22 SES 03 B, Policy, Management and Governance in Higher Education
The economic imperatives driving university internationalisation strategies are widely acknowledged (Turner and Robson, 2008; Middlehurst and Woodfield, 2007). The transformative trends for HE brought about by the recession, creating heightened international economic competition and growth in the for-profit sector, are likely to endure long past the current economic crisis(Corbett Broad, 2012). While a marketization discourse may be inevitable in the current HE funding climate, there is a danger that this may steer thinking away from the radical reassessment of HE purposes, priorities and processes that internationalization requires (Caruana and Spurling, 2007).
The paper explores the dimensions of university internationalisation. The Times Higher Education World rankings rank the top 100 universities on their ‘international outlook’, defined by diversity on campus (the ratio of international to domestic students); the extent to which academics collaborate and publish with international research partners; and the extent to which that research tackles matters of global concern http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/the-100-most-international-universities-in-the-world/2010783.article. The Council of the European Union urged member states to foster a truly international culture within HE institutions, citing dimensions considered to be appropriate to foster an international culture. These include: enrolment of students from third countries, exchange of students, staff, projects and knowledge, and engagement in international academic and research cooperation in order to enhance the quality and international standing of European HE, to boost research and innovation, to foster mobility and intercultural dialogue, and promote international development in accordance with EU external policy objectives.
Success in recruiting international students is a primary aim in most major institution’s internationalisation strategies. The demand for international higher education continues to increase. Forecasts suggest that 7.2 million international students will be studying internationally by 2025 (Bohm et al., 2002)with a growing demand for multi-site HE experiences. Global partnerships and international consortia have been forged to facilitate mobility, credit transfer and quality assurance, and joint ventures such as collaborative degree programmes. Does this ensure that students receive an internationalised and enriched experience? Sweeney (2012) cites a British Council/YouGov study (2011), suggesting that that there are considerable educational and personal benefits from study abroad, including enjoyment, cultural awareness, and soft skills such as communication and language learning. While students may not immediately recognise the benefits of international experience in relation to employment prospects, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) report that study abroad enhances employability. The evidence, however, is somewhat limited as there has been little research (King et al., 2010).
HE institutions compete to recruit world-class international academics who take up more than 27% of academic appointments in UK institutions (Universities UK, 2007) and around 32% of posts in the Russell Group of research-intensive universities.
Universities make a key contribution to cultural and intellectual life through knowledge exchange and community engagement activities of academics and students, both locally and globally (Russell Group, 2010). Evidence of the impact of these endeavours is now a key performance indicator in the Research Excellence Framework (http://www.ref.ac.uk/),the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. Evidence of engagement and knowledge transfer, of ‘making a difference,’ therefore brings recognition and revenue back into universities.
This paper considers the adequacy of these dimensions of internationalisation to achieve transformative change in the sector. It considers factors that influence individual experiences in international settings (Gu et al., 2010; Sweeney, 2012; Robson, 2011) and suggests that more values-based dimensions to university internationalisation strategies can help to ensure that students and staff engage with, and benefit from, studying and working in an ‘internationalised’ HE institution.
Böhm, A., Davis, D., Meares, D., & Pearce, B. (2002). Global student mobility 2025: Forecasts of the global demand for international higher education. Sydney: IPD. Caruana, V., & Spurling, N. (2007). The Internationalisation of UK Higher Education: a review of selected material Higher Education Academy. Corbett Broad, M., 2012. Higher education in 2012: a global perspective http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2012/jan/23/internationalisation-in-2012 accessed 31 .01.14. Crook, R., (2014) The 100 most international universities in the world http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/the-100-most-international-universities-in-the-world/2010783. 24.01.14, accessed 31.01.14. Gu, Q., Schweisfurth, M., & Day, C. (2010). Learning and growing in a 'foreign' context: Intercultural experiences of international students. Compare, 40(1), 7-23. King, R., Findlay, A. and Ahrens, J. (2010) International Student Mobility Literature Review. Report to HEFCE co-funded by the British Council UK National Agency for Erasmus. Bristol: HEFCE Lipsett, A., 2012. Immigration cap will drive away academic talent. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/oct/12/internationalstudents-higher-education accessed 31 .01.14. Middlehurst, R. and Woodfield, S., (2007) International activity or internationalisation strategy? Insights from an institutional pilot study in the UK.Tertiary Education and Management, 13(3), pp. 263-279. Official Journal of the European Union 26.5.2010 (2010/C 135/12) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:135:0012:0014:EN:PDF Robson, S. (2011) Internationalization: a transformative agenda for higher education?. Teachers and Teaching, 17(6), 619-630. Sweeney, S. 2012 Going Mobile: Internationalisation, mobility and the European Higher Education Area. York: the Higher Education Academy The Russell Group 2010 Staying on Top; the challenge of sustaining world class higher education in the UK. Russell Group Papers- Issue 2, 2010 Turner Y, Robson S., (2008) Internationalizing the University. London: Continuum. Universities UK, http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/highereducation/Pages/CommitteeReportMigrationCap.aspx#.UuzW6sLuO1s accessed 31.01.14.
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