22 SES 04 A, Internationalisation: Policy Papers in Higher Education
General description on topic
The study is a follow-up on an earlier literature review of the Bologna Process, It aims to present an updated position, with a specific focus on the critical viewpoint that was found in the previous review, to raise further awareness about risks and ‘pitfalls to avoid’ as well as possibilities. The discussion deepens the reflection on plurality and standardisation in higher education.
Over the past decades and the time ahead, internationalisation has been a significant movement in higher education throughout the world and in Europe (EUA, 2013; De Wit et al., 2015). It is a major challenge in an age of complexity, where previous paradigms of higher education are disrupted by cultural flows, technological innovation, and economic conflicts of interest (Wihlborg and Avery, in progress; Wihlborg & Teelken, 2014). The significance of internationalisation arises not only in terms of volume of exchanges or cooperation. Above all, it creates tensions and dilemmas at systemic levels, and thus becomes a driver of change (cf. Sursock & Smidt, 2010). Beyond simply looking at ways to support internationalisation, we therefore need to look at consequences that different conceptualisations can have in terms of quality and content of education, as well as their impact for overarching research agendas.
In a European context, the Bologna Process (cf. European Commission, 2010, 2013, 2015) represents the most systematic drive to date for increased international academic cooperation and mobility. Initially, this process was acclaimed and regarded as a coherent harmonious phenomenon that would promote mutually enriching exchanges (cf. Keeling, 2004). But actual effects may not match the initial ambitions. The Leuven declaration (2009), the Budapest-Vienna declaration (2010), and the Bucharest Communique (2012) have all highlighted some critical issues concerning the Bologna Process, and several authors have raised questions about “what the actual effects of the policy changes have been” (Leisyte, 2014). Nevertheless, the bulk of the Bologna literature does not pursue the issues of long-term effects at a structural level. Previous literature reviews (Wihlborg & Teelken, 2010, 2014) instead indicates lack of critical examination on the outcomes concerning the Bologna Process and few studies have discussed the systemic consequences in a more reflected way. A lack of critical reflection concerning the Bologna Process has also been recognised by Huisman (2009), Neave & Amaral (2008) and others. Considering the numerous ways Bologna can affect conditions for future developments in higher education across Europe, structural implications deserve closer attention.
Theoretical framework and premises
In our previous study, critical reflections about indicators or criteria supporting diversification of national higher education systems (Sursock & Smidt, 2010) was used as a point of departure. The issue of structural conditions promoting diversity and creativity in higher education is further developed in the present study. The main premise remains that ’common standards’ must be framed in such a way that they do not stifle diversity, innovative teaching practices and creative research, and so they can instead promote quality levels substantially through the central role of HEIs. Quality criteria have a strategic role in this respect. Formulating European policies for innovation and creativity in higher education becomes meaningless, if structural conditions, drivers and accountability mechanisms do not enable them (see also Adelman, 2009). In a recent article (Brögger, 2016, p. 87) it is argued that “the rule of this competitive, mimetic desire for ‘better performance’ is what makes the Bologna mode of governance feasible”. The question is if this kind of ontology of the Bologna Process is desirable, and what the long-term consequences of a possible reproduction and maintenance of standardised higher education structures will be.
Adelman, C. 2009. The Bologna Process for U.S. Eyes: Re-learning Higher Education in the Age of Convergence.. Biesta, G. (2013). Knowledge, judgement and the curriculum: on the past, present and future... Brögger, K. (2016). The rule of mimetic desire in higher education: governing through naming, shaming and faming. British Journal of Sociology and Education... Bucharest Communique (2012). Making the Most of Our Potential: Consolidating the European Higher Education Area Budapest-Vienna Declaration...European Higher Education Area.. EUA (2013). Internationalisation in European higher education: European policies, institutional strategies and EUA support. European Commission (2010). Focus on Higher Education in Europe 2010: New report on the impact of the Bologna process. EurydiceR. European Commission (2013). The Bologna Process - Towards the European Higher Education Area. European Commission (2015). The European Higher Education Area in 2015: Bologna Process Implementation Report. De Wit et al., (2015). Internationalisation of Higher Education. Brussels... Hart, C. (2003a). Doing a Literature Search... Hart, C. (2003b). Doing a Literature Review... Huisman, J. (2009). The Bologna Process towards 2020: Institutional diversification or convergence? … The European Higher Education Area: Perspectives on a moving target.. Leisyte & Westerheijden. (2014). Research Evaluation and Its Implications for Academic Research in the UK and the Netherlands. Centrum for Bildung…Univerität Dortmund. Leuven Declaration (2009). The Bologna Process 2020 - The European Higher Education Area in the new decade Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education... Marginson et al., (2010) Space, mobility and synchrony in the age of the knowledge economy. Peter Lang... Meyer & Meyer (2007). Wolfgang Klafki. Eine Didaktik für das 21. Jahrhundert? Weinheim and Basel: Beltz Verlag. Meyer et al. (2015). Conference paper ‘Bildung and Educative Practices‘- ECER 2015 Curriculum Innovation, Budapest. Mayring, P. (2000). Qualitative content analysis. Forum: Qualitative Social Research... Neave, G. & Amaral, A. (2008). On process, progress, success and methodology or the unfolding of the Bologna process as it appears to two reasonably benign observers. Higher Education Quarterly... Sursock, A & Smidt, H. (2010). Trends 2010: A decade of change in European Higher Education. EUA-publications.. Teelken, C. & Wihlborg, M. (2010). Reflecting on the Bologna outcome space: Some pitfalls to avoid? Exploring universities in Sweden and The Netherlands. EERJ Wihlborg, M., & Teelken, C. (2014). Striving for Uniformity, Hoping for Innovation and Diversification: a critical review concerning the Bologna Process–providing an overview and reflecting on the criticism. Policy Futures in Education... Wihlborg, M & Avery, H. (in progress). The Bologna Process on the highway or sideway – making way for innovation and creativity – a critical stance…
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