Competition for branch campuses compared to California gold rush

March 18, 2015

The growth in international branch campuses is like the California gold rush, says sociology professor Anna Kosmützky: while a great number of institutions hope to strike it rich only a few will succeed, and the rest may end up with less than they started with. Speaking before an audience at the annual conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Kosmützky identified 3 waves of international branch campus. The first wave, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, involved about 22 US universities establishing branch campuses in Japan; just one remains today. The second wave began in the 1990s, when institutions established branches in countries like Qatar, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates, which had made international campuses a priority. In the current wave, the number of countries hosting branch campuses has grown, with an increased emphasis on Asia. Kosmützky said that branch campuses can be risky endeavours; however, institutions typically establish them only in locations where a "red carpet is laid out for them." Such conditions can lead to highly competitive "waves of founding." In less accommodating environments, institutions are more likely to pursue other forms of internationalization, such as exchanges or joint programs. Inside Higher Ed