In Memoriam – Dennis Berg

Dennis F. Berg, professor emeritus of sociology whose international travels helped Cal State Fullerton establish global connections in Vietnam and China, died Jan. 19.
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Dennis Berg Facebook Profile Photo

This is a sad time indeed for those of us who knew Dennis Berg, who divided his time between Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon and southern California.  I was shocked to learn of Den’s tragic death via a Facebook post by one of his sons, Jeff:

Yesterday the world lost a great man, my Father, Dennis Berg. With great joy he helped so many, including myself, become the best version of themselves that they could become. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad!

Follow this link to read the California State University, Fullerton announcement in its entirety.

It was my privilege to know Den as a friend and a colleague.  He was a kind, warm-hearted, and gentle man who cared deeply about both countries and who touched generations of students and colleagues through his teaching, research, training, and mentorship. I, along with many others here and around the world, will miss him.

Here’s part of an email signature he once used, which tells you something about Dennis Berg and how he lived his life:

“Dance as if no one’s watching,
sing as if no one’s listening,
and live every day as if it were your last.”
—— Irish proverb.
“and tell those you love and care about
that you do every chance you get.”
——- Dennis proverb.

My heartfelt condolences to his wife, Hong Hoa, his sons, Jeff and Jason, and the entire Berg family in Viet Nam and the US.

MAA

The key question to keep asking is, ‘Are you spending your time on the right things?’ Because time is all you have.  (Randy Pausch, 1960-2008)

Five Emerging Markets for US-Bound Students, Including Viet Nam

Diversification is the name of the game in sustainable recruitment strategies.  These markets have impressive mobility potential for years to come.  (ICEF Insights, p. 18)

The fall 2016 issue of ICEF Insights, a magazine for international education professionals, identified five emerging markets, including Viet Nam, Colombia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Iran.

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A glance at the 11/16 SEVIS quarterly update reveals the following real-time enrollments at all levels, but mostly higher education, in these countries.  In descending order they are:

  • Viet Nam:  30,180 (6th)
  • Iran:  12,427 (11th)
  • Nigeria:  14,495 (14th)
  • Indonesia:  8,873 (19th)
  • Colombia:  10,498 (23rd)

The rankings are from Open Doors 2016, i.e., from fall 2015 and higher education only.

MAA

Success Will Come and Go, But Integrity Is Forever

If I could teach only one value to live by, it would be this: Success will come and go, but integrity is forever. Integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. It takes having the courage to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences will be.

integrityI recently came across this excellent 2012 article about integrity, defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.”  It also applies to the education industry – in spades.

Here is one of a number of pieces of sound advice, similar to the conventional wisdom regarding gossip.  If someone gossips about others, you can sure they gossip about you, i.e., they are not to be trusted.

A word of advice to those who are striving for a reputation of integrity: Avoid those who are not trustworthy. Do not do business with them. Do not associate with them. Do not make excuses for them.  Do not allow yourself to get enticed into believing that “while they may be dishonest with others, they would never be dishonest with me.” If someone is dishonest in any aspect of his life you can be guaranteed that he will be dishonest in many aspects of his life.

Follow this link to read the article in its entirety.  A belated thanks to Amy Rees Anderson,  “entrepreneur turned mentor & angel investor,” for sharing her thoughts and insights on this important and timeless topic.

MAA

 

A Passage to America: University Funding and International Students

Attention US higher education colleagues!  Here’s an interesting research paper about the economic impact of international students at institutions that have taken hits in public funding for the past couple of decades. 

Here are the money sentences:  For the period between 1996 and 2012, we estimate that a 10% reduction in state appropriations is associated with an increase in foreign enrollment of 62% at public research universities and about 6.7% at the resource-intensive AAU public universities. Our results tell a compelling story about the link  between changes in state funding and foreign enrollment in recent years.

International students contributed more than $35 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

You can download a PDF version of this paper.   

MAA

Abstract

Substantial subsidies to public higher education in the United States
have historically allowed in-state students at public colleges and universities to pay markedly lower tuition and fee levels than counterparts who are not state residents. Yet, state appropriations for higher education have declined markedly in recent years. For university leaders facing declines in funding, potential margins for adjustment include raising revenues through increases in tuition levels, reducing resources per student (and potentially quality) by cutting expenditures, or changing the mix of students admitted to include more students paying non-resident tuition. At the same time, with strong economic growth in countries like China and India in recent decades, the pool of students from abroad academically prepared for U.S. colleges and able to pay the tuition charges has increased markedly in the last decade.  In this paper, we examine whether “funding shocks” in state appropriations have led public universities to attract more foreign
students who are able to pay the full fare tuition. For the period between 1996 and 2012, we estimate that a 10% reduction in state appropriations is associated with an increase in foreign enrollment of 62% at public research universities and about 6.7% at the resource-
intensive AAU public universities.Our results tell a compelling story about the link  between changes in-state funding and foreign enrollment in recent years
.

US Community Colleges Made a Comeback Among Vietnamese Students in 2015/16!

2plus2Last academic year, there was a spike in Vietnamese enrollment in US community colleges (CC) over the previous year.  According to Open Doors 2016, Viet Nam ranked 2nd – after China – with 9.6% of total enrollment in a community college.

This means that 9,156 Vietnamese students began their US higher education at a two-year school with the goal of transferring to a four-year institution to complete their Bachelor’s degree.  Since the undergraduate enrollment was 14,383, approximately 64% of all Vietnamese undergraduates in the US were community college students.

Before my CC colleagues get too excited, keep in mind that these Open Doors 2016 data are from fall 2015, i.e., already a year old.  The percentages of Vietnamese students who begin their studies at a four-year institution or a community college are almost even, based on the latest 11/16 SEVIS quarterly update.  (CC enrollment is 29.3% vs. 31% for four-year schools.)  This has been the trend, with occasional deviations, since 2009/10.

That was a time when 90% (!) of all Vietnamese undergraduates were enrolled in a CC with most following a 2+2 path.  In 2005, CCs were virtually unknown in Viet Nam.  THAT’S the power of the media and word-of-mouth marketing.  (I wrote an article for the spring 2016 CCID e-newsletter entitled Community College vs. Four-Year Enrollment Trends in Vietnam:  From Steady Decline to Sudden Rebound in which I summarized these trends.  This is a PDF download.  Scroll down to p. 11 to read the article.)

The bottom line is that Vietnamese CC enrollment remains strong for the usual reasons:  cost and convenience (2+2 model), plus the popular high school completion program in Washington state.  (The latter is the academic equivalent of killing two academic birds with one stone.)  Quite a few of these Vietnamese students are in the top three host states of CA, TX, and WA.

MAA

ACICS Loss of Accreditation: What it Means for Schools & International Students

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Facebook post on 22.12.16  by EducationUSA

Here is the official announcement from the US Department of Homeland Security that the US Department of Education no longer recognizes the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an accrediting agency, a decision that affects more than 16,000 international students in the US attending nearly 130 Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools and programs that are accredited by ACICS. (There are also implications for the significantly higher number of US Americans students enrolled in these mostly for-profit schools.)

This is an issue I’ve been writing and talking about for a long time, including in the hallowed pages of this blog. The only reason it has come to this is because of the crack investigative reporting of BuzzFeed and the fact that a couple of political leaders, one at the state and another at the national level, took an interest in the sordid results of this long-term lack of oversight.  ACICS essentially dug its own grave by not minding the store. The gig is finally up.

Here’s a blog post I wrote last summer about this reporting and Northwestern Polytechnic University in Fremont, CA.  There are others.  Consider my post an introduction to the rather large elephant in the room, which DHS and EducationUSA chose to ignore.

Another pending issue is the fact that a number of SEVP-certified  schools are not accredited, which means there is no quality assurance or maintenance.  As the announcement points out, “Most SEVP-certified schools are not required to obtain accreditation and can provide evidence in lieu of accreditation.”  To be continued…

MAA