22 SES 03 B, Policy, Management and Governance in Higher Education
University student selection and the access to university have been studied from different perspectives for instance the equity of access to universities (see e.g. Williams 1997). As the universities are aiming to become more international, one way to internationalize campuses has been to attract students from abroad. This aim has been widely emphasized in universities globally (e.g. Huang 2003). As the recruitment and admission of the students from abroad become more frequent, the importance to examine the recruitment and selection related policies and practices increase. It is expected here that the degree programmes taught in English language vary in their selection and recruitment logic compared with the main tracks of university student selection. To this backdrop, the aim of this study is to analyze the recruitment and selection practices and processes of these programmes from governmental perspective in Finland.
Generally, university degree student admission process can be divided in two distinctive phases. First, the foreign university student recruitment phase is understood to comprise the universities’ activities to attract international degree students to apply to the universities’ programmes. Secondly, the selection phase includes the actual criteria set by the universities to admit foreign degree students. (cf. Stone 2005.) The focus of the previous studies in international student recruitment has especially been in the student’s perspective (e.g. Owen, Breheny, Ingram, Pfeifle, Cain & Ryan 2013; Cardon, Marshall & Poddar 2011). Alongside these research projects, studies interested in policies and practices on recruiting university degree students from abroad have started to emerge. These studies include for instance an analysis from the Danish context, which found that the attracting of students from abroad is characterized by the aim to find balance between national higher education agenda and institutional autonomy (Mosneaga & Agergaard 2012). Another, institutional level analysis in England, revealed that the university managers’ rationale to recruit foreign students was found in the economic contribution and international status provided by the foreign students (Bolsmann & Miller 2008). This supports the widely accepted idea of foreign students being considered as bearer of money and status (cf. the majority of foreign students enrolling to Finnish universities do not pay tuition fees; tuition fees can only be limitedly collected from students outside EU- and EEA-countries (Universities Act 2009)). The marketing of the universities and in that way also the recruitment activities of the universities has also been the focus of attention (Greenall 2012; Hemsley-Brown & Goonawardana 2007; Ross, Grace & Shao 2013).
In general different countries have similar principles for studentselection, while the actual selection practices vary (Ahola & Kokko 2001). In Finland, the main selection criteria to university (excl. universities of applied sciences) is the success in matriculation examination and/or entrance exam. However, in separate selection tracks the practices differ. For instance in Master’s degree programmes taught in English, a language proficiency test and a motivation letter can be required (see e.g. Study Guide to University of Turku 2014). Universities are responsible for setting the selection criteria (Universities Act 2009), and hence the eligibility criteria within degree programmes vary. Within this context the research questions are the following:
- What kinds of discussion and discourses are attached to the recruitment and selection practices and processes to the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programmes taught in English in Finland?
- What are the governmental criteria attached to the selection of candidates in the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programmes taught in English? How the criteria are legitimized?
- What kind of recruitment and selection space the governmental framework provides for the students applying for the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programmes taught in English?
Ahola, S. & Kokko, A. (2001). Finding the best possible students: student selection and its problems in the field of business. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 23 (2), 191-203. Bolsmann, C. & Miller, H. (2008). International student recruitment to universities in England: discourse, rationales and globalization. Globalisation, Societies and Education 6 (1), 75-88. Cardon, P. W., Marshall, B. & Poddar, A. (2011). Using typologies to interpret study abroad preferences of American business students: Applying a tourism framework to international education. Journal of Education for Business 86, 111–118. Elo, S. & Kyngäs, H. (2008). The qualitative content analysis process. Journal of Advanced Nursing 62 (1), 107-115. Greenall, A. K. (2012). Attracting international students by means of the web: transadaptation, domestication and cultural suppression. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 216, 75–85. Hemsley-Brown, J. & Goonawardana, S. (2007). Brand harmonization in the international higher education market. Journal of Business Research 60, 942-948. Huang, F. (2003). Policy and practice of the internationalization of higher education in China. Journal of Studies in International Education 7, 225-240. MOE. (2001). International strategy of higher education institutions. Helsinki: Ministry of Education. MOE. (2009). Strategy for the internationalisation of higher education institutions in Finland 2009–2015. Helsinki: Ministry of Education. Mosneaga, A. & Agergaard, J. (2012). Agents of internationalisation? Danish universities’ practices for attracting international students. Globalisation, Societies and Education 10 (4), 519-538. Owen, C., Breheny, P., Ingram, R., Pfeifle, W. Cain, J. & Ryan, M. (2013). Factors associated with pharmacy student interest in international study. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 77 (3), 1-10. Rosengren, K. E. (1981). Advances in content analysis. Beverly Hills: Sage. Ross, M., Grace, D. & Shao, W. (2013). Come on higher ed … get with the programme! A study of market orientation in international student recruitment. Educational review 65 (2), 219-240. Saarinen, T. (2008). Position of text and discourse analysis in higher education policy research. Studies in Higher Education 33 (6), 719–728. Stone, R. J. (2005). Human resource management. Wiley: Singapore. Study Guide to University of Turku 2014. Retrieved from http://www.utu.fi/fi/Opiskelu/haeopiskelijaksi/Documents/valintaopas2014.pdf. Tuomi, J. & Sarajärvi, A. (2009). Laadullinen tutkimus ja sisällönanalyysi. Helsinki: Tammi. Universities Act 2009. Williams, J. (1997). Negotiating access to higher education: The discourse of selectivity and equity. SRHE & OUP: UK.
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