Is U.S. losing ground in higher education competitiveness?

in education

Will the United States give up its leadership in science and technology?  Newer economies are surging ahead, and in the U.S. recession is further dampening any hope.  It was not long ago that Norm Augustine, former Chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, said Americans do not prefer science and technology education and US is losing its edge in innovation.

In a column on he wrote "U.S. consumers spend significantly more on potato chips than the U.S. government devotes to energy R&D."  However Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education seems to be very positive:  "...  I believe we can reform U.S. education and regain our lead as the world's most competitive workforce, just as decades ago we succeeded in putting a man on the moon," according to a transcript at

When resources are limited, usually K12 and higher education sectors suffer most.  Federal funding for research is also facing an unprecedented uncertainty.

According to a news release from the University of Wisonsin, "countries around the world are ramping up investments in higher education in a push to create world-class research institutions. At the same time, the top research universities in the United States are confronting the challenges of dwindling resources and support."

UW Wisconsin will hold an international panel discussion on this topic on July 26th. Interim Chancellor David Ward will welcome a group of education leaders from around the world to the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Tuesday, July 26 for a panel discussion on these trends and what they mean for the U.S. pre-eminence in higher education.

"Education and Competitiveness: The End of an American Century?" will be held on Tuesday, July 26, from 3:30-5:30 p.m., in the Wisconsin Idea Room (Room 159) of the Education Building on Bascom Hill. Sponsored by the UW-Madison Division of International Studies and School of Education, the program is free and open to the public.

"This is an important topic, not just for higher education, but for the future of the U.S. economy and the U.S. role in the world," says Gilles Bousquet, dean of UW-Madison's Division of International Studies and vice provost for globalization.

Bousquet, whose recent commentary on this subject was featured on the Chronicle of Higher Education's WorldWise blog, adds, "The distinguished speakers on this panel can offer a range of perspectives on current trends and what it means for American institutions."

Ward will deliver the opening remarks, followed by the panelists:
- Abdul Waheed Khan, former assistant director general of communication and information at UNESCO and current president of Talal Abu Ghazaleh University of Business, Bahrain, speaking on "India's Five-Year Higher Education Investment Plan and Its Promises for the Future."

- Aman Wirakartakusumah, Indonesian ambassador for UNESCO and former Rector of Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia, speaking on "The Global Higher Education Landscape as Seen from Southeast Asia."

- Xiaozhou Xu, dean of the School of Education, Zhejiang University, China, speaking on "Towards Tri-Axis in Global Higher Education: The Rising of Asian Universities?"

- Julie Underwood, dean of UW-Madison School of Education, speaking on "America's Role in International Consortia: Who is Leading the Conversation?"

Amy Stambach, UW-Madison professor of educational policy studies in the School of Education, and associate dean in the Division of International Studies, will serve as moderator.

Following the program, a reception will be held in the Education Building Commons, sponsored by the School of Education and the Wisconsin Alumni Association.

For more information on the news release cited above and the UW panel discussion contact Kerry G. Hill, (608) 262-5590,

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