International students visit Penn State to learn about American higher education

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—A group of administrators and graduate students from Japan recently visited Penn State in order to deepen their understanding of higher education. Hosted by the College of Education’s Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), Hideto Fukudome, an associate professor at the University of Tokyo, and his seven students spent a week in July learning from leaders across the University.

Fukudome said that he brought the group to Penn State to expose them to higher education in different societies and countries. “Many of them work at various colleges and universities in Japan as administrators and staff who want to enhance their careers at their institutions,” said Fukudome. “Some of them are faculty members at other universities who want to learn more about higher education. Others are graduate students who want to be higher-education researchers.”John Cheslock, director of the CSHE, associate professor and senior research associate, was one of the lecturers who spoke to the visitors. He said that as globalization within higher education continues to increase, future university leaders will need to have an understanding of other higher education systems.  

“Such knowledge permits students to view their own country’s higher education system in a new light and helps them identify opportunity for collaborations across countries,” said Cheslock. “This visit will enhance the knowledge of our visitors from the University of Tokyo, but it will also advance those of us at Penn State who will engage them during their time on campus.”

U of Tokyo

A group of students, led by Hideto Fukudome (R), visiting Penn State to learn about higher education.

Image: Kevin Sliman

Fukudome, who was a CSHE visiting scholar in 2012, said that each year he takes his students to a foreign university.

“In Japan, my course is the only one of its kind,” said Fukudome. “Because I am familiar with Penn State, I knew there were many great people -- faculty members, administrators and staff -- for my students to meet. I wanted my students to experience a large, but intimate, college community.”

According to Fukudome, when studying higher education, it is important to think in a comparative way.

“I strongly believe that learning about American higher-education institutions develops diverse ideas and thinking about higher education,” said Fukudome. “I wanted my students to talk with many people, who would hopefully enhance their thinking about higher education in comparative ways.”

Individuals from across Penn State were part of the lectures, including Roger Geiger, Robert Hendrickson and Fred Loomis, researchers and faculty members from the College of Education. Other speakers included Christian Brady, dean of Schreyer Honors College; Daniel Hagen, executive director of the University Faculty Senate; and Theresa Musser, associate director for enrollment and operations.

Fukudome said that his students truly benefited from the visit, gaining insight in areas such as governance, management, student support and teaching.

“In addition to the lectures, we walked around campus, visited restaurants and shops and watched a baseball game,” said Fukudome. “My students really enjoyed their visit to Penn State.”

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