ERG SES E 14, Research in Higher Education
Insights on the engagement of academics staff in the internationalisation of higher education are important as academics are considered the main actors in research, teaching and learning (Altbach, 2015). Understanding academic staff’s perception, practice, and needs within a specific physical, social or political context could lead to positive academics’ engagement in the internationalisation of higher education (Childress, 2010). With Asian countries emerging as important players in higher education (Ilieva and Peak, 2016) and Malaysia aspiring to be a higher education excellence hub (Ministry of Higher Education, 2015), academics in this region are expected to intensify their effort and commitment in internationalisation (Mok, 2013). Framed against the ever-changing landscape of higher education internationalisation, the present study, set within the context of Malaysian public universities, was conducted to explore Malaysian academics' experience in their engagement in higher education internationalisation.
Based on some findings of the doctoral research project, the focus of the presentation is on the nature of the academics' international engagement, the rationales and the challenges facing academics in internationalisation. As evidenced by data from interviews and focus groups with the participants, the findings reveal diverse conceptualisations, practices and challenges in internationalisation. The discussion of these is later aimed towards comparing the Malaysian academics' perspectives and international counterparts from a few selected studies on academics' experience in the internationalisation of higher education in European contexts.
The study employed a few qualitative data collection methods including semi-structured interviews with the utilisation of qualitative life grid, documentary evidence and online focus group to gather the academic participants' accounts on their engagement in the internationalisation of higher education.
The findings reveal diverse conceptualisations, practices and challenges in internationalisation as experienced by the academic participants. Analysed with a few theoretical lenses of higher education internationalisation, it was also found that there are features of internationalisation engagement and challenges that are unique to Malaysian higher education context.
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