the authentic and spurious” (Hook, 1946, 81). Thus, Hook felt that the idealists had resorted to the past as a way to rely upon “prejudiced sentiment” instead of searching for truths in lived experience. Such sentiment could easily lead to totalitarian notions of world citizenship if placed in the hands of less humanistic minds, thought Hook. 

    Both Hook and the idealists thus worried about the limits of human thought, but in sharply different ways. For the idealists, limits were to be found by scavenging for examples in classic literature. For Hook and other moderns, they were found in relating thought to experience, testing out different theories to select ones that produced the most equality in a particular place at a particular time. This was the art of thinking for Hook and Dewey, a communal one of checks and balances. Both approaches advocated for laboratories – for the idealists, these were laboratories of abstract philosophy; for the moderns, the world was a living laboratory.

    While their approaches varied considerably, the “moderns” are so defined here for a few fundamental ideas that they shared. First, they attempted to develop some kind of philosophy of education that connected the American present to selected parts of the Western tradition, seeking an intimate connection between past and present. They aimed to create curricula centered around modern, international problems, but felt that these problems could be solved using the methods of existing social science matched with traditional humanistic study. They believed each student should find his/her way through this curriculum largely on his/her own, and equally that teachers should be free to teach under differing and various philosophical viewpoints. Importantly, however, as the century progressed they tended to shed their old ties to progressive education. They argued less that their view was a “philosophy” and more that was simply natural or neutral.

    For Hook, the study of value was essential to the evolution of the curriculum. He wanted to introduce philosophical consideration into every field, and to re-focus education on questions of methodology. For Hook, a good liberal education was one that deconstructed the social meaning and history of values. The problem with the idealists, said Hook, was that they considered values to be metaphysical constructs removed from their particular contexts. He questioned: 

    Is it true, as a matter of fact or analysis, that what are called “ultimate” values have the same meaning, as distinct from their formal verbal expression, in all times, places and cultures? How can we tell without examining the values of at least some different cultures? But this is an argument for comparative culture study and critical anthropology which, though it tames the fanaticism of virtue, need not lead, as Mr. Hutchins fears, to the identification of custom and morality. 

    hook, 1946, 82

    Not surprisingly, Hook thought pragmatist and experiential philosophies provided the way forward — although he repeatedly hesitated to use those monikers. “Different ends may be proposed but intelligent decision among them can be made only by canvassing their consequences in experience,” said Hook. This process of canvassing would allow for agreement on social and moral ends without agreement on presuppositions. For Hook, pragmatic thought was the only way to achieve some kind of coexistence among people with differing viewpoints – it was the only way for values to be seen as choices, and for people to reconstruct their value systems based on the consideration of different choices.

    This was a difficult process, said Hook. One first needed to make students aware of their own choices as grounded in particular cultural habits. The teacher then needed to introduce students to a kind of rooted relativity that allowed them to see others’ values as choices validated in that particular context. After this introductory understanding, students would be able to see how these value choices have influenced the construction of institutions and societies over time. For Hook, philosophy, in combination with cultural anthropology, allowed students to see these choices not only as individual wants and desires, but also as collective actions. Hook thought that philosophical study would allow students to see the progression of cultural institutions as pluralistic choices being made in history, not as unchangeable, essential characteristics. “Value judgments are understood not only through knowledge of their origins and causes but through knowledge of their structural interrelations,” said Hook. He wanted such analysis to be “historically centered” (Hook, 1946, 132-133).

    Other moderns wanted education to be rooted directly in cultural anthropology, not philosophy. A collection of anthropologists and interculturalists best associated with Columbia University (where Dewey had also been based) and often called the “Boas School” after Franz Boas advocated for anthropology to be the new “lingua franca” of education. In their vision, shared by celebrity anthropologists such as Margaret Mead, anthropology would not be a separate field of study but rather a common and integrative link between all subjects in the curriculum — a kind of mega global discipline.

    Yet, Hook and other moderns typically focused much of their attention on method as they sought to emerge from the backlash against progressive education. Their focus on technical method took their arguments in a technocratic, neo-liberal direction that foreshadowed today’s focus on outcomes and methods. Hook’s views on the study of foreign languages offer a succinct example of this emphasis on method. Hook believed languages to be primarily a method for understanding how human emotions were related to human actions – to the “licet ambiguities of imaginative discourse.” For Hook, language study was a kind of meta-analysis that would allow the student to think in more pluralistic and multi-dimensional ways. “In learning another language we put ourselves in a position where we can appreciate both the cultural similarities and differences of the Western world,” said Hook (1946, 102). It was not a way to understand other cultures and regions of the world, or to search for humanity – or at least Hook did not say so explicitly.

    In a review of Education for Modern Man, Howard Mumford Jones — ever the referee of the debates — championed Hook as brave warrior fighting the blind idealists. But, he also seemed a little hesitant in his support; while Hook was “on the side of the United Nations,” and not “on the side of angels,” Jones also noted that there was little in the book that spoke directly to recent world events and technological change (Jones, 1946b). Instead, Hook had set his sights on Western thought alone. Hook helped set the tone for thinking in Cold War ways about the cultural formation of values and institutions, but he did not venture far beyond the West. The globalists – including anti-colonial scholars such as Alain Locke – tried to imagine new ways of thinking about the world that did not rely entirely on the successes or failures of Western tradition.

    The Globalists

    Globalists differed from both idealists and moderns. Throwing out the past and eager to avoid “nationalism,” they created interdisciplinary inquiries that explored the multiple histories of cultures and world regions; some of them even sought some kind of eventual integration of cultures and languages. For the globalists, the world had changed after two world wars and economic depression. It could no longer be thought of as the progression of the West as separate or different from the East, or from so-called “uncivilized” places. While colonialism never fully entered the globalist vocabulary in the 1940s, these thinkers were clearly concerned with the dramatic changes in world affairs that had created new nations and had advanced or destroyed empires. They organized educational conferences inviting in perspectives from China, India, Africa, and elsewhere; and they had high hopes for UNESCO as a means to help rid educational systems of excessively nationalistic textbooks and pedagogies. For the globalists, the art of thinking was a process of opening up the mind to newness and relishing in interconnectivity.

    Howard Mumford Jones was himself one of the most interesting globalists in this mold. In 1944, the professor of literature and dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School published an influential volume called Ideas in America. The book argued for a critical examination of American intellectual history, aiming to place it in the context of world history and out of excessively European or religious traditions. As Joan Shelley Rubin notes, Jones was an Americanist with a strong comparative mentality; he argued for American studies to have no more special place in scholarship than any other region, while still believing that the study of American ideas offered special humanistic insight into world citizenship.

    Jones weighed in on the general education debates with Education and World Tragedy, the compilation of his Rushton Lectures. He felt that the idealists and moderns were all wrong. “The primary conflict of our time is the revolt against the fruits of more than twenty centuries of Western culture,” said Jones. “Civilization must re-educate itself or perish” (Jones, 1946a, 78). Such a re-education, argued Jones, would need to face, head-on, the knowledge systems and epistemologies held as true by the non-West. It should be comparative, said Jones, but it should not hold the U.S. or the West as the primary basis for comparison. It should also face the application of modern science to social life, thought Jones. He pointed out that most of the plans for general education came from the humanities, and from a largely European-based humanistic tradition. “In a scientific and technological age our educational theory should not be shaped mainly by non-scientists,” Jones said. The result of this, thought Jones, was two-fold: not only did humanists and social scientists never bother to understand science and its impacts, but they also sought desperately to apply the scientific method in “fields where human behavior is frequently strange and unpredictable.” Like the idealists, Jones was worried about attempts by positivists and other technocrats to search for absolute measurements of social behavior. In short, he basically predicted the neo-liberal order we have today.

    This was a wide-ranging argument, and Education and World Tragedy is an ambitious and complicated book. Jones was particularly influenced by what he called the “cultural dilemma of the twentieth century:” although he did not name it directly, it was clearly the emerging neo-liberal order. Jones feared that order would ruin humanity. To combat neo-liberalism, he cited recent alternative visions by Eric Fischer, Elton Mayo, Alfred North Whitehead, Quincy Wright, and Erich Fromm; all had predicted not only a “passing” of the European and Western age in terms of power and politics, but a true unsettling of traditional Western thought. Perhaps the largest influence on Jones’ educational views was another of these forecasters, F.S.C. Northrop. 

    Northrop was a now-obscure comparative epistemologist who had chaired Yale’s philosophy department before the war as the University’s Sterling Professor in Philosophy and Law (achieving Yale’s highest faculty honor in both subjects), and was reportedly close with Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, among other major thinkers. Few scholarly studies of Northrop seem to exist, with the exception of Fred Seddon’s introductory synopsis of his work and my own dissertation. Like Russell and Whitehead, Northrop was part of a group of early twentieth-century philosophers who used logic and science to inform major intellectual and social ideas. Northrop’s own intellectual contribution was to apply these scientific principles to the study of human societies and to the study of global coexistence, encompassing both international relations and intercultural and ethnic relations. His first book, Science and First Principles, published in 1931, argued for a distinction in ways of knowing, divided between reason (the theoretic) and sense (the aesthetic). Northrop felt that sense, or the aesthetic way of knowing, involved interpreting the world by the scientific concept of intuition, while reason, or the theoretic way of knowing, centered on interpretation by the scientific concept of postulation. While distinctive, Northrop felt that in the process of reaching modernity the two concepts, at least in the West, had diverged too far from their natural relationship, causing the West to consider the same issue from fractured, specialized frames of knowledge. This was not in itself a revolutionary discovery, but Northrop uniquely applied it to the formation of normative cultural ideologies. Said Seddon in his review of Northrop’s work: “With an unquenchable faith in the power of ideas, Northrop believed that in order to understand any given culture, one needs to understand their underlying philosophy” or ideology. For Northrop, these cultural ideologies were only fixed in the sense that they had been historically formed and socially constructed. They could also be deconstructed and re-formed into new ideologies. But to do that, Northrop felt that humankind needed a new method of combining ways of knowing – combining understanding by intuition and understanding by postulation.

    Northrop thought that Robert Hutchins and the idealists had realized this need. They had sought to find the solution to the problem by returning to the metaphysical ideas of Aristotle and the Greek classics. According to Northrop, the idealists had sought to rise against the “fallacy” of the social sciences, and Northrop agreed that they relied too heavily on concepts by postulation. “The heart of this fallacy is grasped when one notes that social science is distinguished from natural science by the fact that it is confronted by problems of value as well as problems of fact,” said Northrop. “This occurs because we ask of society not merely what the facts are but also how we can alter them to produce a more ideal state of affairs.” Northrop felt the idealists’ efforts were admirable, but their solution – a return to Western tradition – ignored the “modern or postmodern world” with its possibilities for unique cultural integration.

    Northrop believed that WWII was paradigm-shifting historical moment, arguing that WWI was not a world war at all but largely a Western conflict. WWII had instead caused a historical convergence. “For the first time in history, not merely in war but also in issues of peace, the East and West are in a single world movement, as much Oriental as Occidental in character,” said Northrop. Aiming to be a “philosophy of culture” that was simultaneously a “philosophy of science,” Northrop’s The Meeting of East and West sought to understand the underlying philosophies of world cultures — primarily Russia and Asia, but also the particular ideologies of Mexico and Germany. (Interestingly, the Middle East and Africa are missing from his analysis). Northrop put forth the argument that Eastern (“Oriental”) epistemology was largely based on aesthetic concepts of intuition; while Western (“Occidental”) epistemology was increasingly grounded on theoretical concepts of postulation. Yet, Northrop believed that each tradition actually showed historical elements of both aesthetic and theoretic understanding, and that the key to global cooperation was first an understanding of how these dual elements worked together, and then a philosophical integration. Northrop felt that such work must be done carefully, involving the entire academic enterprise together with the general public. Such reform must be done with the full awareness that “the traditional Western tendency to regard the primitive as inferior or evil must be rejected with respect to the aesthetic component in culture;” in other words, with full awareness of earlier educational attempts to understand the very idea of “civilization” itself as the antithesis of the primal or intuitive.

    Northrop contributed to the general education debates with an article entitled “Education for Intercultural Understanding” for The Journal of Higher Education; it built upon his arguments in East and West. For Northrop, the key disciplines for understanding culture were anthropology and sociology. However, “something more” was also required – a different kind of thinking based in recent theories of complex systems and cybernetics by those like Norbert Wiener.  “A culture is not merely the facts which an anthropologist observes by a careful use of the objective methods of science,” said Northrop. “It is also the concepts and theories by which these facts are understood by the people indigenous to this culture” (Northrop, 1947). Modern anthropology and sociology, thought Northrop, were weak on this issue because they:

    …have brought to the formation of their methodology and their own conceptual apparatus the philosophical assumptions of this modern culture…all the facts of these other cultures are translated into the conceptual framework of a modern Western sociological science and its modern Western culture. Hence, what one obtains often is not the ideology of the native culture that is being investigated but the empirical facts of this culture brought under the ideology of modern Western sociologists and their particular cultural and philosophical assumptions.

    northrop, 1947

    Even as a Westerner himself, Northrop was worried about false interpretations of the non-West. He thought that the result was that students were too often taught to think only inductively, whereby one begins with specific, empirical observations and moves to general conclusions – often then deemed to be proven principles or precedents. To correct this problem, Northrop thought that the concepts of inductive thinking should be matched (not replaced) with concepts of deductive thinking, whereby one starts with precedents and then moves to specific conclusions. The study of culture, emphasized Northrop, must have both, because culture is neither a fixed entity nor a strictly empirical observation. In a sense, Northrop agreed with Hook that philosophical and methodological comparison should be integrated with the study of contemporary problems – but Northrop went further than Hook to suggest that these contemporary problems must go far beyond their relevance to the West.

    Thus, globalists like Northrop and Jones can be related more intimately with idealists like Hutchins and Meiklejohn than we might typically imagine. The globalists and idealists both developed an equally critical view of modernity as a problem relating to the social construction of knowledge. They each sought, in their own way, to find a solution by developing a global educational program rooted in the re-visiting of humanistic expression. Such a program, they hoped, would introduce a dynamic concept of culture. They also both sought to return to an older conception of a university as a collection of unattached philosophers seeking universal knowledge, and they saw the modern world as a unique chance to create a utopia of “common men.” The difference between the two lines of thought, however, was that the idealists sought to create a global culture through the study of literary expression itself, while the globalists sought a massive convergence of philosophies that was largely technical in nature. It is difficult to judge which line of thought was more idealistic or which was more potentially dangerous. The former could be exclusionary while the latter could lead to a kind of fixed ideological relativity, even when culture was thought of as socially constructed. Northrop thought, for example, that the underlying philosophies of Russia and the United States were so incompatible that a violent conflict was inevitable, and could only be resolved by “Asian intervention.” He also thought that in the United States itself, the “cultures” of the Native Americans and African-Americans could only find their equal place when their aesthetic contributions could be integrated with the white, Anglo-Saxon theoretic — a position that was blind to its racism.

    While the idealists were a fairly unified group, the globalists were not. Their work was largely experimental and sometimes not fully developed. Jones spent the bulk of Education and World Tragedy critiquing higher education but much less time actually developing his general education curriculum devoted to studying Asia and Russia. When many of these thinkers (including Jones and Meiklejohn) gathered for the Ninth Symposium of the Conference on Science, Philosophy, and Religion on the “Goals of American Education” in 1948, several participants criticized Jones for not specifying how Asia and Russia were to be studied. “I gather that Mr. Jones is worried about our capacity to really understand Russia, and to set up a cooperative world community. So am I,” said John Daniel Wild, a philosopher and Jones’ colleague at Harvard. “But I am unable to follow him in the assumption that these crucially important aims will be achieved merely by setting up more machinery, professors, and secretaries, more fields and areas called ‘the study of Russia’ and the ‘study of the Orient.’” For Wild and other participants, it was still better to teach students to think critically about their own culture. 

    Such reactions nicely played into the hands of the idealists, and in 1954, Robert Hutchins shot back at the globalists by quoting Wild’s commentary in Great Books. Hutchins, like Wild, felt that the globalists proposed a too-simple version of cultural relativism, one that ended up dismissing the achievements of the West. “There is no reason why the West should feel that it must apologize for a determination to retain and renew a sense of its own character and its own range…Nothing in the main line of the Western tradition leads to ethnocentric pride or cultural provincialism,” said Hutchins. Again, he asserted the importance of reading the Great Books not as cultural absolutes, but as inquiries into how to live. “Any widespread achievement of understanding between East and West will have to wait on the production of an adequate supply of liberally educated Westerners,” he said, not Westerners educated on what he called “hastily instituted survey courses.”

    While the globalists’ views helped moderate and shape the other educational philosophies, they largely “lost” the debate and were never really taken seriously. In the 1948 Symposium, Alain Locke called for “a New Organon in Education” – referring to Aristotle’s famous works on logic. Locke’s version was a search for a vibrant education philosophy that would incorporate global and intercultural phenomena in a similar way to Northrop’s, but with a more pragmatist bent. Calling it “critical relativism,” Locke wanted to search for the normative, not through didactic reasoning, but by a “broadly comparative and critical study of values so devised as to make clear the vital correlations between such values and their historical and cultural backgrounds.” His vision was some kind of medium between those like Hook, who tended to search for the normative in the immediate American experience, and those like Northrop and Arnold Toynbee, who Locke believed still showed traces of “abstract dialectical principles of interpretation” based on Aristotelian philosophy. Yet, Locke admitted that such a vision would be complicated to implement, perhaps even unreachable. He predicted the response of his colleagues when he questioned his own vision, asking, “how integrating can that be?”

    The failure to create an accepted, comparative methodology was recognized later by Daniel Bell in his wide-ranging 1966 study of general education. As much as anyone, Bell was influential in the 1960s revisions of general education, which tended to put more emphasis on the study of comparative methodology and less on content and shared humanities. But for the specific question of East and West, Bell wondered: “What is the unit to be delimited?…What does one mean by ‘civilization’?…Can we, in effect, have an anthropology of civilizations?…In short, should the general education programs still concentrate largely on Western civilization; and if others are to be included what is the definition of the unit?” Without satisfactory answers to these questions, the revisions of the 60s tended to side more with Hook’s emphasis on comparative methodology as a way of understanding one’s own society.

    The Revival of Educational History

    This essay is a starting point to re-discovering the history of liberal education, as well as the subtle links between liberal education, American thought, and world citizenship. I have separated the debaters into three distinct sides, arguing that we need to re-visit their ideas with fresh eyes and understand how their thinking overlapped and played against one another. Their ideas did not occur in a vacuum, and neither did they occur only in the U.S. Where previous historians of education and society have tended to see mainly domestic implications, historians who now use a global approach to history might re-focus on the 1930s, 40s, and 50s as a period of vibrant exchange of ideas across borders. A broader study might look at (or at least pay more attention to) how ideas about education and world citizenship were formed across countries and cultures. 

    In fact, the delineation between idealists, moderns, and globalists is also meant to be a starting point and not a conclusion. With the exception of the idealists, who were a fairly unified group, there were no clear boundaries between others who imagined various forms of liberal education. However one frames the debates, what is important is to go beyond knee-jerk reactions. Popular commentators and critics have tended to define the liberal education tradition as either a series of local, academic turf wars on the one hand, or as a hidden, broader political conflict on the other. Complicated minds thus often serve as convenient representatives of certain political arguments. 

    This populist version of the liberal education tradition seems too romantic. I think this partly helps explain why educational philosophy is out of favor amongst historians, even while scholarship on the university is increasing. Yet, the 1940s debates were deeply connected to a broader American philosophic and cultural tradition and a product of their time period. As part of the American philosophic tradition, the ideas were intimately tied to the early twentieth-century efforts to create a public philosophy for American democracy – and thus tied to the legacies of pragmatism, scholasticism, positivism, and many other “isms.” 

    As part of their time period, the debaters were self-reflexive about the underpinnings of democracy. Confident about WWII victory but shaken by cultural upheaval and human tragedy, these intellectuals re-visited their convictions about the nature of truth and its application to the public sphere, at the same time that they imagined ways for definitions of truth to be extended to the realm of the global. “The articles of the old faith have been tragically frustrated,” wrote John Dewey in 1944. Yet, Dewey remained convinced that the basic principles of social idealism were as important as ever after the war. He and other thinkers were still optimistic that the people of the world could be unified by knowledge. Perhaps most fascinating was these intellectuals’ own attempts at historiography, as they tried to position certain institutions and traditions as ideal types.

    Historians might continue to question in what ways these visions were cosmopolitan, or how they offered a particular view of cosmopolitanism. As Hollinger notes, “Just how the cosmopolitan ideal was interpreted, and how it was then translated into concrete undergraduate curriculums, ideological persuasions, agendas for disciplines, and the like, is the substance of much of the unwritten history of American intellectuals during the mid-century decades.” In a similar way, recent work on the history of the Cold War university has eschewed simplistic accounts of universities as actors in Cold War machinery, and has focused instead on the ways in which scholarship served both knowledge and foreign policy. The wartime era might be better portrayed, then, as a true liminal moment – an intense transition from modern to the beginnings of post-modern, and from international to the beginnings of global. It featured a wide-ranging debate about the nature of “culture” in its structural sense – asking what culture is and how it manifests. In doing so, I believe all of these 1930s and 1940s thinkers – perhaps even the idealists — tried to develop a dynamic understanding of culture as neither immutable nor entirely relative. They searched instead for some kind of science or philosophy of culture that would underpin economic and political integration in a manner largely forgotten today. 

    In this sense, these debates might also say something new about the historiography of global thought. The texts beg the question: Are our ideas about the world inherited blindly, as a collection of pre-determined cultural facts and figures? Or are they also a matter of interpretation, constructed through the history of epistemology and culture? The latter approach leans toward a meta, structural view of global thought that has implications for how we approach history and how we view American internationalism. For example, where do ideas about “nations,” “cultures,” and “development” come from?  The growth of ideas about patriotism and foreign policy might thus be seen through a different lens if traced back to their intellectual and institutional origins.

    While there was no clear winner of the 1940s debates, it seems likely that some combination of the idealist and synthesist philosophies survived, and that this curious mixture lives on today. General education, while undoubtedly shifting in the last decade, remains a confusing mixture of Western classics, “Non-Western” counter-narratives, universalistic social science, and value-free introductory natural and biological science. While global issues have been infused into the curriculum with aplomb since 1989, this infusion mostly involves broadening the scope of study and deals less with interpretation and integration. The result is ironic – the ideas of the 1940s globalists survive only to the extent that the non-Western world is now considered important. There is less emphasis on developing a philosophy of culture that might determine normative concerns. Facing a tremendous explosion and diffusion of knowledge, experts today are calling for the development of “global competencies.” Yet, these calls come from now deeply embedded, national agendas.

    At the same time, of course, Martha Nussbaum and other philosophers have argued for a return to the ideals of a liberal education as a way of reconnecting education to discursive democracy. Nussbaum also tries to re-position liberal education in a global context, arguing for some kind of return to the idea of a common, if not necessarily shared, humanity. Such work can also be connected to a revival in cosmopolitanism advocated by philosophers like Kwame Anthony Appiah and historians like Hollinger – often expressed as “rooted” or “colorful” cosmopolitanism.

    Similarly, there are renewed calls for achieving “ends” in education, and for a return to the classical or even religious curriculum. Yet, in the post, post-modern world, we are still worried about anything that has an ultimate or essential end. Calls from those like Nussbaum on the liberal Left, or from those on the religious Right, are still on the fringes of our educational scene. Ultimately, we are reluctant to commit to any “philosophy” of education – and thus the discourse of the last twenty to thirty years has been focused on educational policy and bureaucracy. This might be another reason why historians overlook educational history – it has become mechanic rather than meaningful.

    Whatever one thinks about the 1940s idealists – as well as, perhaps, their culture war descendants like Allan Bloom and Harold Bloom — their words might at least serve as inspiration for a new, critical view of educational philosophy in a global context. In the 1959 preface to the re-print of his book Liberal Education, Mark Van Doren directly addressed why his revisions made no mention of the Cold War and global rivalries. “It is not that I consider the crisis unreal,” he said. “It is so real, surely, that the best possible thinking should be done about it. And since liberal education is intellectual education, its relevance might seem never to have been greater…And how should it behave in crises? I still believe that it should behave like itself.” Today, are we having a global conversation about what liberal education is, and what it is not? How we construct the curriculum is important far beyond the distribution of courses and requirements. How the curriculum is constructed determines how students interpret the world around them in an era of equally rapid change, and how they go about changing and shaping it. The historical study of liberal education may or may not impact the future, but it can provide a certain standard of inquiry that is missing today. It might show us both forgotten possibilities as well as once-considered limits.

    References and Works Cited

    Albin, Edgar A. “Oriental Culture and the West: The Need for a “Globalized” Curriculum,” College Art Journal, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Summer, 1955), 340 – 346

    Angell, James R. “Education in a World at War: Penrose Lecture, April 24, 1942,” Proceedings of the American Philosophy Society, Vol. 85, No. 5 (September 30, 1942), 433 – 439

    Arndt, Richard T. The First Resort of Kings: American Cultural Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2005)

    Barzun, Jacques. Teacher in America (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1944)

    “Harvard Takes Stock,” Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 176, No. 4 (October, 1945)

    Bell, Daniel. Reforming of General Education: The Columbia College Experience in its National 

    Setting (New York: Columbia University Press, 1966)

    Benedict, Ruth. “Anthropology and the Humanities,” American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 50, No. 4, Part 1 (October – December, 1948), 585 – 593

    “Recognition of Cultural Diversities in the Postwar World,” Annals of the American 

    Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 228, The United Nations and the Future 

    (July, 1943), 101-107

    Bryson, Lyman, Finkelstein, Louis & MacIver, R.M., eds.  Goals for American Education: Ninth Symposium 

    (New York: The Conference on Science, Philosophy, and Religion in their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, and Harper & Brothers, 1950)

    Carnochan, W.B. The Battleground of the Curriculum: Liberal Education and American Experience 

    (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993)

    Cardozier, V.R. Colleges and Universities in World War II (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993)

    Carr, William G. and Murra, Wilbur F.  “Education and International Order,” Review of Educational 

    Research, Vol. 19, No. 1 (February, 1949), 57 – 76

    Cherrington, Ben.  “America’s Future Cultural Relations,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and 

    Social Science, Vol. 235, International Frontiers in Education (September, 1944), 77 – 82

    Childers, Alma. “What About Civic Education?,” Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 31, No. 6 (May, 

    1954), 333 – 335

    Columbia University Committee on Plans, A College Program in Action: A Review of Working Principles at 

    Columbia College (New York: Columbia University Press, 1946)

    Conant, James Bryant.  “Introduction,” General Education in a Free Society: Report of the Harvard 

    Committee (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1945)

    Cotter, Matthew J., ed.  Sidney Hook Reconsidered (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2004)

    Cowley, William Howard.  “The Report in Perspective,” from A Précis of General Education in a Free 

    Society, report of the Harvard University Student Council (1945). Accessed at the Harvard University Archives, HUA 8945.132.15.

    Dewey, John. “The Democratic Faith and Education,” The Antioch Review, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Summer, 

    1944), 274 – 283

    Engerman, David C.   “American Knowledge and Global Power,” Bernath Lecture, Diplomatic History, Vol. 

    31, No. 4 (September, 2007)

    Know Your Enemy: The Rise and Fall of America’s Soviet Experts (Oxford: Oxford 

    University Press, 2009)

    Friedrich, Carl J. The New Belief in the Common Man (Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1942)

    Harvard University General Education in a Free Society: Report of the Harvard Committee (Cambridge, 

    MA: Harvard University Press, 1945)

    Hoffa, William W. A History of U.S. Study Abroad: Beginnings to 1965 (Lancaster, PA: Frontiers Journal, 


    Hollinger, David A. and Capper, Charles (ed.).  The American Intellectual Tradition: Volume II: 1865 to the 

    Present, Fifth Edition (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

    Hollinger, David A., ed. The Humanities and the Dynamics of Inclusion Since World War II (Baltimore: The 

    Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006)

    Hook, Sidney. Education for Modern Man (New York: The Dial Press, 1946)

    “The Function of Higher Education in Post-War Reconstruction,” Journal of Educational Sociology, Vol. 16, No. 1, Education in a Post-War World (September, 1942)

    Hutchins, Robert M. The Higher Learning in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1936)

    The University of Utopia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953)

    Great Books: The Foundation of a Liberal Education (New York: Simon and Schuster, 


    Jones, Howard Mumford. Education and World Tragedy: The Rushton Lectures (New York: Greenwood 

    Press, 1946)

    Jones, “Concerning World Understanding: A Cogent Explanation of the Conflicts Between Eastern and Western Cultures,” Review of The Meeting of East and West by F.S.C. Northrop, The New York Times (July 7, 1946), ProQuest Historical Newspapers (1851-2006), 98.

    Jones, “An Educator Looks to the Future,” The New York Times (May 26, 1946), ProQuest Historical Newspapers (1851-2006), BR4.

    Kallen, Horace M. The Education of Free Men: An Essay Toward a Philosophy of Education for Americans 

    (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Company, 1949)

    Kandel, I.L. “Education Utopias,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 235, International Frontiers in Education (September, 1944), 41 – 48

    “Language and Human Values,” The French Review, Vol. 16, No. 6 (May, 1943), 472 – 


     “National and International Aspects of Education,” International Review of Education

    Vol. 1, No. 1 (1955), 5 – 17

    Kimball, Bruce A. Orators and Philosophers: A History of the Idea of Liberal Education (New York: 

    College Entrance Examination Board, 1995)

    Kravitz, Anita Fay. “The Harvard Report of 1945: A Historical Ethnography,” unpublished dissertation 

    (University of Pennsylvania, 1994). Accessed at the Harvard University Archives, HUA 994.46 Box 240.

    Kuhn, Thomas S. “Subjective View,” from A Précis of General Education in a Free Society, report of the 

    Harvard University Student Council (1945). Accessed at the Harvard University Archives, HUC 8945.132.15.

    Laves, Walter H.C. “The Importance of the International Mind,” The Antioch Review, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 

    1951), 11 – 28

    “The Universities and International Understanding,” The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 20, No. 3 (March, 1949), 115 – 120

    Locke, Alain. “Democracy Faces a World Order,” Harvard Educational Review, Vol. XII (January – 

    December 1942)

    Luce, Henry R. “The American Century,” Life (February 17, 1951, original 1941)

    Matthiessen, F.O. “The Humanities in War Time.” Presentation copy to President James Conant. Accessed 

    from Harvard University Archives, HUC 8943.53.

    McCaughey, Robert A.  International Studies and Academic Enterprise: A Chapter in the Enclosure of 

    American Learning (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984)

    Mead, Margaret. “Our Educational Emphases in Primitive Perspective,” The American Journal of 

    Sociology, Vol. 48, No. 6 (May, 1943), 633-639

    Mestenhauser, Josef.  “Portraits of an International Curriculum: An Uncommon Multidimensional 

    Perspective,” Reforming the Higher Education Curriculum: Internationalizing the Campus, ed. Mestenhauser and Brenda J. Ellingboe (Washington, D.C.: American Council on Education/Oryx Press, 1998)

    Meiklejohn, Alexander.  The Liberal College  (Boston: Marshall Jones Company, 1920)

    Education Between Two Worlds (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1942)

    Northrop, F.S.C. “Education for Intercultural Understanding,” The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 18, 

    No. 4 (April, 1947), 171 – 181

    The Meeting of East and West: An Inquiry Concerning World Understanding (New York: 

    MacMillan, 1947)

    ed. Ideological Differences and World Order: Studies in the Philosophy and Science of the World’s Cultures (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1949)

    Nostrand, Howard Lee and Brown, Francis, ed.  “The Role of Colleges and Universities 

    in International Understanding,” A report of a conference held under the auspices of the American Council on Education in Cooperation with 68 Other National Educational Organizations, the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Social Science Foundation of the University of Denver (Volume XIII, October 1949)

    Pei, Mario A. “Some Reflections on the Harvard Report,” The French Review, Vol. 19, No. 3 (January, 

    1946), 168 – 173

    “Languages in the Post-War World,” The Modern Language Journal, Vol. 27, No. 7 

    (Nov. 1943), 481-485

    Perry, Ralph Barton (chairman).  Final Report on the Work of the Committee, 1942 – 1945 (Boston: 

    Universities Committee on Post-War International Problems, 1945)

    Pollack, Erwin. “Isaac Leon Kandel (1881 – 1965),” Propects: the quarterly review of comparative 

    education, Vol. 23, No. 3/4 (Paris: UNESCO, International Bureau of Education, 1993), 775 – 787

    President’s Commission on Higher Education.  Higher Education for American Democracy (Washington, 

    D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1947)

    Quillen, I. James. “Education for World Citizenship,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and 

    Social Science, Vol. 235, International Frontiers in Education (September, 1944), 122 – 127

    Rand, E.K. “Harvard’s New Liberal Arts,” typewritten manuscript with annotations (1945). Accessed 

    at the Harvard University Archives, HUC 8945.74.

    Reuben, Julie A. The Making of the Modern University: Intellectual Transformation and the 

    Marginalization of Morality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996)

    Rubin, Joan Shelley.  The Making of Middlebrow Culture (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina 

    Press, 1992)

    Schiffrin, Andre, ed. The Cold War & the University: Toward an Intellectual History of the Postwar Years 

    (New York: The New Press, 1997)

    Smith, M.B. “Did War Service Produce International-Mindedness,” Harvard Educational Review

    Vol. XV (January – December 1945), 250 – 257

    Smith, Wilson and Bender, Thomas, ed.  American Higher Education Transformed, 1940 – 2005: 

    Documenting the National Discourse (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University 

    Press, 2008)

    Stoddard, George D.  “Teach Them the Ways of Democracy,” Annals of the American Academy of Political 

    and Social Science, Vol. 235, International Frontiers in Education (September, 1944), 25 

    – 32

    Swift, Richard N.  World Affairs and the College Curriculum (Washington, D.C.: American Council on 

    Education, 1959)

    Teller, Gertrude E. “Effective Citizenship and Foreign-Language Study,” The Modern Language Journal

    Vol. 31, No. 8 (December, 1947)

    Thelin, John R. A History of American Higher Education (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University 

    Press, 2004)

    Van Doren, Mark. Liberal Education (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1959, original 1943 by Henry Holt)

    Willkie, Wendell L. Freedom and the Liberal Arts (New York: F.S. Crofts & Co., 1943). Transcript of an 

    address delivered at Duke University.

    One World (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1943)

    Wirth, Louis. “Postwar Political and Social Conditions and Higher Education,” Annals of the American 

    Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 231, Higher Education and the War (January, 1944), 154 – 162

  • Unintended Consequences of Internationalization: New Perspectives on Educational Change

    Unintended Consequences of Internationalization: New Perspectives on Educational Change

    Guest Essay
    by Shahrzad Kamyab, Independent Scholar and Rosalind Latiner Raby, California State University, Northridge


    The new book edited by Shahrzad Kamyab and Rosalind Latiner Raby.

    Within internationalization of higher education literature, a focus on intended outcomes has been identified, explored, and applied over time and across geographies. However, there is no set definition and there is extremely limited discourse on unintended consequences. In our new book (Unintended Consequences of Internationalization of Higher Education, Routledge, 2023), we add to the field of comparative and international higher education a definition of unintended consequences and then explore it via case studies of 18 countries, many of which reside in the Global South. Since there is no set definition, we define unintended consequences of internationalization as “what occurs when a single or set of actions (theoretical or practical) influence new perceptions, trajectory of actions, or static by-products in unexpected ways” (p. 2).

    The importance of unintended consequences is that it can facilitate change by being a response to intended actions or can inadvertently alter intended goals and outcomes by reversing or moving the agenda into new directions. Negative unintended consequences include erosion of cultural values, human capital flight, and inequities from hegemonic relationships. Positive unintended consequences include innovation to increase profit and rank, equitable collaborations, and de-colonization practices. In addition, authors in this book show that in their country, that depending on the point of view, unintended consequences can have both negative and positive implications. For example, adoption of English as Lingua Franca in specific academic programs limits access for local and non-English speaking international students, seen as negative. Yet, at the same time, a focus on international students with English skills aligns with higher education strategies to raise prestige, seen as positive.

    When we conceived this book, we were aware of the lack of discourse on unintended consequences of internationalization. As such, we gave each author a basic framework, including a) context on country; b) context on internationalization in the country; c) positive unintended consequences; and d) negative unintended consequences. We did not give a definition as we wanted the authors to explore their own interpretations of unintended consequences of internationalization. The selection of countries was purposeful for this book. Since the field of internationalization of higher education is dominated by the English-speaking research focused on English-speaking countries, our intent was to bring voices from and to target scholarship from areas of the world that are underrepresented in the literature. As such, the combined chapters include case studies on Canada, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Zimbabwe.

    Unintended Consequences of Internationalization Themes

    Three themes are prominent in the book. The first theme explores unintended consequences of internationalization as a response to something that has already happened. These responses are the creation of new actions, opportunities, or processes. In Costa Rica, for example, a proposed development of a niche curricula to attract international students from the U.S. unintendedly created Costa Rica as a hub that attracted students from throughout Central America. In Russia, intended institutional reforms to facilitate international student enrollment unintentionally innovated student services. The later was unexpectedly responsible for an increase in incoming student flows and the profit gained from their admission.

    The second theme shows unintended consequences of internationalization as an unanticipated action that leads to a rejection of something that has already happened that, in turn, results in the creation of new actions or processes that fundamentally change the intended outcome. In pre-revolutionary Iran (pre-1979), massive student mobility helped to internationalize higher education, but unintendedly led to brain drain. In Tunisia, the intended adoption of European internationalization practices is advocated by some as a tool to facilitate modernization, but unexpectedly was rejected by others who fought to retain national and local identity.

    The final theme illustrates unintended consequences of internationalization as a calculated movement forward into new directions via strategic actions that sometimes are framed by social justice and equity. In Canada, the national focus on internationalization of higher education has unintended consequences of balancing a global market focus to one on social justice within local orientations. In Zimbabwe, responses to neo-colonialism resulted in unintended actions that utilize post-colonial actions in which local contributions remove an institution from Northern hegemony.

    Final Thoughts

    When taking into consideration the unintended consequences of internationalization, our book shows that what is unexpected has the potential to change plans, initiate new programs, and take advantage of new opportunities. Comparative and international perspectives on the impacts of unintended consequences provide a new perspective on Internationalization of Higher Education and on Internationalization in Higher Education for Society since there is action beyond outcomes. More importantly, when realizing that unintended consequences exist, it underscores unforeseen possibilities for change. In some contexts, strategic designs for intended actions can be oblivious to unforeseen and unpredictable outcomes. In other contexts, the unintended consequences can be predicted or can even be part of a strategic strategy for change. The authors who contribute to this book offer expertise on internationalization from the standpoint of academics, administrators, practitioners, marketing experts, regional experts, and politicians. In conclusion, this book has the explicit purpose to add depth to the conversations around the ways in which internationalization facilitates change.

    Shahrzad Kamyab & Rosalind Latiner Raby. (2023). Unintended Consequences of Internationalization in Higher Education: Comparative International Perspectives on the Impacts of Policy and Practice. Routledge. ISBN: 978-1-032-03951-0

    Are you an author of a recently published or forthcoming book in the field? Get in touch with us at globaledinbox@gmail.com to discuss publishing a guest essay like this one. See also our Book Reviews and Book Excerpts sections.

  • Breaking into the Field of International Education

    Breaking into the Field of International Education


    Sora Friedman

    Sora Friedman GlobalEd Columnist About Dr. Sora Friedman has worked in the field of international education (IE) for more than 35 years, focusing on the preparation of new professionals in the field, IE management training, exchange program management, public diplomacy, and international policy advocacy. She joined the SIT Graduate Institute faculty in 2005, having served…

    In my work as a professor and as a volunteer with various professional associations, I am often asked about the best ways to jump-start a career in international education. While there are as many paths as individuals working in the field, here are a few suggestions that have proven effective to my students and mentees over the years. You can find more information and sample worksheets in Chapter 3 of Careers in International Education: A Guide for New Professionals, co-authored with Dr. Amir Reza. (Notes: NAFSA authors do not receive royalties based on sales. The information below has been slightly revised to include current realities in the field.)

    1. Consider the Past: Know yourself and what you bring to the table.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, the field of International Education experienced significant layoffs. Now three years beyond the onset of the pandemic, the field is in a period of rebuilding and as such, there are many openings that reflect both diverse opportunities and needs. So, how do you know where to start? What is the best opening for you to consider? What do you have to offer that others don’t? How can you differentiate yourself from other applicants?

    The starting point for anyone seeking to enter the field should be with a period of self-reflection in order to develop a true sense of self-understanding. The following are three exercises to facilitate that process. I suggest that you complete them in writing as doing so will help you gain deeper clarity that will in turn help you later on your professional journey.

    The first exercise is to create an autobiography to help you be able to clearly articulate your background and abilities, and how both affect and relate to your future professional work. Below is a list of categories for your reflection. Start by considering your experiences, your connections, your identities related to each category. Then, consider how significant each category is for you. This will help you to prioritize the order in which you present them. Here is a list of the categories:

    • nationality
    • place where you grew up
    • type of community in which you grew up (e.g., rural, urban, suburban, etc.)
    • parents’ ethnic background
    • parents’ education
    • family composition and birth order
    • socioeconomic status
    • gender identification and sexual orientation
    • race
    • religion
    • secondary education (e.g., public, private, boarding, inner city, large suburban, etc.)
    • higher education (e.g., first generation. community college, self-funded, study abroad experience, etc.)
    • intercultural experience
    • languages spoken
    • physical abilities and disabilities
    • learning preferences and disabilities
    • political position
    • relationship status
    • other

    The second exercise in Step 1 is to review the following questions and when you feel ready, write out your answers. The questions are designed to help you bridge the personal and professional aspects of your identities. Use your responses from the first exercise as starting points and expand on them as feels right to you here. Also, since no one else will see this, try pushing yourself deeper and further in your reflections:

    • What have been your personal and academic paths to date? What were the formative experiences or decisions that led you to this point?
    • Who are two or three primary influencers, mentors, or leaders who have helped you to become the person you are at this point? These may be individuals from your personal life, former professors, community and social leaders, authors, or other famous people you have found inspiring in some way.
    • What has been your professional path to date?
    • Why are you interested in the field of international education? What are your motivations for pursuing a career in international education?
    • What related experiences have you had so far? These can include professional work experiences, volunteer roles, leadership roles, faith-based experiences, etc.
    • What are the knowledge areas and skill sets that you have at this point in your career? Be sure to include all skills, i.e. budgeting, proposal writing, time management, organizational, human resource management, or language fluency, self-confidence, conflict resolution, etc.

    Lastly, consider your goals. Once again, set aside time to consider and write out your responses to the following questions:

    • What do you hope to be doing in your next international education job?
    • What do you hope to be doing five years from now?
    • What opportunities and challenges do you foresee affecting your ability to meet your goals and accomplish your plan?
    • What other factors might help or hinder your future work?

    2.Know the Present: Get a clear understanding of the field today, including the various stakeholders, programs, challenges, and successes.

    One positive outcome from the pandemic is the rise of free and low-cost seminars that explore various issues, realities, challenges, and success stories in our field. While face-to-face attendance at conferences and meetings is again possible and offers excellent opportunities for networking, it is still possible to learn more about the field without incurring significant financial expenses. For example, you are invited to join me in a discussion about this topic on Wednesday, March 15, 12-1 pm EST, with Bryan McAllister-Grande, founder of GlobalEd, and Marty Tillman, Consultant, GlobalEd Career Accelerator Program; President, Global Career Compass; and Affiliate, Gateway International Group.

    Other spaces in which notice of such seminars are shared include:

    Another strategy for learning about the field is to set up informational interviews with people who hold positions of interest to you with organizations of interest to you. Request emails should start by noting a personal connection if possible (i.e., a suggestion from a shared acquaintance, having graduated from the same undergraduate institution, having lived in the same lesser-known location, or having attended a session in which they were presenting) and should include a brief introduction to yourself (see Step 1!) as well as a request for 30 minutes of the person’s time. Often such meetings will run longer but asking for more time invites the risk of the individual claiming a lack of availability. If the individual lives in your community, ask if they prefer to meet in their office or a nearby coffee shop (and offer to treat them). Virtual meetings are also commonplace now as well, of course. As with any interview, arrive a few minutes early prepared with a few questions and after the meeting, send a personalized thank-you note either by email or written by hand. One note: I suggest that you do NOT come on strongly (or at all) about a job search. The individual will understand why you are networking but if you prioritize your search over your sincere desire to learn more about the field, you again run the risk of their claiming a lack of time.

    The third strategy for learning about the field is to review as current job postings to see how what you have to offer compares with what is being sought by potential employers. By identifying the variables for a large pool of openings (starting with 10 or so, to ensure a diverse pool), you can gain deep insights into current priorities, bracket any assumptions you may be holding about your next job, and begin to clarify your vision of what might constitute a good match. Variables to consider include title, responsibilities, travel expectations, required and preferred qualifications, supervisory lines, institutional context, salary range, benefits, professional development opportunities, organizational culture, and criteria for evaluation of applicants.

    Another suggestion for learning about the field is to volunteer at professional conferences. Doing so may help to reduce the cost of attendance and provides multiple opportunities for networking as well as the chance to learn about the latest programs, practices, policies, and conversations in the field.

    3. Plan for the Future: Create a SMART plan of action

    Using the qualities reflected in the acronym SMART, identify three to five action steps that you can take within a realistic period of time that works for you.

     Not-so-good examples:Good examples:
    S = specificI’ll start to think about getting a new job.I will update my resume and cover letter templates.
    M = measurableI will send out some resumes.I will apply for 3 jobs each weekend.
    A = achievableI will get a new job.I will start my job search by the end of the spring semester.
    R = realisticI will be the SIEO of my institution.I will be clear about the kind of job I aspire to and am qualified for by May.
    T = timelyI will have a new job.I will find a new job by the summer of 2023.

    4. Get started!

    We are most successful at achieving our goals when we lay them out clearly, when we identify an actionable and reasonable first step, and when we block out time for ourselves to take action. With this mind–

    • Which exercise above speaks to you most? Considering this can be a good place to start, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed at this point.
    • When do you have time or can you find time to start the process? This past year, I have been blocking out a few hours most Saturday mornings for self-reflection and personal growth activities. It is my “me” time and has resulted in the development of new skills, awareness, and networks. Another approach might be to take a day of personal time from work to complete all of the steps at once.

    Whichever approach you take, think about this as self-care because planning for your professional future IS self-care! Treat yourself to a new journal for notetaking and saving emails or resources that you want to keep for future reference. Find a coffee shop, bookstore/library, or space on your campus where you can work uninterrupted for a period of time. And be sure to take time for reflection along the way.

    I look forward to talking more about this as well as the state of the field of International Education on Wednesday, March 15, 12-1 pm EST, with Bryan McAllister-Grande, founder of GlobalEd, and Marty Tillman, Consultant, GlobalEd Career Accelerator Program; President, Global Career Compass; and Affiliate, Gateway International Group. Please join us!

    And as always, please feel free to contact me with your ideas, questions, or thoughts at Sora.Friedman@sit.edu and together we’ll continue our practice,


    Learn more about GlobalEd Career Services and Programs

    GlobalEd Career Navigator Program

    After 20+ years working in another field, I knew that going from browsing the NAFSA job ads to actually landing a position in international education was going to require some work on my side. Through the GlobalEd Career Navigator Program, I learned how to present my skills and experience through an international education lens. Bryan…

    Foundations of the International Education Profession

    Online Course/Digital Badge Launches March 2023! GlobalEd’s Digital Badge program in the Foundations of the International Education Profession is a comprehensive training on the core theories, terminologies, and major trends in the field. The online, fully asynchronous program features lectures and readings from some of the field’s leading voices and scholar-practitioners. The program provides professionals…

  • Like a Fish in Water (Excerpts)

    Like a Fish in Water (Excerpts)

    From the Introduction


    You’ve seen it before—a friend comes back from study abroad, and they are beaming. They had the experience of a lifetime. They’ve had a transformation.

    All study abroad programs and study abroad offices tell you that it will change your life.

    And it’s true. I’ve seen it happen. It absolutely happened to me, and I’ve been alongside thousands of students who have felt the study abroad “magic.” They grew more confident, resilient, adaptable, self-aware, and worldly. They landed their dream job because of their study abroad experience. They no longer stress about the little things and are willing to take on anything the world throws at them, because they’ve conquered bigger issues in other countries, cultures, and languages.

    But in my twenty-five years working in international education, I’ve also seen too many students who wasted the opportunity. Some couldn’t handle the challenges and left early. Others strolled through their time abroad leisurely and skimmed across the surface but didn’t transform in the ways that so many others have.

    The difference between that first group of students and the second is that those who felt the magic had the right tools to guide them. They knew what they had to do to maximize the experience. They also understood that a life-changing experience abroad includes bumps along the way. That’s part of what this book is about: discover the magic, but don’t expect perfection.

    I want to help you along this journey. I want to take everything I’ve learned and make sure you don’t miss out. This has been my passion and mission for the majority of my life.

    Excerpt from Chapter 3: You have to adapt to the culture because it won’t adapt to you

    This assignment is easy: do one of these challenges, and write down how it makes you feel. Write as much as you can about the experience. Even if you are not abroad yet, some of these will still work for you. Just make sure you go out and try them when you get to your new city too.

    • Go explore a new part of town by yourself.
    • Go explore a new part of town by yourself, and only use a paper map, not Google Maps.
    • If you are used to getting around your city with one type of transportation, take a different type. For example, if you only use the metro, tube, or subway, then take a bus.
    • If you usually walk from your home to your school or internship, take a different route every day, for a week—even if it takes you more time.
    • Start talking to a stranger (but safely). Strike up a conversation with someone who works at a cafe? or restaurant that you frequent.
    • If you love your social media, go without social media for twenty-four hours.

    By changing your mindset to see the positive, and being willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone, you have made huge progress towards gaining some of the magic of study abroad growth.

    You can purchase your copy of Like a Fish in Water: How to Grow Abroad When You Go Abroad here and find out more at www.FishinWaterBook.com 

    Praise for “Like a Fish in Water” 

    Like a Fish in Water is the one and only resource I recommend to all students who are considering study abroad. This book is a must-read for students and families as they prepare for one of their most important and enriching educational journeys. It provides reassurance, critical advice, and guidance that I haven’t seen in any other writing.”

    —Devika Milner, Assistant Dean and Director of Study Abroad at the University of Miami

Sign In


Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.