The global landscape of higher education is changing. The increasing mobility of students and scholars, the proliferation of international programs, and the rising number of joint cross-border programs are just some of the many ways that reflect how higher education is more international now than ever before. With these changes come new questions about colleges' and universities' roles and responsibilities in relation to the nation-state and the broader public good. Thus, there is a need to investigate higher education's purpose and delivery in the global context with new frameworks and perspectives.
The goal of this special issue is to critically examine current and recent trends in higher education and ways it contributes to larger national and international societies. The first article is a provocative approach in critically examining the distinct contributions, tensions, and limitations on international higher education scholarship. Using social cartography, Stein offers a meta-analysis of critical approaches to internationalization. Meanwhile, with the proliferation of overseas partnerships, Mwangi addresses the hidden role of power. Through the lens of mutuality, she uncovers the process of partnership creation, the navigation of cross-cultural contexts, partner positioning and partnership dynamics, and stakeholder engagement as a way to create more consciously ethical relationships. Partnerships also occur locally. In a study of community engagement, Johnson examines this phenomenon based on two post-conflict societies in Africa. The findings suggest the importance of establishing community engagement as a university mechanism for "placemaking for peace," particularly in locations of social unrest and violence. Next, we turn to college access. While women have reached relatively equal access to higher education in the U.S. and globally, women's universities still play critical roles beyond access to enrollment. In her study of women's access to higher education across 10 nations with expanded coeducation, Renn uncovers the roles of women's universities in [End Page 1] providing legal access, practical access, and cultural access for women. Higher education also extends to the broader global society, as Collins examines the role of higher education in development, particularly linked to societal concerns, such as poverty and public health. His research offers ways that universities can grow from a faculty project to a development lab, based on existing resources, with far-reaching impact. Each of these articles provides in-depth insights on the role of higher education locally and globally. They also provide new areas for further inquiry in the study of international higher education. We hope this special issue will inspire new research perspectives, approaches, and solutions in the global society we share. [End Page 2]