On the right path

June 26, 2014

The University of South Florida has been collaborating with INTO University Partnerships since 2010. USF’s decision to partner with INTO did not arise from a “desperate” position as characterised in the article “US ‘wakes up’ to pathway providers as growth engine” (News, 5 June), yet, rather, was a strategic decision made by a university eager to globalise the student experience.

Given USF’s vision of becoming a global research university, our ambitious 2009 strategic enrolment goals, and our recognition that we had neither the luxury of time nor sufficiency of expertise and resources to achieve them, seeking a proven partner committed to a long-term “insourcing” model guided by student success made best sense to enable USF to deliver on its global talent recruitment strategy.

This strategy is built around attracting the best and brightest intellectual talent (students and scholars) from around the world; expanding the global diversity of our student body to enhance the quality and relevance of our education; extending the global reach and international brand recognition of a young research university; aligning with US multinational companies’ desire to educate and train their future global workforce in the US; encouraging more USF students to explore and connect with the world, and facilitating educational and research partnerships with a small number of top universities.

Due in large part to USF’s joint venture with INTO, our total international student population has grown 20 per cent annually over the past two years – almost three times the US average of 7 per cent as reported by the Institute of International Education. The university currently enrols 2,648 international students from 140 countries.

The pathway programmes delivered through INTO USF are under the full academic authority and oversight of USF and are taught by USF professors. Moreover, we are satisfied that the students completing the pathway programmes at INTO USF perform on a par academically with those international students who are admitted directly to the university.

With the US and the UK continuing to be the leading higher education destinations for students from around the world, and with international demand for access to university education increasing each year, perhaps Times Higher Education might consider that it is possible to embrace change in the global higher education sector by utilising a public-private partnership model without compromising on quality.

Ralph C.  Wilcox
Provost and executive vice-president
University of South Florida

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