This website is the latest expression of a passion project years in the making. I first started working for an American university abroad more than a dozen years ago. I began collecting data on institutions like it nearly a decade ago. Since then, I have visited 14 American universities in eight countries on three continents. Those efforts led to a dissertation, then a book, and eventually a handful of papers on international American campuses. In these works, I have examined their significance to public diplomacy, international development, and stateside U.S. higher education. I have considered their roles in advancing neo-colonial power structures and sustaining American hegemony. I have criticized the free riders trying to make a buck on the American brand. I have applauded the American government’s impartiality while admonishing its parsimony. The through line in my work, though, has been an attempt to convey just how large, diverse, and collaborative this distinctive sector of American higher education is--of how capable many of these institutions are in expressing the best of American higher education. This is a difficult notion to advance in a scholarly text alone.
In recent years, I started to realize that the best way to help others to see what I was seeing—short of physical immersion on these campuses—was to consolidate all the data I could and let interested parties explore it on their own. By visualizing the landscape in its entirety—over space and time (the dashboard includes historical filters)—we can truly begin to appreciate the scope of the sector. The site provides some orientation to the data through fast facts, written findings, and research briefs, but it is meant for custom exploration by educators, students, university administrators, researchers, policy analysts, government officials, journalists, entrepreneurs, and anyone else seeking information on American higher education institutions abroad. In short, I aim to establish Global American Higher Education as the go-to resource for information on American higher education institutions outside the United States and its territories.
This collection of resources would not have been possible without Stacie Long. She is a creative genius and master problem solver. The effort also benefits tremendously from an intrepid and skilled team of volunteer research assistants. I am incredibly grateful for their time and talents. The Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California, which generously provided initial support to launch the site, has also been instrumental.
In the next phase, I hope to expand the initiative with more data (different institution types, education levels), products (research briefs, video interviews), and services (consulting). Please contact me if you are interested in partnering to develop any of these or related items. We encourage you to sign up for our mailing list. We will use the list to issue a semi-annual newsletter highlighting updates to the database and share other items of interest.
In the meantime, we will use this blog to share thoughts pertinent to the Global American Higher Education landscape as they arise. Thanks for reading.