We invite you to read the articles and reviews included in our third issue of the Global Studies Literature Review. Previous issues have provided timely reviews of important new works relevant to international education. With this third issue, we sought to deepen our contribution with a more in-depth exploration of a topic. Our theme for this issue, “Sustainable Global Commitments in International Education,” resulted in several submissions that together provide salient and insightful views on the professional efforts of international educators.

Our original call for reviews asked readers to consider responding to three interwoven threads of sustainability:

  1. The responsibility and contributions of higher education and international education to major world stability, including global public health, environmental issues, and global political economy.
  2. Our own sustainability as a field and as a profession, including the partnerships and commitments we make on the home campus and abroad, especially in a discourse that is increasingly market driven.
  3. The sustainability of cultural difference and indigenous knowledge as global higher education expands to include underserved, marginal, or historically overlooked groups and regions, i.e. what are the tensions between accessibility, global homogeneity, and local innovations as the spaces of higher education reach a wider segment of the world's population?

In this issue we feature two in-depth review articles that each address different meanings of sustainability, as well as several shorter book reviews.

Joanna Greer develops a case for international educators to address global sustainability, understood as the viability of the balance between humans and the natural world. She reviews Global Learning and Sustainable Development (Gadsby and Bullivant 2010) and Sustainability Education: Perspectives and Practice Across Higher Education (Jones, Selby, and Sterling 2010) as curricular design frameworks useful for international educators designing programs around sustainability. Greer argues that these approaches need to be based on three principles: the responsibility of international educators to address concerns for sustainability, collaborative approaches to ensure a participative notion of global citizenship around shared sustainability issues, and innovation as a key dimension to resolving new challenges through global understanding.

Nick Gozik addresses the sustainability of the international education endeavor itself, asking how we can ensure that “…education abroad activities remain vibrant and responsive to institutional needs, and that programming leads to real and enduring change among students.” He integrates the contributions of Gadsby and Bullivant's Global Learning and Sustainable Development with Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning (Slimbach 2010) and Integrating Study Abroad into the Curriculum: Theory and Practice Across the Disciplines (Brewer and Cunningham 2010). Gozik's readings of these works builds on the interconnectedness of global learning to real action in the world, with Slimbach's call for meaningful intercultural exchanges abroad and Brewer and Cunningham's emphasis on connecting this learning back to undergraduate curriculum through engagement with faculty and experiential learning models.

Ela Rossmiller's review of Becoming World Wise (Slimbach 2010) offers further appreciation of Slimbach's emphasis on a values-based approach to study abroad. Rebecca Hovey reviews Brewer and Cunningham's Integrating Study Abroad into the Curriculum (2009) in light of transformative learning experiences associated with internationalization and curricular integration. The values-based and transformative learning foci of these volumes speak to the need for education abroad pedagogies to be sustainably integrated with the substantive dimensions of academic learning.

In addition we offer several book reviews and synopses that offer perspectives on sustainability within the increasingly profit-driven competitive market of international education. Rashim Wadhwa's review of International India: A Turning Point in Educational Exchange with the U.S. (Bhandari 2010) and International Students and Global Mobility in Higher Education: National Trends and New Directions(Bhandari and Blumenthal 2011) provides a fascinating analysis from an Indian perspective of the challenges of market-driven competition in international education. Wadhwa focuses on cases of student mobility and exchange to address the sustainability of international education in a market environment. Joan Elias Gore's review of Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (Nussbaum 2010) extends the concern around market assumptions infiltrating the academy with an impassioned extension of philosopher Nussbaum's defense of the humanities to include international education. Toni Scheper's review of Challenges of Establishing World-Class Universities (Salmi 2009) and The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities Are Reshaping the World (Wildavsky 2010) is a reminder that international classifications and standards bear the danger of homogenization of the educational experience rather than supporting region-specific heterogeneous academic models.

Finally, Martha Denney's review of the collected fiction of writers Ryszard Kapuściński and Colin Cotterill reminds us of the importance of fiction and the humanities to sustaining student interest in learning about other cultures, while also remembering that fiction can be a discrete, if not subversive, alternative description of actual cultural and political experiences.

We thank all of the contributors and NAFSA for supporting this initiative of the Research and Scholarship subcommittee of the Teaching, Learning and Scholarship Knowledge Community.

Enjoy the reads!

Rebecca Hovey and Bryan McAllister-Grande

View the articles from May 2012