EAIE New Knowledge Alert: August 2019

EAIE New Knowledge Alert: August 2019

The supposedly sleepy months of summer in Europe have been anything but dormant when it comes to new publications, reports and insights in the field of international higher education. As many of us return in the coming weeks to classrooms and campuses, catching up on some of the latest developments may involve exploring some of the following resources.

Two books, a couple of reports, and a series of articles walk into a bar… er, I mean: land on your desk. Which one do you pick up first?

Let’s start with a celebration!

The summer wouldn’t be complete without a celebration, and this year we had reason to take note of a very special birthday: the 20th anniversary of the Bologna Process. This auspicious occasion was marked on 24-25 June with an event in Bologna that featured a series of addresses touching on such core themes as civic values, student-centred learning, the labour market of the future, the role of higher education in providing leadership for sustainable development, and the social dimensions of higher education. Selected papers authored by the presenters – including researchers, academics, students and a former rector – are now freely available for download. These pieces give us all an opportunity to reflect on different perspectives about what the Bologna Process has meant to European higher education over the last two decades, and what may lie ahead.

For those interested in taking a deeper dive into the legacy of the Bologna Process to date, Higher education system reform: an international comparison after twenty years of Bologna (edited by Bruno Broucker, Kurt De Wit, Jef C. Verhoeven and Liudvika Leišytė) might be just your thing. This book explores how higher education reform has played out in eleven different European countries since 1999, and what “practices, patterns and pathways” we can discern from these national experiences.

Employability, anyone?

The newest instalment in Routledge’s Internationalization of Higher Education series was released in June and touches on an issue of immense interest for many of us in the field. Internationalization and employability in higher education, edited by Robert Coelen and Cate Gribble, uses case studies from most world regions as well as student and employer perspectives, to explore the intersections between employability and international education in a global context. A hot topic in Europe, as it is elsewhere, employability will be featured in some fashion in more than a dozen different sessions at the Annual EAIE Conference in Helsinki in September – including one chaired by Robert Coelen himself.

It’s all about the students

From Europe to Oceania and everywhere in between, new insights are emerging that help us understand what students need and want, and how our work as professionals can move the needle on student engagement and support. As a result of the European Students’ Union (ESU) May 2019 board meeting, the group’s Internationalisation and mobility policy paper was released. The ESU describes this concise 15-page document as “both an advancement and a cohesive overview of ESU’s existing positions on internationalisation and mobility in higher education”. The document articulates a “global fight for education” and decries institutional aspirations towards profit, elitism and prestige through internationalisation. Among other things, ESU advocates for inclusiveness to ensure broad student participation in international mobility; free access to education, research, and other educational resources; and attention to imbalanced mobility where this signals the existence of “barriers in the mobility system”, among other objectives. These are compelling and timely messages for our community.

Also of considerable importance is the duty of care when it comes to supporting internationally mobile students with mental health needs. To this point, our colleagues at the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) have recently released a number in their research series on Mental health and international students: issues, challenges and effective practice. The EAIE’s interest in the matter of student wellness is longstanding, as well. Indeed, several sessions at our upcoming conference in Helsinki will touch on this increasingly important topic, for example from the perspective of cultivating mindfulness, to fostering coordinated efforts to create welcoming environments that cater to a diverse range of students.

So little time, and yet it seems there is constantly so much new material to read, reflect on, and test out in our own professional lives! Daunting, yes. But pretty exciting, too, right? Take a breath: as the summer days begin to grow shorter, make a brief list of some new materials to browse that catch your eye, grab a final summery drink, and just ease into it. Heading ‘back to school’ with a stimulating buzz of new information in your brain is going to feel great.

Keep up-to-date

Want to stay abreast of news like this and other important developments in the field? In addition to highlights in the monthly newsletter, EAIE members enjoy full access to publications, research and more in our resource library.

Laura E. Rumbley
EAIE, the NetherlandsLaura is Associate Director of Knowledge Development and Research at the EAIE.