International Relations: Volume 3

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Table of contents

(15 chapters)

Welcome to the third volume of International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, a series which aims to feature something of the variety of research being undertaken into higher education systems and issues outside of North America. The theme of this volume is International Relations, or, in other words, how students, academics, universities and colleges, and higher education systems relate to each other across international borders.

This chapter tries to explain the impact of the European Commission's ERASMUS programme on national higher education policies of 18 European countries. Based on an analysis of the literature on Europeanisation and policy impact, it is hypothesised that the impact will be very modest, but that there may be indirect impacts and differences in impact across countries dependent on institutional features of the higher education system. The empirical findings support the hypothesis: ERASMUS certainly has increased policy-makers’ awareness of the importance and possible consequences of further internationalisation. Nevertheless, ERASMUS has a more profound effect on higher education institutions and students. In addition, policy-makers have been much more influenced regarding their internationalisation policies by the Sorbonne and Bologna Declarations. There are some noteworthy differences between the countries that relate to specific domestic characteristics (e.g. language and colonial history).

The rise of the era of mobility, or at least of a rhetoric on the benefits of mobility for individuals, can closely be connected with the late modernity and optimist views of the self's capacity to adapt to the challenges posed by globalisation. Mobility thus becomes an act expressing the individual appropriation of an “enlarged” action-space, supposed to become less constrained by social determinism. According to this assumption, mobility can also be seen as a form of elective biography (do-it-yourself biography) and would favour the emergence of a freer individual. Results of the analysis of 80 student accounts on experiences of Erasmus mobility within Europe have shown that student mobility reinforces the individual belief of being able to face changing environments, to monitor the self and to be monitored as a self, and to take control on one's life-path in a reflexive way, by accepting risks impelling new dynamics. From the students’ perspective, mobility experience seems to release impulses for personal growth and individual autonomy. Yet this advantage, however important it may be, often dominates the other outcomes of a mobility period, such as cultural and political awareness, intercultural competence and enlarged feeling of belonging. This result creates a tension with views and expectations for students to become “culture carriers” and vectors of Europeanisation, since the pro-social and societal dimensions of student mobility outcomes, as an experience supporting cultural awareness and understanding, tolerance and civic conscience were less systematically present at the end of the stay abroad.

This chapter highlights the growing body of international research into the benefits of residence abroad for foreign language students, surveying studies from the past 35 years originating in both the U.S.A. and the U.K. It examines some of the problematic issues confronting researchers in this area and shows how these issues have contributed to a paucity of studies in the area and led to a diversity in research design. It reports on longitudinal study, the first of its kind in the U.K., which examined the linguistic benefits of residence abroad for a cohort of modern language students from a leading university. This 4-year study used repeated measures proficiency testing, involving a C-test, a grammar test and a range of qualitative measures, to chart the progress made by students on 6- and 12-month study placements in Germany. Findings confirm substantial proficiency gains on both of the main measures but fail to confirm gender and length of residence abroad as predictors of progress. Results also reveal strong differential individual performance during residence abroad. The chapter concludes with recommendations for future research aimed at exploring this key finding further.

There has been a dramatic increase in recent years in the numbers of international students undertaking undergraduate and postgraduate study in the United Kingdom. This has been as a direct result of the huge influx of mainly postgraduates from the Far East, and in particular from China. After briefly setting the students in their educational context, this chapter presents the findings of two pre- and post-course questionnaires produced in order to reach a better understanding of the needs and expectations of international students attending a UK departmental presessional programme. In addition, the questionnaires explored the students’ notions of and attitudes to change as they proceeded though their programmes. The research revealed a consistent range of concerns and perceptions, which may help us to prioritise students’ needs and address them more effectively and sensitively in the future. The chapter concludes with a number of suggestions and recommendations to help us improve our provision and maintain and expand our position as a high-quality provider of courses for international students.

The impact of internationalisation and globalisation on western universities, together with the growing diversity of local communities, is sharpening a focus on religious difference, and on the responses such difference provokes. This chapter reports on a two-phase U.S. study of Muslim students, a growing but under-researched minority group in the west, in an attempt to explore the effect on such students of external events such as 9/11. The data reveal unforeseen developments such as heightened Muslim engagement and collaboration with fellow-students, suggesting that universities could (re-)consider how they might engage in similarly positive ways with what is perceived as different.

Currently a number of countries around the world grapple with the alleged issues of “brain drain” and “brain gain”. These twin areas are especially felt in smaller nations such as Australia. They are particularly the subject of analysis with respect to the academic profession, which seeks to recruit the next generation of academics in an increasingly global and competitive world. Academic migration itself is not a new issue being as old as the profession itself. What perhaps is novel is that in a mass system of higher education with a great diversity of institutional types migration and migration decisions are even less one-dimensional than perhaps they once, if ever, were. If ever academic migrants were motivated only by academic decisions in making their migration choices does this also apply to those who work in newer and less traditional universities. This study using life history methods examines academic migrants and their migration choices with reference to two new Australian universities. The data is related to the wider literature on recent migration studies and academic migration. Questions are posed and conclusions drawn for academic recruitment by universities facing the challenges posed by imminent large-scale retirement of academic staff.

The establishment of academic voice, authority and identity in international fora, this chapter argues, is both a central challenge and a central benefit of international academic relations. For the presentation (of new ideas, papers, paradigms: the lifeblood of academic interchange) entails the mediation not just of a text but also of persona: both must be ‘translated’ for the ‘foreign’ and host audience; both are changed in the process. As always, that which is found, as well as lost, in translation reveals much about the essential qualities of the ‘original’: here the author's ‘original’ academic voice and identity.

This chapter draws on ethnographic and inter-cultural representational models to explore the proper form of recording and reflecting/reflecting on one particular intercultural academic encounter. It uses explanatory models drawn from Academic Literacies, Sociolinguistics and Translation Studies to try to analyse and understand the process, effect and implications of that encounter. In order to establish that which is performative in academic identity, it gives an evaluative account of what it means to lose, and regain, one's academic voice.

Australia has made impressive efforts over the past two decades in the internationalisation of higher education. Particularly impressive has been the expansion of fee-paying international students. Australia today is the third largest exporter of higher education services internationally, with international students comprising well over 20% of total student enrolments in Australian universities. Expansion of international student enrolments has had major impacts on Australian universities and Australia. On balance, the effects have been strongly positive, producing substantial financial benefits and export income, attracting large number of well-qualified undergraduate and postgraduate students, and leading to a more international orientation for Australia's universities.

Our objective in this chapter is to examine the issues associated with measuring and evaluating the internationalisation of universities. To this end, we propose and critically examine a preliminary framework for categorising potential indicators for monitoring the nature and extent of institutional internationalisation. Our work draws from the Australian situation and the observation that, despite the explicit goal of internationalisation for many universities, there have been few reports of efforts to develop performance indicators in this area.

At the end of the millennium Mexico faced the double challenge of adjusting to an economic policy based on open markets and the protection of a reinvigorated democratic political system through an increased awareness of civil rights and responsibilities among citizens. Nevertheless, tertiary education reforms shifted the onus on education from the formation of social capital to that of human capital. I consider the background of the introduction of the neo-liberal model in the Mexican economy, and the economists’ critique of the adequacy of that model. I contrast the latter to the educationalists’ debate in response to where it becomes apparent that the neoliberal model had come to dominate the conceptual framework in which the impact of the introduction of the reform model could be analyzed. Finally, I consider a recent text in which the neo-liberal tendencies in tertiary education are more clearly outlined, although an alternative option is not forthcoming. By situating my consideration of the challenges of a knowledge society firmly within the historical, social and economic context of Mexico, I indicate factors which such an alternative would need to take into account.

For nearly two centuries, the University of London has operated in a variety of ways as a national, imperial and international university. It has provided syllabuses and examinations in a wide range of disciplines and subjects for institutions in Britain and overseas to teach to. It has allowed individual students to register for its qualifications, and put together their own programmes of study, using whatever means they could. As well as enabling the development of distance study, the University has also offered an increasing amount and range of provision of this kind itself. This chapter provides a summary and analysis of the University of London's role as an archetypal global institution.

Christine Asmar works in the Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her current research considers questions of difference, internationalisation and globalisation in higher education, with particular reference to Muslim and Indigenous issues.

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International Perspectives on Higher Education Research
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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