Today, the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology held the second in a series of hearings on off-shoring--the movement of U.S. science and technology jobs overseas. But the focus of this hearing was different from many others: it focused on American universities opening campuses off-shore.
"As an increasing number of American universities establish
campuses in foreign countries, many questions and concerns are arising
about the impacts this will have on American students, job
opportunities, and competitiveness. To address this, we must learn more
about how university globalization will impact our country's
pre-eminence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,"
said Research and Science Education Subcommittee Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA), who chaired the hearing.
In an opening statement, Committee Chairman Bart
Gordon said that "…having a STEM degree, even from a top school, no
longer guarantees lifelong employment in a well-paying job in the
United States. Our students are increasingly competing with
well-trained, low cost employees in countries such as India and China.
Universities are our first line of defense in ensuring our leadership
in the global economy by giving our scientists and engineers the
special skills they need to set themselves apart from the global
But now, universities themselves are moving off-shore.
Baird added: “In some respects American
universities have been global for many years. They have attracted large
numbers of foreign students, particularly in STEM fields at the
graduate level. But off-shoring is giving high quality foreign students
outstanding job opportunities in their home countries. This may make it
less likely that foreign students will stay in the U.S. after
graduation, and may make it less desirable to come to the U.S. to study
in the first place. So, American universities are taking their
education to foreign students by building campuses and offering STEM
degree programs in other countries." Most agree, however, that so far
the numbers are small.
Opening statements by Baird and Gordon, as well as the statements by the four witnesses (David J. Skorton, president of Cornell University; Gary Schuster, provost and vice president for academic affairs of Georgia Institute of Technology; Mark Wessel, dean of the Heinz School of Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University; and Philip Altbach, the Monan professor of higher education and director of the center for international higher education at Boston College) are available on the committee's Web site. (You'll find the links in the left column.)