Globalization and Englishization of Higher Education: Looking Back to a Distant Precedent, Looking Forward to Some Practical Implications

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Globalization and Englishization of Higher Education: Looking Back to a Distant Precedent, Looking Forward to Some Practical Implications
A millennium ago universities in medieval Europe were not defined by bricks and mortar, but by collections of different “nations” (students from different countries, speaking different native languages) of highly mobile students. The students clustered around teachers who “professed” various kinds of knowledge. These “nations” of students at any given university were able to interact and study together because their studies were conducted in a common language, Latin.
The dominance of Latin eventually eroded, and by the middle of the 20th century European universities and similar institutions elsewhere had become much more parochial institutions operating largely in the local language of the place they were located. For various reasons well known to scholars of higher education the tide began to turn back toward internationalization of higher education, but this time the lingua franca was English rather than Latin. Academic communication and publication is now overwhelmingly occurring in English, particularly in engineering and the natural sciences. More remarkably, thousands of programs, particularly graduate programs, are now being taught in English in non-anglophone countries.
There is vigorous debate about whether the "Englishization" of higher education is good or bad, but there is no debate about whether or not it is happening. Given this situation, this presentation will make brief reference to what might be learned from the previous use of Latin as the common language of higher education, but will concentrate on looking forward to three practical measures we can take to make the best of "Englishized" higher education:
1. programs to improve the ability of non-anglophones to teach in English;
2. programs to increase the ability of HEI administrators to understand and meet the needs of their increasingly international corps of instructors and students; and
3. the use of distance and blended delivery methods for the types of programs listed above.
Walter Archer, PhD, is the Academic Director of Teaching & Learning Programs in the Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta, Canada. He is also the current President of the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education.
Kathleen Matheos, PhD, is the Associate Dean, Extended Education, at the University of Manitoba, Canada. She is also the Executive Director of the Centre for Higher Education Research and Development, and the Program Coordinator of the Collaboration for Online Higher Education and Research
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