Fri. Dec 13th, 2019

Internationalization of Karakoram International University (KIU)


Prof. Dr. Attaullah Shah, Vice Chancellor KIU

We are living in a globalized world. It is the age of developing linkages, networking and collaboration with individuals, groups, teams, organization and nations. Britt Harris quoted “The beauty of collaboration between older and younger generations is that we combine strength with wisdom—a surefire way to accomplish more for the glory of God.”

In linkages the relationship between partner organizations is quite loose, while in networking, it is much stronger, usually because the groups and agencies have common objectives and beneficiaries. Networking is basically meant for extending the outreach of the resources in different ways so as to increase the effectiveness of the program. The areas of operation can also be increased through networking.The University can establish linkages and networking activities with local, national and international entities for mutual benefits and assistance needed.Areas of linkages may include, Research, Academic programs, Community Engagement etc. A Network may be composed of several institutions that share common interest sand ideals for working together to attain common objectives, undertake innovative practices and share information or breakthrough in different disciplines. Networking and Collaboration can have multiple advantages for organizations such as information sharing, connections, promotion, credibility etc. The external collaboration in Universities may be facilitated through different offices such as University Advancement Office, University External Linkages office, Students’ Development and External Linage Office, Directorate of External Linkages & Cooperation or Office of Advancement and Linkages.

The External Linkages Office or University Advancement Office is mainly having three major roles such as Students’ Development, Managing External Relations (Alumni and Government and Community Relations), Organizing of Ceremonies and Events and finally Communications, Public Affairs and Marketing. Under the Alumni services, this office plays an important role in connecting the University graduates with their Alma Mater. Some of the important roles of this office relating to Alumni may include:

  1. Develop and foster a lifelong relationship between the Alumni and their alma mater.
  2. Maintaining a database of all Alumni and updates it from time to time.
  3. Composing itself to arrange special events and get-togethers. It aspires to have a community developed on this alumni portal so that they can interact, share their views and stay in touch with each other worldwide.
  4. Engaging Alumni in the curriculum Review, Programs development and monitoring & feedback
  5. In collaboration with academic affairs, influential and successful alumni can be invited back to share their professional experience with students.

Some of the activities, the External Linkages Office is supposed to perform may include Events , Membership, Communications, Fundraising & prospect tracking, Gift management, Alumni relations and Volunteer records.

The External Linkages Office mainly deal with the collaboration at national level, however over the years and particularly the context of globalization of education, dedicated office and roles are required for international linkages of University. Internationalization of HEI can be referred as “the process of integrating an international, intercultural, or global dimension into the purposes, functions, and delivery of post-secondary education.In other words, internationalization is the process of making our universities more international in everything that we do.Some of the common approaches may include: Internationalizing the curriculum, Study Aboard, International Students, Visiting Scholars, Faculty Research and Conferences or Partnership with International Universities. These options are discussed further in the following sections:

i. Internationalizing the curriculum: This is usually the start of internationalization, which may be at different levels such as

Course level:

  1. Course contents focused on International topics
  2. Reading from authors from varied countries
  3. Case studies about varied countries
  4. Guest Speakers from varied Cultures

Degree Level:

  1. Requires all students to take some courses with international focus
  2. Require study abroad
  3. Require study of a foreign language

Institution Level

At many departments level

ii. International Academic Partnerships: This may include a variety of options such as

a. Collaborative Teaching: Here one or more faculty members from each institution teach the same or similar course together. This is often fostered by technology through virtual classrooms, video conferences, email exchanges, and web-based platforms. Faculty are able to collaborate on curriculum and students can interact virtually

b. Consortia: A group of two or more institutions (domestic or international that work together and pool resources in order to achieve common goals. For Example Common Wealth of Learning MBA Consortium Degree Program of AIOU, Consortium PhD Program of 5 US Universities in Construction Management

c. Faculty Exchange: A faculty member from your institution visits the other for a period of time, or vice versa. Guest faculty could instruct whole courses or components of whole courses.KIU with Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Kunming, Beijing University etc. undertaking many such initiatives.

d. Faculty Led study aboard: One or more faculty members from an institution guide a group of students to another country. Often, the group is hosted by a partner institution that will provide accommodation, classrooms, meals, and other amenities.The travelling etc. is borne by the partner University. In recent one such case, the University of Science and Technology Kunming hosted 5 students of KIU. The air travelling was arranged KIU through sponsorship from Government departments.

e. International Dual/Double Degree program: Two or more institutions in different countries collaborate on one-degree program.Upon completion, students receive degree certificates issued separately by each of the institutions involved in the program.These programs generally use the terminology 2+2 or 1+2+1

f. International Joint Degree Program: Two or more institutions in different countries collaborate on one-degree program. Upon completion, students receive a single degree issued and signed jointly by all institutions involved in the program.

g. Internship Programs: Often in addition to an academic component, students will also participate in an internship at a local business or in the community. This provides a practical aspect of the program and puts their classroom knowledge into action.These projects aim to deepen the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and engage students in the international community. International service learning is often incorporated in study abroad programing (short or long term) and is often paired with pre- and post-classroom work. KIU has signed an agreement with University of London for internship of 3-4 graduates of Tourism and Hospitality

h. Joint Faculty Research: One or more faculty members from each institution collaborate on a single research project.KIU is engaged in many joint research projects with University of Shandong China, University of Kathmandu, University of Oregon, University of Utah etc.Many more research projects in pipelines.

I. Sharing of Resources: Sharing laboratory equipment, library resources, art collections, curriculums, etc. are simple ways to jump-start a partnership.KIU is working with ICIMOD University of Bern Germany for developing the Climate Modeling Labs and trainings. KIU is also working with NIH USA for establishing Biosafety Lab for trainings.

j. Sandwich Programs: In a sandwich program, students begin their studies at their home institution for a certain amount of time, travel to a host institution to continue their studies for non-degree study, and then return to the home institution to finish their degree and graduate.Some of the KIU MS/PhD scholars are conducting their research aboard

k. Jointly Sponsored Events: Any event or activity jointly-sponsored or organized by two or more institutions. Examples: publications, conferences, workshops, meet and greets over video conference, lectures, performances, book clubs, film series, and of course site visits.

KIU arranged 4 conferences and workshops with international partners from 10 different countries .

l. Student Exchange:One- or two-way movements of students from one university to another for the short term (one semester or less) or long term (one academic year or more).KIU working with University of Central Asia, University of Kahsgahr and other European University for exchange of Students for short term one semester attachment

To harness these opportunities of collaboration and partnerships in education and research, University Internationalization Office, plays an important role. The major trends in the Higher Education around the world include Increasing role of national governments, Emergence of private, for-profit education, Internationalization as a driving force, Increased role of technology, Growth of regional mobility, Brain drain from South to North and from East to West and finely increased focus on interdisciplinary research and teaching. In the globalized world, University International Office has to be a strong partner in attracting foreign faculty, students, research, funding and opportunities in Universities. In our recent initiative, KIU International Office (KIO) has been established under the department of International Relations (IR) with HoD International Relations Department as its acting Director. KIO has to perform the following important roles:

  1. To provide leadership to KIU for its internationalization
  2. To attract and facilitate international academic and research partnerships
  3. To strengthen KIU internationalization process by active engagements with potential international partners
  4. To provide support to university personnel including faculty, staff and students for exploring international collaboration in academics and research
  5. To attract international students and faculty for study, teaching and research
  6. To enhance the image and ranking of the university through international collaboration
  7. To host international visitors and scholars

The geostrategic importance of the region, its close proximity with the People Republic of China, lying at the gateway of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Gilgit Baltistan offers and KIU offers tremendous opportunities of collaboration and partnership at global levels.

“The motive behind most institutional policies that mention internationalization is the desire to prepare graduates for participation in a globalized work force or to create global citizens able to interact with peoples from different cultures. International student and staff mobility, international collaboration (research and double degree programmes) … the creation of the international classroom, or internationalization of the curriculum are among the institutional activities mentioned that are geared to achieving the desired internationalization outcomes (our emphasis) (Ref: European Union, 2015: pp. 130-131)” .

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