GAUC Conference Final Day Activities
By Sue Gettlin
The 2nd annual Global Advancement of Universities and Colleges concluded Friday, May 25, with a half-day of presentations. Andy Pusca, Rector of Danubius University, chaired the final presentation session. Professor Douglas Yates, American Graduate School in Paris, presented a paper on the Gueant Memorandum and its effects on the internationalization of higher education. The Memorandum, issued last May in France by the Minister of the Interior, instructed education administrators to pay close attention to foreign students seeking to change their legal status to permanent residency, which allows them to live and work in France. The memo was highly criticized by the public as being nationalistic, even xenophobic. Happily, with the recent elections and change of leadership in France, the Memorandum is no longer in effect but illustrates the power that politics can have on the globalization of students.
Professor Sergey Zapryagaev, Voronezh State University and GAUC Conference host, spoke about the controversy surrounding the ranking process of universities. There are 13 well-known global ranking systems. The ranking systems are controversial. There is a demand to see universities around the globe ranked by indicators to improve transparency and allow stakeholders to make the right choice according to the opportunity of a university. Critics claim the indicators are flawed and biased. For example, they favor research but ignore teaching and institutional diversity. However, the existence of ranking does encourage universities to improve their performance. Zapryagaev suggests that newer ranking systems will help the situation by focusing on indicators that reflect institutions’ missions and profiles.
In the Conference closing ceremony, Zapryagaev stressed the importance of institutions coming together to discuss the issues of globalization of higher education. Dr. Steve Michael, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Arcadia University, asked delegates to keep thinking about what makes a quality university and a quality education in our “flat” world. He reiterated that the purpose of GAUC is to provide an opportunity for universities to work together.
After the closing ceremony and lunch, foreign delegates toured the Galichya Gora Nature Preserve, overlooking the Dan River in the Russian plains. Located approximately 60 miles north of Voronezh, the preserve raises birds of prey, such as Golden and Empire eagles, falcon and night owls. Delegates had the opportunity to hold several of the birds on their arms. The Preserve also grows and protects many varieties of endangered native plants.