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“The global higher education landscape has changed quite significantly over the last several years. It is now much more competitive than before, with hundreds of institutions around the world trying to improve rankings, investing heavily in research, recruitment and admission efforts. This means university leaders in the US must be more strategic, knowledgeable about geopolitical trends and nimble to change direction as the competition intensifies,” suggests Stephen Freedman, PhD, Provost, Fordham University.

Freedman is the Chairperson at the marcus evans University Leadership Summit Spring 2018, in Westlake Village, California, February 21-22.

How is the global higher education landscape changing?

It is much more competitive. There are more institutions, at all levels, investing heavily in enrolment strategies to recruit undergraduate and graduate students from different locations. What this means for university leaders? They have to be much more strategic in this crowded space, as well as empathic and sensitive when dealing with cultural dimensions.

Does increased competition in China have a big impact on American universities?

The Chinese government is investing heavily in infrastructure, research and higher education in general to bring its premier institutions (but not just those) to an international status, to rival the best universities in the US and Europe in research, curriculum and programs.

That investment is significant and suggests to leaders like myself that in 10 or 20 years the type of partnerships with Chinese institutions will be very different from the uneven relationships of 10 years ago.

There is a real change in the way Chinese institutions see themselves globally. They are placing a lot of emphasis on STEM, biotechnology, bioinformatics and many other fields. Their investments are significant enough to reshape health sciences and they could become leaders in those areas.

Right now there are many Chinese students studying overseas and being funded by their government, and there will be fewer as the universities in China expand and grow. Demand will shift.

What opportunities would you highlight for US institutions? 

The opportunities are even greater than the challenges. Institutions and faculty have more opportunities to engage, conduct research, teach and learn in a more global environment. This will take a different way of thinking about faculty, as they can spend semesters in different institutions.

The same with student exchanges and study-away opportunities. We used to think of those as one-offs but now students can spend every semester in a different location.

We need to broaden our thinking of institutions as places grounded in one location. When we think of them as multiple locations, and consider also online learning, the scope of education and opportunities are much more significant.

Would institutional partnerships allow education to be truly sustainable over time?

I will focus on “sustainable”. For partnerships to be truly sustainable over time, they must be balanced. There has to be an exchange of students in both directions, not just students from developed countries spending time in developing countries while students from those countries cannot do the same due to differences in family wealth or income. Partnerships have to benefit both institutions. Otherwise we lose the long-term advantages of collaboration and cooperation, which from my perspective is about programs with joint or dual degrees. This is where the real advantages of partnerships occur. Many institutions competing for students lose sight of this.


Ahead of the marcus evans University Leadership Summit 2018, read here an interview with Stephen Freedman discussing how the higher education landscape is changing and how it will impact US institutions 


Stephen Freedman, PhD


Fordham University

The Future of Higher Education

Recent Delegates
  • Vice President, Development, Brown University
  • Senior Vice President, Fayetteville Technical Community College
  • Associate Provost, Florida State University 
  • Provost, Fordham University
  • Vice President, Kettering University
  • President, Miami International University
  • Chief Financial Officer, National American University
  • President, Post University
  • Associate Vice President, The University of Tennessee
  • President, University of New England
  • Provost, West Coast University

    and more…

About the University Leadership Summit Spring 2018

The University Leadership Summit is the premium forum bringing senior level university executives and solution providers together. The Summit offers an intimate environment for a focused discussion of key new drivers shaping the education industry. Taking place at the Four Seasons Hotel, Westlake Village, California, February 21-22, the Summit includes presentations on improving student success in higher education, building partnerships and alliances to remain competitive, improving classroom engagement and adding diversity into the campus.

Copyright © 2018 Marcus Evans. All rights reserved.

Summit Speakers
  • Stephen Freedman, PhD, Provost, Fordham University
  • Daniele Struppa, PhD, President, Chapman University
  • F. King Alexander, PhD, President, Louisiana State University
  • Michael David Rudd, President, The University of Memphis
  • Miriam Feldblum, PhD, Vice President, Student Affairs, Dean of Students, Pomona College
  • Rogan Kersh, Provost and Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Wake Forest University
  • Richard Matasar, Senior Vice President Strategic Initiatives and Institutional Effectiveness, Tulane University 
  • Shirley McGuire, PhD, Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs, San Francisco University

     and more...

February 21-22, 2018

Four Seasons Hotel, Westlake Village, California

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