The impact of Leuven/Bologna on the USA

Nieuws | de redactie
2 juni 2009 | At the University of California Davis the European development of HE in the Bologna Process is debated, as part of its 100th anniversary. Will California feel the heat of EU-competition in future? How will the Leuven conference impact the role and perspective of US ánd European HE?

“If the Bologna Process ends up working, it will change the dynamics of international higher education dramatically. We will, in many ways, be the odd man out.” Lloyd Armstrong, the former provost at the University of Southern California, warns not to be complacent, as more European students receive college degrees in recent years and a main question in the United States has been how to deal with Europeans applying to graduate school at U.S. universities.

Although the Bologna Process initially worried admissions directors, it has helped U.S. educators better understand how higher education works around the world, said Peggy Blumenthal, chief operating officer for the Institute for International Education. “While (Bologna) originally sounded like a threat, now it’s stimulating innovation” around the world, she said.

Different countries and the universities in those countries still have varying levels of quality, but U.S. institutions have come to understand that European students are better prepared for college than American students by the time they finish high school, Blumenthal said.

The increasingly competitive European institutions have become major players for top U.S. professors, particularly foreign-born instructors. At the University of California Berkeley, for example, some departments have tried to fend off hiring “raids” from a prominent Swiss university.

However, top professors and graduate students are always going to be attracted to the United States, said Linda Tobash, director of university placement for the Institute for International Education, a New York-based organization. And fighting for those people will only help. “We thrive on competition,” she said. “And competition breeds cooperation, which is a good thing.”

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