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Point/Counterpoint: Should int'l recruiting be a UI prerogative?

BY DI EDITORIAL STAFF | OCTOBER 14, 2011 7:20 AM

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Yes

I frankly don't see how placing emphasis on international recruiting can be a negatively perceived from an analytical standpoint.

First of all, let's clear the air for takeoff: the apparent assumption that foreign students, especially those from populous and developing areas of Asia, earn American degrees and then return to fuel their own economies is not valid. This is a simple matter of establishing a contractual system for mandating the American employment of international scholars who earn degrees here. So forget it.

International students bring a lot more to the table than a warm mass in a classroom. For one, they create an influx in foreign spending to the UI and, like any out-of-state student, bring in more funding to the university.

On a nonmonetary level, international students add diversity. Not only do they bring diversity to the demographics and the dynamics of the student body, but also to the scholarly framework and agenda of the university as a whole. We all know that an increase in perspectives results in a more efficient, well-rounded, and colorful (no pun intended) system of intellectual innovation.

Studies of diversity in educational communities seem to speak for themselves. One study conducted by the College of Liberal Arts at Loyola Marymount University found that having a diverse student body is directly associated with certain positive attributes of a college environment: stronger commitment to multiculturalism, a greater faculty emphasis on ethnic and gender issues in research and in the classroom, and more frequent student involvement in cultural-awareness workshops and ethnic-studies courses.

Beyond the logic of diversification, which is undoubtedly the cornerstone of the supporting argument, the truth is, in my opinion, the university student body doesn't need any more suburban white kids.

Everyone and his brother goes to college nowadays. And what's more, it feels like half of us don't even graduate with jobs in professional fields of employment. So it seems to me that, given the nationwide trend of college enrollment and post-college employment, a "change" isn't necessarily something to be feared.

The addition and further inclusion/absorption of more international students will only increase the well-roundedness, productivity, and local flavor of our university and local environment.

— Samuel Cleary

No

The classic battle of the chicken and the egg wages on. Should we invest in bringing more colorful eggs to the UI or should we invest more in the chicken so the eggs will actually hatch?

We should invest in the chicken. Because if we don't feed the chicken, then no one will want the eggs, no matter where in the world they come from.

OK, I'm going to stop talking code. Frankly, the UI needs to stop focusing on international issues and wake up: The university needs to work on its reputation before it can go around bragging about it.

I'm not talking about academics. I know we excel as a public university, you know we excel as a public university, but even if you don't, I'm going to brag a little. We are ranked No. 71 among national universities, including such private universities as Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and Yale. Not bad.

We rank No. 28 among public universities. Seriously, that's a number to be more than proud of — and we haven't even gotten to specific programs yet. We fall in the top-10 for best medical schools, best clinical psychology programs, social psychology, and RN training. We are No. 1 in speech-language pathology. No. 1.

Did you know that? I didn't until this morning, and I'm an active member of this university. I feel like the national papers didn't run with those rankings. And that's not entirely fair.

I knew one ranking: No. 4 in party schools, according to the Princeton Review. The media loved that one. It was picked up by the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, USA Today — oh, and Wikipedia picked it up, but it's not like people actually get information from there. In 2010, we were in the top 10 in Playboy's best party schools — those that who are best known for their nudity, yeah, but don't worry, we've moved down in that one. For now.

So people know the UI as an undergraduate school that turns a blind eye to binge drinking and partying on campus. We need to take the money from international recruitment and focus it toward improving our reputation at home, in Iowa.

Better academics, better education, better students: Invest in the chicken, because, honestly, people don't want an egg that will give them alcohol poisoning.

— Benjamin Evans


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