Finding global higher education resources – case studies, market research, policy white papers – can be a challenge. If you are looking to dig into this broad and complex topic, I hope that this list will save you many days of searching. It is a result of several years of combing the internet for the most insightful materials on global higher ed, while doing research for my book on a global university concept. A big THANK YOU to all those on the list. Your visionary work has laid a foundation for the most important conversations in global higher education. If you have suggestions, please don’t be shy and comment below.


1   Money On The Table:

        How American Higher Education Is Missing Out On The Global Pie


I’d like to get the shameless self-promotion out of the way. In this book, I discuss the current state of globalized higher education and the existing potential to disrupt the status quo. Drawing from innovations in both the not-for-profit and for-profit higher education sectors, I propose a series of solutions and implementations to create a truly global university. I look forward to your feedback.


Download eBook:

2   The Global Higher Ed Blog


Around since 2007, The Global Higher Ed Blog has been an ultra-high-quality content hub for global higher education topics and discussions.  What sets this blog apart is that there are dozens of contributors from around the world — the who’s who of the global higher education industry — most of whom come from academia, though some are from the private sector. Kris Olds and Susan Robertson have done a great service to the global ed community by creating and editing this excellent resource.


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3   Global Career Compass

Curated by Marin Tillman, this blog explores the relationships between global education, study abroad, student employability and more. Martin has decades of “hands-on” experience across these topics and is constantly bringing both news and insight on global education from a career-focused perspective. This is also an excellent resource for international educators (or those thinking about going global).


Read More: Global Career Compass


4   Universities 2030:

        Learning From the Past to Anticipate the Future


A different take on higher education “futurism”, this compilation draws from the past to comment on the future of global education. This exercise offers “context”, something that is often missing from predictions. These essays are as incisive as they are stimulating. A big thanks to Adam R. Nelson and Nicholas M. Strohl for putting this together.


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5   The International Initiatives of Universities:

         A Taxonomy of Modes of Engagement and Institutional Logics

1Two for the price of one — here are two publications from CSHE at Berkeley. The International Initiatives of Universities by Richard J. Edelstein and John Aubrey Douglass does a great job breaking down the many pieces that make up the motivations and operations of international initiative of universities. If you like things in a nice and neat outline format, this will be a treasure trove for you.


Speaking of treasure troves, I’m also including the CSHE literature review on globalization and student learning. If you like lists and bibliographies, this is the motherlode. Thanks again Mr. Edelstein.


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Literature Review:


6   The Internationalization of Higher Ed. Institutions:

        A Critical Review and a Radical Proposal

Gabriel Hawawini of INSEAD brings forward a thorough review of the pitfalls many higher education institutions face as they reach for internationalization. Though the paper may seem pessimistic as it discourages universities from actively pursuing “global university” status, it offers multiple value propositions and hints at what is possible in global education.


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7   OBHE

       Observatory on Borderless Higher Education

7OBHE is a leading organization in global higher ed research and has been publishing relevant papers for over a decade. So, click this link and then click your favorites button.


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Bonus: An excellent breakdown, in outline form, of the issues surrounding International Branch Campuses. Written by Laura E. Rumbley and Philip G. Altbach (Philip is one of the “founding” thinkers in global higher education), this memo addresses some of the complexities and risks of these enterprises.

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8   Open Doors 2013:

        Report On International Education Exchange

8As usual, IIE (Insitute of International Education) delivers the goods. This is the industry standard report on global student mobility. It shows who goes where and occasionally answers the why questions as well.

This is a must have for anybody in the industry, and IIE is nice enough to publish a free summary of this report.


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9   Measuring and Assessing Internationalization

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A NAFSA report on internationalization in higher education, courtesy of Madeleine F. Green. This report does a good job showing how universities big and small are approaching internationalization and really accents the variety of these approaches. Analyzing the value of internationalization to a higher education institution is a hard nut to crack. This report is a good starting point.


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Lloyd Armstrong is a rockstar! He has the administration, academic, and even startup stripes that make him an unmatched expert in global (and non-global) higher ed. He is also not afraid to ruffle some feathers, which makes his writing that much more fun. His articles are well researched and forward thinking. Enjoy reading the archives.


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11   Mapping International Joint and Dual Degrees:

         U.S. Program Profiles and Perspectives

Fresh off the press, compliments of ACE (American Council on Education) and CIGE (Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement) is this report on the ups and downs of Joint and Dual Degrees. This is really the first data driven report of this breadth – VERY EXCITING!


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12   Joint and Double Degree Programs in the Transatlantic Context

9An excellent survey report prepared by Matthias Kuder of Freie Universität Berlin and Daniel Obst of Institute of International Education. This report, though a bit older, addresses many issues in joint and double degree programs. If you’ve ever wondered if there are universities that are truly creating “global” degrees that are accredited and recognized cross-regionally, this is a good place to start.


As a bonus, I’m including a link to Kris Olds’ article on international joint degrees.

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Kris Olds:



13   UK Research

        Reports from BIS and HEFCE on transnational education

Two new reports from the UK offer everything from data to insight. Together, they form what could be an excellent course on transnational education – where it’s been and where it may be headed. Thank you to BIS (Department for business Innovation & Skills) and to HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England). What makes these reports especially relevant is the fact that England is one of the most active players in global higher ed.


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14   Globalization of Education

        An Introduction


For big fans of data, this is a report for you. UNESCO Institute of Statistics published this comprehensive comparative study on secondary education systems around the world. There is a lot to look at, especially if you’re in search of growth trends and regional perspectives. If one takes a global view on education demand, this report is indispensable.


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15   An Introduction to Higher Education Internationalization

11Fresh off the press in 2013, Hans de Wit has put together this compilation on higher education internationalization. With articles by writers from primarily European universties (with a few from US universities), this book gives a decidedly current perspective on the top. This book approaches internationalization from various directions, so even if not all the articles are up your alley, some should really hit the mark.


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16   Global Recession and University Funding Strains to Keep Up with Rising Demand


Thank you Moody’s for sharing this very valuable economic research report with the global education community. This report does a fantastic job demonstrating the countercyclical strength of the higher education sector in the face of the largest global economic turmoil of recent decades.


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17   The Erasmus Impact Study

14Compliments of Europe, this massive study examines the impact of mobility on the skills and employability of students. This is a great resource for finding actual outcomes of internationalization of higher education institutions. The report is a treasure trove of data and insight. It’s nice to see a study that’s so focused on students.

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18   Beyond Immediate Impact:

          Study Abroad for Global Engagement (SAGE)


A great companion piece to the Erasmus study, Beyond Immediate Impact, offers a very thorough analysis on the longer term effects of studying abroad. Focusing on global engagement, the study explores behavior in the following categories:  civic  engagement, philanthropy, knowledge production, social entrepreneurship, and voluntary simplicity.

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19   The International Student Economic Value Tool


A super-fun and very useful research tool, compliments of the University of Indiana and NAFSA, the international student economic value tool shows the upside of global education to host country (or host region). It does an excellent job breaking down the data on the number of jobs created and supported by international students.

I also included some cool NAFSA data links.

Value Tool:

Pie Chart:

Economic Benefits of Int’l Students:


20   Dr. Education:

          International Higher Education Blog

17Dr. Rahul Choudaha has been around the global education block a few times. He offers incisive viewpoints on industry studies and programs. He also offers strategic suggestions, providing a good balance between past, present and future of global higher ed.

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21   The Global Competition in Higher Education

18In this paper, Val D. Rust and Stephanie Kim of UCLA discuss the development of a competitive global market for higher education. This competition is appearing via various channels – institutions, governments, press, etc. If there was a criticism, I would say that I wish it was longer.

On a side note, I’ll include another great UCLA study that focuses on students and their first year of college — not globally focused, but quite informative.

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First Year Students:


22   International Students Strategy for Australia

For a government perspective on global education policy, here’s a very thorough report from down under. Australia has been at the forefront of internationalizing education. It has a history of aggressively marketing and exporting their education globally, as well as attracting many students to its shores. In fact, the education sector, specifically international education, is a very impressive percentage of the Australian GDP.

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23   Is Yale a Reliable Partner for the National University of Singapore?

19If you’re looking for a bit of controversy, look no further. This is a highly critical commentary by Michael Montesano on Yale’s Singapore campus. Whether you agree wholeheartedly, slightly, or not-at-all, this article gives color to the international branch campus discussion. What’s great is that there is also the link to a response article in The Kent Ridge Common and a very lively discussion on the comments section that is not to be missed. 

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Bonus: is great! Elizabeth Redden makes the global reporting even greater! Thanks Elizabeth!


24   International Education Blogs & News

           International Higher Education Consulting Blog

Curated by David Comp, another global higher ed veteran, these two blogs provide interviews, analysis, and links to fantastic resources. Both blogs offer excellent opportunities for “archive diving” and do a great job mapping out the global higher ed universe. Many of the articles are republished in  the New York Times International education section.

International Ed. Blogs:


25   Cornell University:

            Report From the Task Force on Internationalization

21This report is a great resource for understanding the thinking and overall global approach of an elite American university. In this case, a Cornell task force explored opportunities for international teaching, research and engagement: “an ethos and vision to bring the world to Cornell and Cornell to the world.” Thank you Cornell for sharing your secrets.

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26   University of Illinois:

           A Visual Tour of International Student Enrollment Trends

22Getting back to data, here is a thorough historical analysis on international student enrollment at an American university. University of Illinois knows a lot about international students as they make up 20% of its student body. The level of detail of the data is very impressive.

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27   International Partnerships:

           A Legal Guide for UK Universities

23Perhaps this one is not for everybody, but if you’re looking for guidance on setting up international programs and partnerships, this is a great primer (and then some). Granted this is meant for the UK, but I have a feeling that many of the concepts, situations and rules would be consistent across many legal systems (especially the US legal system). The only downside is that once university administrators see all the moving parts that are involved in internationalizations, they might run the other way.

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28   Profiting From Education:

           Japan-United States International Educational Ventures in the 1980s

An oldy, but a goody, compliments of Gail Chambers and William Cummings circa 1990. This book offers valuable lessons learned from the multiple international branch campuses that were set up in Japan three decades ago. It lays out some of the assumptions and myths, while exploring the good, the bad and the ugly of global education.

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29   iPPTN:

           National Higher Education Research Institute

Morshidi Sirat of Universiti Sains Malaysia suggested that I take a look at as an addition to this list.  I am very happy to have found this reference as it offers access to a different, in this case Malaysian, point of view on global higher ed. Whether looking to import or export higher ed, a strong understanding of various educational systems is key. This link is a gateway to the Malaysian higher ed perspective. 

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Bonus: Peter Sterns of GMU also made the suggestion to expand the coverage of Asian resources, mentioning the Shanghai  Jaio Tong University as a source. Here is a link to their Academic Ranking of World Universities:


30   Women + the Future of Global Higher Ed

A special THANK YOU to Laurie Shrage who directed me to these resources. Gender participation in higher education varies dramatically across world cultures and should be a prominent part of the global higher ed discussion. These links give a brief primer on a variety of issues and policies that concern women in respect to global higher ed.

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31   GHERC

           Globalization & Higher Education Research Center

Though I’m not sure that I agree with the Boaventura de Sousa Santos quote that is on the GHERC main page, I certainly appreciate the curation of excellent papers and articles on the site. The research found on this site is far reaching and covers many geographical regions. Check it out!

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32   The Chronicle of Higher Education

Why is this last on the list? It is one of those “too easy” situations. This publication deserves to be the first… but, anybody who’s googling or oogling higher education is probably already familiar with the Chronicle. So, shoutout to the Chronicle for its excellent in higher ed reporting (especially the global section).

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33   A Question

3A simple question by Nigel Thrift led to one of the liveliest discussions on the future of global higher education. Whether you are new to the field, or have been involved with global education for a long time, there is plenty to be engaged by in the responses to this question. Published on The Global Higher Ed Blog, there is an extra bonus to be found in the comments sections of the answer posts — with many good ideas and view points.


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While researching for my book on a global university concept, I spent many days looking for eNeedles in eHaystacks. Having spent so much time sifting through a variety resources, I decided to make a list and share it. Here is a one-stop list that defines, frames and explores globalization, internationalization and transnationalization of higher ed. The list started as a Top 25, but thanks to the very generous help of Lloyd Armstrong, M. Maille Lyons, Peter Stearns, Laurie Shrage, Morshidi Sirat, Aleksandra Arsik, Dennis Miller, and Kumuda Gururao, it is now over 30. 

Please tell me what you think in the comments section!