Randolph, Joyce M., Executive Director

Name: Randolph, Joyce M.
Title: Executive Director
Company/Organization/University: University of Pennsylvania, Office of International Programs

Internationalizing the Curriculum: Content and Language

"We and our students now live in a world of brutal realities. When Katharine Krebs contacted me in August about speaking at this conference, I began preparing a “tough talk,” highlighting economic and public policy realities. But I also planned to generate enthusiasm about the opportunities for international education with judicious use of information technology, strategic partnerships and entrepreneurial spirit. –In the aftermath of September 11th, the talk must be even tougher, for we face a changed world, not just internationally, not just throughout the United States, but in our state governments and on our own campuses.

The fundamental reality is that U.S. government policy and public opinion are circling the wagons around “Fortress America.” In this isolationist environment how can we promote international education? --Two weeks after the terrorist attacks, I felt compelled to address this question in an opinion piece I wrote for the University of Pennsylvania student newspaper. I would like to share the gist of this article with you now, for I think its message will remain valid for some time.

“[While] coping with strong, sometimes contradictory emotions and thoughts during the last . . . weeks, many Americans [have sought] a return to a normal routine, albeit with an altered sense of what is normal. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said in a televised interview [in late September] that New Yorkers would be foolish and unrealistic not to take extra security precautions and that everyone will continue to grieve over the innocent lives lost on September 11th. At the same time Mayor Giuliani drew an analogy to the citizens of London under siege during World War II. When the air raid sirens sounded, they went to the bomb shelters. With the all-clear signal, they returned to their normal lives—they went to work, they went to school, they went to concerts and sports events. They were not paralyzed.

“Today, we must not be paralyzed, either physically or mentally. Not only must daily routines be taken up again, but we should also unlock our thinking—to realize that, now more than ever, it is important, indeed essential, to remain open to the world. Americans and citizens of other countries would be foolish and unrealistic not to remain ‘on alert.’ But, in the long run, to reach the goals of security and peace and prosperity, an absolutely essential factor is increased international understanding, greater tolerance for other cultures and beliefs, and enhanced familiarity with people who may initially seem uncomfortably foreign. This unlocking of our minds, this opening up to the world will take great effort. Our world has changed drastically since Mahatma Gandhi wrote: ‘I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides, and my windows to be closed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.’

“Two years ago, Thomas Friedman wrote a book dramatizing the conflict of ‘the Lexus and the olive tree’—the tension between globalization [on the one hand] and, [on the other hand,] ancient forces of local culture, geography, tradition and community. [Six and a half weeks] ago, globalization was callously used as one of the tools in a complex plan to destroy lives, shake public confidence and destabilize systems. The trust and apparent naiveté of Gandhi’s words have been blown away. It will be hard to keep our windows open, we can no longer let strong threatening winds blow ‘about [our] house as freely as possible,’ but we cannot close ourselves off from the terrible complexities of the world. It is time for universities to do what we do best—learn and keep learning, unlock our minds and open, carefully, very carefully, the windows of our understanding.”

I wrote that piece for a general audience at a college; today I am engaged in a discussion with a much more specialized group, in a sense “preaching to the choir.” So I need to go beyond a call to unlock minds and talk to you about coping with some tough realities as we seek to internationalize university education. They remain the same realities I was thinking of in August—economics and public policy.

First, in terms of the economy, we know now that things will get tougher before they get better. In the past few decades many of you have already had to develop survival skills in the face of state government cutbacks, institutional downsizing and out-sourcing, increased workloads, and competition for shrinking resources on our campuses. There will be more of this, particularly as the research enterprise comes under ever closer scrutiny by regulators, funders and the media, and as senior administrators quake at the possibility of harm coming to human subjects. Our universities are now focusing on evaluating the subject-specific and location-specific costs of research. In our own fields, then, it is incumbent on us to be meticulous, to be prepared to defend our budgets, to work aggressively to reduce administrative costs. But we also need to be smart in our approach; that is, we need to listen to the rhetoric of our presidents and vice-chancellors, and keep aligning our projects with the institution’s strategic priorities; we need to embrace interdisciplinary projects; we need to focus on the institution’s existing strengths rather than hope piously that areas of perceived weakness will be shored up; and, yes, we need to “sell” our product through aggressive publicity coupled with solid assessment. As an example: When the U.S.-Africa Business Summit comes to town, then it is a good idea to produce a glossy, full-color brochure highlighting African studies at your university. And when you want your president or vice-chancellor to actually read (or at least glance at) your annual report of international activities, then it is a good idea to have the publication designed and printed by professionals.

We also need to help our institutions search for new income streams. Keep in mind that publicity improves the visibility of academic research and may attract new sources of funding. Research findings may also be translatable, adaptable to practical applications and even entrepreneurial activity. An obvious example is the commercialization of raw technology, for instance getting a patent on debugging software. In the international realm, an example might be utilizing the Internet for long-distance medical diagnosis. New income streams can also be found by reaching new audiences or “markets,” perhaps in life-long education or with international partners. At the same time we must realize that the current recession probably means that enrollments in executive education and undergraduate study abroad will decrease, as will charitable giving. If any of your revenue derives from these sources, do you already have contingency plans? Are there “hot” topics that you can export? Take, for instance, issues of health, the environment and technology. Perhaps you are already raising money for scholarships or developing collaborative research regarding healthcare in other countries, service learning abroad, water resource management in the Middle East, or comparative studies of mass media. As an example: one of my Penn colleagues, Ira Harkavy, after establishing a good track record of outreach to the West Philadelphia community, now has support from the South African government to work with the University of the Witwatersrand on projects promoting academically based community service. In this context, possible topics for faculty and student exchange and collaborative research between Penn and Wits include literacy, the environment and issues of nutrition.

To summarize thus far, I am suggesting that strategies to consider in the current economic climate include: publicizing meticulous science, pursuing opportunistic capitalism, developing new audiences and partners, and taking interdisciplinary approaches to “hot” topics that are either already globalized or that lend themselves to export.

The second set of realities pertains to U.S. public policy. Concern for national security is bound to have repercussions on international students desirous of studying in the United States. While Senator Dianne Feinstein has backed away from a proposal to impose a six-month moratorium on the issuance of student visas, nevertheless, as chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information, Senator Feinstein is using this “bully pulpit” to castigate universities for not cooperating with the speedy implementation of a new Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) tracking system and to emphasize that over the last ten years 16,000 students have come to the United States from “such terrorist supporting states as Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Syria.” We can learn from the historic precedent relating to Iranian students after the U.S. embassy in Iran was taken over in November 1979. Six days after the embassy was taken, the U.S. government gave Iranian students in the United States thirty days to “report themselves” to the INS. Those with anything not-in-order (including being up-to-date in their tuition and fees payments) were subject to deportation proceedings. In April 1980 visas already issued to Iranians were revoked. In other words, no Iranian was able to enter the United States, including those living in the U.S. who happened to be abroad at the time. Other restrictions for Iranians followed: no more extensions of status, no changes of status from student to worker or permanent resident. What is the situation today? Two days ago, on Thursday [October 25, 2001,] the Senate passed sweeping anti-terrorism legislation, which President Bush signed into law yesterday—a law that expands the government’s ability to conduct electronic surveillance, detain immigrants without charges for up to seven days and penetrate money-laundering banks.2 Only Senator Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, voted against the bill, arguing that it would allow unconstitutiona l searches and punish individuals for vague associations with possible terrorists. David Cole, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights who has represented Arab-Americans in national security cases, argues that the law is written so broadly that it would make people eligible for deportation for supporting groups without realizing that they are associated with terrorism. For example, he asserts, the African National Congress was at times labeled a terrorist organization by the United States government, but was nevertheless very popular with many Americans.3 The anti-terrorism bill includes $36.8 million to put in place before the end of the year the I.N.S. database program to track the approximately 600,000 international students at U.S. colleges and universities. We should be prepared for more regulations governing student visas. They may include strict time limits to complete studies in the United States, or limitations on the fields of study that students from certain countries may pursue in this country.

On the other hand, somewhat perversely, there is a reawakening of interest in the field of international affairs. Walter McDougall, Alloy-Ansin Professor of International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania, calls current developments the beginning of “Cold War II.” In a forthcoming issue of Orbis, Professor McDougall writes: “As in Truman’s time, the enemy is an abstraction—terrorism in place of communism—but one given sanctuary and support from sovereign states. As in Truman’s time the president prefers not to declare formal war on those states, but rather puts them on notice as to the rules of engagement the United States intends to enforce in the protracted conflict to come. . . . [One of the limiting factors] to what the United States can achieve is the impossibility of nation- or state-building in large multi-ethnic, factional, tribal, terrorridden, backward, and topographically-challenged fastnesses of mountains and desert.” Professor McDougall concludes: “[A]ll those American officials and defense intellectuals so recently accused of being ‘nostalgic for the Cold War’ can again get up in the morning with a reason for living. And all of us Vietnam veterans and diplomatic historians can leap to remind them of the qualities most needed—but not always present—in our leaders during Cold War I, including determination, realism, courage, prudence, patience and faith. Let the saints within us whisper, ‘Do justice and walk humbly with your God,’ while the heroes within us shout, ‘Don’t Tread on Me.’” [end of quotation] This kind of musing is scary and attention-grabbing. Undergraduates especially are flocking to courses on terrorism and current affairs. --But we also need to direct them to the study of why globalization is widely perceived abroad as an American-led attempt to impose its culture and economic model on the world, the study of how other (non-American) societies have evolved historically in their particular contexts, and the study of what are the complex causes of the movement of which terrorism is the outward manifestation.

So I urge you to be opportunistic in the realm of public policy as well. The Higher Education Act of 1965 will be considered for reauthorization in the next Congress, in 2003-2004. In anticipation of this, international education groups around the country are now seeking to develop a national policy on internationalizing higher education, --and, in turn, to strengthen the international education components of the HEA, primarily Title VI, Fulbright-Hays and other international programs. A major policy conference is scheduled to be hosted by Duke University on September 26-28, 2002. Please mark your calendars. Co-sponsored by the Coalition for International Education (headed by Miriam Kazanjian), this gathering will explore emerging national needs for international competence in government, education, business and the professions, and will suggest the relevant national policy directions and strategies required to address those needs in partnership with higher education. Remember that Title VI, first framed as part of the National Defense Education Act of 1958, was born of the Cold War. Whatever your political inclinations, however dedicated you are to rational choice models, please know that the next reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (which contains Title VI) will be born of Cold War II. Indeed, there are already signs in Washington that Title VI will see a significant increase in funds as early as this year, with the focus on the teaching of languages and area studies of certain regions such as the Middle East, South Asia and the Newly Independent States. Gilbert Merkx put it this way: “Title VI will remain a federal priority for the same reason that it was introduced, namely the sense that knowledge is preferable to ignorance when dealing with a hazardous environment.”

Last night you heard Dick Brecht put it this way: “If we don’t use this moment, we are stupid beyond words.” I would add: Beware of the CAFLIS syndrome—the foreign languages and international studies effort that imploded not too long ago—because various higher education factions could not reach consensus. No wonder educators have no credibility on the Hill.

If you find this kind of opportunism distasteful, here is an example unrelated to today’s media coverage. The controversy surrounding Patrick Tierney’s book, Darkness in El Dorado, raised not only issues of science vs. anti-science (as evidenced in Napoleon Chagnon’s work on Yanomami warfare) but also issues of contextual expertise vs. structural realism. As Brian Ferguson wrote in the Journal of the International Institute of the University of Michigan this summer: “the image of Yanomami warfare as representing primeval anarchy is doubly wrong. It is ahistorical . . . and unscientific, being completely out of accord with archaeological evidence on the origins of war.” Ferguson goes on to show how these ahistorical and unscientific images of Yanomami warfare support structural realist positions in international relations theory. His point is that “the main factor that generates and shapes the antagonisms that lead to war is differential access to sources of Western goods, and the great advantages of a controlling trade position for securing women as marriage partners [are] locally manufactured products and favorable terms of bride service. These interests and antagonisms all ramified through local patterns of social and political organization, are filtered and interpreted through culturally specific lenses of cognition and evaluation—themselves all changing in the process of contact—and [they] are contextualized by particular local history.” 5 [end of quotation] It is this kind of contextual expertise that we must champion in the hard times and on the rough road we are now facing.

To summarize, with respect to the realm of public policy, we are facing battles in order to maintain the flow of international students and other kinds of international exchange. We are also facing challenges arising from Cold War II, and we will have to make difficult, pragmatic choices in order to pursue international scholarship that remains true to our principles.

Finally, harking back to my optimism of August 2001, let me say a word about the benefits we can derive from the modern tools afforded by advances in information technology. Here is just one example. Last year, in a new course on “Global Product Realization,” jointly taught by professors in three different countries, a virtual classroom was created. Small teams of students located at the Technical University of Delft, Seoul National University, and the University of Michigan used the Internet, videoconferencing, and computer assisted design to collaborate in developing products, but, more importantly, to gain experience working in an environment none of the students have encountered before, but are most likely to encounter in their future professional lives. All agreed on the need for such cross-cultural collaborative experiences prior to entering industry.

But a word of caution: As classroom teachers know very well, technology cannot replace face-to-face interaction. When students tell us that study abroad was the defining experience of their personal development, they are not talking about courses that they could just as easily have taken on the Internet. As one of my colleagues put it: “I’ve been to the Paris homepage. I’ve been to Paris. I’ll take Paris.”

So much for my “tough talk.” As international educators we face a time of great challenge, enormous complexity and new paradigms. It is our responsibility and our privilege to help prepare our students to embark on the rocky road ahead with precision tools and deep contextual knowledge, with firm footing and unlocked minds—so that they will not be blow n off their feet by the storms they will inevitably encounter.”

1 “Unlocking Our Minds: The Road Ahead,” The Daily Pennsylvanian, September 27, 2001.

2 H.R. 3162. Originally called PATRIOT—an acronym that stands for “providing appropriate tools for the reporting and identification of terrorists.”

3 The New York Times, Friday, October 26, 2001.

4“Foreign Language and Area Studies Through Title VI: Assessing Supply and Demand,” The International Educator, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, Fall 1999/Winter 2000, page 32.

5 “10,000 Years of Tribal Warfare: History, Science, Ideology and ‘The State of Nature,’” The Journal of the InternationalInstitute, The University of Michigan, Spring/Summer 2001, vol. 8, no. 3, page 22.

Randolph, Joyce M. (October 27, 2001). “Internationalizing the Curriculum: Content and Language.”