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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Taking Root in Foreign Soil: Adaptation Processes of Imported Universities
by Graham, Terrence F., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2016, 297; 10141538
Abstract (Summary)

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 ushered in a period of change in higher-education systems across the former Eastern bloc. Reform-minded leaders in the region sought to introduce western models and policies promoted by foreign development aid agendas. Private higher-education institutions emerged. This qualitative multiple case study examines three universities based on the western, private, nonprofit model that were established during the post-Cold War transition period: the American University of Central Asia (Kyrgyz Republic), South East European University (Macedonia), and the American University in Bulgaria. These institutions, founded through a process of negotiation involving the national government, U.S. and European governments, and nongovernmental organizations, offered an alternative to state universities. This negotiation continued as these institutions adapted to their changing sociopolitical contexts. The study explores the interplay of global, national, and local influences at the level of these institutions. The research presented is based on data collected on field visits through interviews with faculty and administrators and focus groups with students, as well as document analysis. Findings from the study shed light on how new institutions strive to establish legitimacy. The financial support for these institutions evolved from an initial heavy dependence on support from foreign aid agencies to greater reliance on tuition and responsiveness to the higher education market. The ability to adapt to shifting circumstances while maintaining a consistent sense of identity, despite turnover of faculty and administrators, proved vital. These universities, to varying degrees, were able to strike a balance between the global and local that allowed them to establish themselves as highly regarded institutions in their respective countries. As interest in transnational education grows, this study offers insights into finding a balance between global and local that results in a sustainable higher education endeavor.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Whitaker, Roger
Commitee: Engel, Laura C., Fajfer, Lubov, Kim, Mikyong Minsun, Prince, Gregory S.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Higher Education Administration
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 77/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: East European Studies, Higher Education Administration, International Relations
Keywords: Bulgaria, Kyrgyz Republic, Macedonia, Universities
Publication Number: 10141538
ISBN: 978-1-339-96898-8
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