Philip G. Altbach, director of the Center for International Higher Education, at Boston College, said he doesn't know why the Singapore-Hopkins relationship soured, but thinks that other universities should pay attention. "Singapore clearly wanted both a brand name Ñ brand names are very important in the Asian context Ñ and it wanted the substance behind the name. If they don't get both, there's a problem," Altbach said.
Why are such partnerships so difficult to maintain? [D. Bruce Johnstone, director of the Center for Comparative and Global Studies in Education, at the State University of New York at Buffalo]
"Part of it is that this can't all be done by e-mail. It takes a lot of traveling. However developed and pleasant a country and however comfortable the airline, it's a hell of a long ways away to Singapore," he said. "And the kinds of people who the Singaporeans want to see more of are people whose time is enormously precious." Johnstone said that the Hopkins program in Singapore had a lot of prominence because of the university's reputation, so he expected plenty of people to now examine what went wrong.