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The Bologna Process: One U.S. Institutions Perspective Coimbra Group BALANCE Seminar University of Turku, Finland June 13, 2008 John J. Wood Associate.

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Presentation on theme: "The Bologna Process: One U.S. Institutions Perspective Coimbra Group BALANCE Seminar University of Turku, Finland June 13, 2008 John J. Wood Associate."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Bologna Process: One U.S. Institutions Perspective Coimbra Group BALANCE Seminar University of Turku, Finland June 13, 2008 John J. Wood Associate Vice Provost for International Education Office of International Education University at Buffalo / The State University of New York

2 One U.S. Institutions Experience University at Buffalo (UB) Comprehensive public research university; member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) Largest campus in State University of New York (SUNY) system, which overall enrolls 427,000+ students on 64 campuses 28,000 students at UB (9,300 graduate), including 4,200+ international students (70 percent from Asia) Active UB exchanges with 25 European institutions

3 One U.S. Institutions Experience University at Buffalo Historically, UB has received relatively few graduate applications from Europe and has not recruited there extensively UB was early in recognizing Bologna-compliant bachelors degrees for purposes of eligibility for admission to graduate programs Beyond senior leadership, and international and graduate education staff, there is (still) little awareness of Bologna at UB

4 Bologna is challenging traditional assumptions and approaches in the U.S. Fact: Bologna-compliant bachelors degrees are defined by content and outcomes rather than simply by length of study and the institutions that award them. Fact: Bologna-compliant bachelors degrees are freestanding and should not be considered as merely a stage of the old longer first-degree programs. Fact: The Bologna Process is designed to facilitate mobility of students both within Europe and beyond.

5 Bologna is challenging traditional assumptions and approaches in the U.S. Fact: Globalization is, and will continue to be, one of the salient features of higher education in the 21 st Century. Fact: Informed mutual recognition of higher education degrees is a corollary of globalization. Fact: The Bologna Process is a comprehensive reform of higher education throughout Europe with enormous implications for U.S. higher education.

6 Some U.S. Responses to the Bologna Bachelors 1.Ignore or discount the Bologna Process and European reforms. Rigidly require a four-year undergraduate degree for graduate admission consideration. 2.Acknowledge the Bologna Process, but refuse to recognize Bologna-compliant bachelors degrees as adequate/sufficient preparation for graduate admission consideration. Impose additional preparation requirements on incoming Bologna-compliant bachelors degree holders (based on alleged academic deficiencies and/or as a means of generating enhanced institutional revenue).

7 U.S. Responses to the Bologna Bachelors 3.Consider Bologna Reforms and their outcomes in a systematic and responsible manner. Recognize that higher education structures and policies are undergoing significant changes throughout the world, and that to reject them without compelling academic justification will harm us individually and collectively. Recall our positive treatment of 3-year bachelors degree holders from certain other countries and the success of those students in our graduate programs. Insist that careful and reflective analysis drive our institutional decisions regarding applicants for graduate study who possess Bologna-compliant bachelors degrees.

8 A Reasonable Conclusion? If we acknowledge that the similarities of intent, content, and outcomes of the Bologna-compliant bachelors degree far outweigh the dissimilarities in the length of program, and if we recognize that general education is a component of the secondary school curricula throughout most of Europe, then the 3-year Bologna-compliant bachelors degree should be deemed sufficient for consideration for admission to graduate study in the U.S.

9 UBs engagement with Bologna has focused on the Bachelors 1.Existing precedent at UB for recognition of 3-year bachelor degreesBritish, Australian and Canadian 2.Dawning awareness at UB (since 2003) of Bologna process and its implications for student mobility and recruitment 3.Formation of Bologna Process Issues Panel (BPIP), comprising faculty and administrators (early 2005) 4.Review of current best practices of peer institutions and guidance by professional associations and credential evaluators, including CGS, AAU, NAFSA, EAIE, WES, etc.; and discussions with faculty and administrative offices of Vice Provosts for Graduate and International Education

10 Recognition of Bologna Bachelors 5. Bologna Process Issues Panel (BPIP) submits report to Graduate School Executive Committee (GSEC) 6. GSEC unanimously endorses policy recommended by BPIPthat 3-year Bologna-compliant bachelor degrees be recognized as equivalent to US bachelor degrees for consideration for admission to graduate programs at UB 7. Promulgation of new policy by Vice Provosts for Graduate and International Education (Dec. 2005) 8. Expectation at the time that first applications from Bologna-compliant bachelor degree holders would be received in spring 2006

11 Recognition of Bologna Bachelors 9. Very few Bologna-compliant bachelor degrees have been seen so far by International Admissions at UB 10. Ongoing discussion about implications of new policy for recognition of other 3-year degrees, e.g. from India, and possibility of other systems adapting Bologna norms 11. More recently: EU/U.S. funding opportunities (e.g. Atlantis) prompting faculty consideration of dual/joint masters and doctoral degrees with European institutions to promote transatlantic mobility and collaboration 12. Growing interest in expanding opportunities in Europe for UB students to do graduate work and research (in English)

12 One U.S. Institutions Experience When it comes to Bologna, has our focus up until now been misplaced? We have seen few Bologna-compliant bachelors degrees as yet from European applicants to UB graduate programs; it is unclear how many such applicants we will see, since most students now continue to their masters in Europe Should our focus, and that of U.S. higher education generally, be less on degree structures and more on the bigger picture-- the implications for us of of the European reforms currently going on? Should our attention be on learning from Bolognas more important priorities, including providing greater transparency and accountability, mutual recognition, enhanced mobility, improved quality assurance, and increased competitiveness?

13 Return to the future: Looking to Europe for models of higher education excellence Recall the experience of an earlier period, as exemplified by this not atypical account from one leader of American higher education in the mid-19 th century: My student life at Berlin (in 1855)... further intensified my desire to do something for university education in the United States. There I saw my ideal of a university, not only realized but extended and glorifiedwith revered professors, with ample lecture halls, with everything possible in the way of illustrative materials, with collections, museums and a concourse of youth from all parts of the world.Andrew D. White, co-founder and first president of Cornell University ( )

14 Bologna: The Larger Issues Should (will?) Bologna inspire a thoroughgoing discussion about the purpose, goals, and effectiveness of higher education in the U.S.? How do we promote awareness in the U.S. of Bologna and its implications (we need more BALANCE Seminars!)? What should we learn from Bologna that can make U.S. higher education better and enhance our competitiveness? How do we best take advantage of Bologna to facilitate enhanced mobility and cooperation between the U.S. and the EHEA?

15 Suggestions for U.S. Institutions 1.Maintain an enrollment management system that is flexible and that allows faculty, staff and departments to quickly adjust and adapt to changing situations. 2.Higher education throughout the world is changing rapidly, faster than at any time in history. Therefore, be nimble. Dont get mired in analysis paralysis. 3.Carefully examine all dimensions of the Bologna Process, its aims and outcomes – and stay current. 4.Seek information and advice from recognized experts, both on- and off-campus.

16 Suggestions for U.S. Institutions 5.Fully involve faculty in the dialogue and decision- making process; educate them about ongoing European reforms and best practices 6. Ensure that institutional decisions are grounded in a thorough understanding and careful consideration of all related issues. Our comparative tools of measurement may need to change. 7. Closely monitor performance of all graduate students, including those entering with Bologna- compliant bachelors degrees, to validate institutional graduate admission requirements and policies.

17 Questions and Comments Thank you for your attention!

18 Bologna Degree Structures New Bologna degree patterns will include: 3-year Bachelor + 2-year Master 4-year Bachelor + 1-year Master (The majority will reflect the pattern) The 3-year Bologna-compliant bachelors degree will be dominant in most disciplines (except in certain professional areas such as medicine and dentistry which operate through different education and training models). By 2010, the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) is expected to encompass 16 million students and 4,000 universities across Europe.

19 Consideration of Bologna-compliant bachelors degrees by U.S. institutions should be multi-dimensional 1.Academic assessments 2.Political issues 3.Organizational-Administrative concerns 4.Budgetary implications

20 Academic Considerations 1.Principal Question: What actually constitutes adequate preparation for graduate study as structured in the U.S.? 2.How do the characteristics of the new Bologna- compliant bachelors degrees compare with our expectations of adequate preparation? 3.What variables are related to success in graduate school? What elements comprise adequate preparation? How certain are we about that?

21 Academic Considerations 4.Does a year always equal a year? The Bologna Process year is generally longer than the traditional academic year in the U.S. More contact hours per year than the U.S. model Greater focus on student effort and learning outcomes in Bologna 5.Our stated concern for General Education Exactly what, when and why? Relationship to graduate study Comparison of European and U.S. education patterns 6.Baccalaureate level preparation in the major How important is it for later graduate study? How do Bologna-compliant and U.S. bachelors degrees compare when it comes to undergraduate study in the major?

22 Academic Considerations 7. U.S. is known for its innovative research and cutting-edge technology, but is also known for being very slow to reform curricula and reluctant to acknowledge academic innovations beyond its border. 8. Benefits of exchange programs, articulation agreements and dual degree partnerships. Helps build steady flow of students Helps build name recognition Adds to geographic diversity of international students

23 Political Issues 1.Existing and future relationships with European institutional partners. 2.Current and prospective programs of student and faculty exchange. 3.Our treatment of other 3-year bachelors degrees from countries outside Europe.

24 Organizational-Administrative Concerns 1.Achievement of quantitative, qualitative and regional international graduate student enrollment targets. 2.Sharply increasing competition with Europe (as well as with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, etc.) for graduate students. 3.Advantageous positioning of European institutions to compete with the U.S. for undergraduate students from China, India and elsewhere – offer of time and budgetary savings.

25 Budgetary Implications 1.Impediments to international student mobility to the U.S. contribute to graduate enrollment shortfalls and resulting negative impacts on institutional base budgets and tuition/fee revenues. 2.Impediments to international student mobility affect research and scholarship in the U.S., as well as their effects on global and domestic economies.

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