22 SES 05 A, Internationalisation: Case Study Papers (Part 1)
Paper Session to be continued in 22 SES 06 A
Internationalisation has a number of potential benefits, such as pooling resources across national borders to allow the development of specialised joint programmes in emerging areas, and a mutually enriching process (Gough, 2005) of widening perspectives that can take place when higher education programmes draw on multiple knowledge traditions. Cross-border encounters can feed creative dynamics and serve as a catalyst to innovation. But such positive potentials are lost when internationalisation is driven towards standardisation (Wihlborg & Teelken, 2014).
Internationalistion of higher education is an important European goal (De Wit et al., 2015), aiming at supporting both knowledge development and high quality education for the professionals of tomorrow. Academic leadership in internationalisation would ideally be coupled with the ability to imagine and facilitate innovative ways of structuring education, as well as the ability to shape organisations that anticipate significant changes in society at large. At the same time, while we do know that society is changing, many important circumstances are not foreseeable, especially in the longer term (Stromquist, 2002). Rather than preparing students for a set of knowable circumstances, a crucial feature would therefore be to prepare for dealing with new situations (Barnett, 2012). This includes the ability to collaborate with other professional groups in different ways (Faulconbridge & Muzio, 2012), the ability to take initiatives and to develop relevant knowledge and knowhow.
However, in the absence of binding commitments to other values, educational development generally and internationalisation processes more specifically, will tend to be shaped to follow financial incentives. This ultimately serves to meet the needs of the financially strongest individuals, groups and countries, to the detriment of others (Stromquist, 2002; Gough, 2005; Frenk, 2010), and can lead to deep-reaching inadequacies in the form and content of our education. In the case of nursing and the health sciences for instance, 2015 witnessed serious crises that exposed some of the problems with our current education systems (cf. Frenk, 2010). In the face of such challenges, innovation in HE becomes a major concern, to train creative professionals who themselves are able to organise their work in new ways.
Leadership can play a role in opening opportunities for innovative educational development (Smithee, 2012), but is limited by structural constraints (Beiklie & Michelsen, 2013), on the one hand, and by the scope of perspectives included in decision-making, on the other. Such effects are compounded by competing on the same markets for placing publications, obtaining external research grants or enticing paying students through position on ranking lists (Hazelkorn, 2008). Being placed under the same structural constraints and conditions, applying the same quality criteria and operating on the same markets drives higher education institutions to aim for the same optimally profitable selection of programmes and profiles (cf. Beach, 2013; Bleiklie & Michelsen, 2013). Thus paradoxically, globalisation - in the sense of imposing a competitive paradigm measuring academic value and governing institutional development through indicators detached from both academic and social meaning – would tend to reduce diversity and limit the forms internationalisation can take. In such marketised landscapes of internationalisation, the competitive edge is obtained through mechanisms such as better initial financing, aggressive marketing or forming cartel-like groups, rather than looking to social needs or long-term sustainability. At different levels, academic leaders are socialised into a culture of mimicry (Brögger, 2016.). Over time, such mechanisms drive towards a depletion of the collective imaginary, affecting production of knowledge, but also limiting the models and forms that can be imagined by leaders. Supporting innovation in practice therefore requires some form of explicit and binding emphasis on differentiation, as well as innovative and more diversified leadership structures.
Aerden, A., De Decker, F., Divis, J., Frederiks, M. & Hans de Wit, H. (2013). Assessing the internationalisation of degree programmes: experiences from a Dutch-Flemish pilot certifying internationalisation. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 43(1), 56-78. Bacchi, C. (2007). The ethics of problem representation: Widening the scope of ethical debate. Policy and Society, 26(3), 5-20. Barnett, R. (2012). Learning for an unknown future. Higher Education Research & Development, 31(1), 65-77. Brögger, K. (2016). The rule of mimetic desire in higher education: governing through naming, shaming and faming. British Journal of Sociology and Education... Beach, D. (2013).Changing higher education: converging policy-packages and experiences of changing academic work in Sweden. Journal of Education Policy. 28 (4), 517-533. Bleiklie, I. (1998). Justifying the Evaluative State: New Public Management Ideals in Higher Education. European Journal of Education, 33 (3), 299-316. Bleiklie, I. & Michelsen, S. (2013) Comparing HE policies in Europe: Structures and reform outputs in eight countries. Higher Education. 65, 113–133. De Wit, H., Hunter, F., Howard, L. & Egron-Polak, E. (2015). Internationalisation of Higher Education. Brussels: European Parliament. Faulconbridge, J. R., & Muzio, D. (2012). Professions in a globalizing world: Towards a transnational sociology of the professions. International Sociology, 27(1), 136-152. Frenk, J. et al. (2010). Health professionals for a new century: transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world. The Lancet Commissions, 376(9756), 1923-1958. Gough, N. (2005). Editorial: A vision for transnational curriculum inquiry. TCI (Transnational Curriculum Inquiry), 1(1), 1-11. Hazelkorn, E. (2008). Rankings, Diversity, and Excellence: A European Policy Challenge? International Higher Education, European Trends, 19-21. Hyatt, D. (2013). The Critical Higher Education Policy Discourse Analysis Framework. In Theory and Method in Higher Education Research, 41-59. Emerald. Ruiz, J. (2014). Implicit Discourse: Contributions to a Sociological Analysis. Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociologicas. 146, 171-190 Smithee, M.B. (2012) Finding leadership for the internationalization of U.S. higher education. Journal of International Education and Leadership, 2(1) Stromquist, N. (2002). Education in a globalized world: the connectivity of economic power, technology, and knowledge. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield. 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.
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