Looking back at trends in higher education: thoughts from the EAIE President

Looking back at trends in higher education: thoughts from the EAIE President

As the 26th Annual EAIE Conference approaches, we’re preparing for a change in EAIE Leadership. After four years of serving first as the EAIE Vice-President and then the President, Hans-Georg van Liempd is ready to ‘pass the baton’. Read on as he looks back at his Presidency and reflects on some of the global trends in international higher education.

You travelled significantly during your term and represented the EAIE at many international conferences. What was the hot topic that kept coming up?

Hot topics vary over time, but I think there are several particular topics that came along in the last couple of years. Firstly, there were the effects of the global economic crisis on international higher education. Although these effects were certainly visible in many countries, most particularly in Southern Europe, one could argue that in general, the internationalisation of higher education was not affected. Rather, I think that governments, as a result of the crisis, have become even more aware of the importance of further investment in international higher education.

The second topic was of course the concept of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). There was much discussion as to whether the trend of online education would have an effect on higher education, and more specifically its impact on internationalisation. The EAIE will be exploring this further in the coming years.

Finally, the issue of values, ethics and integrity in international education, in what we do as educators and professionals, is the third topic. Although it was already on the radar a couple of years ago with initiatives such as the IAU Call for Action or the joint EAIE/IEAA International Student Mobility Charter, I’ve seen this important topic on the table more frequently at various conferences and sense that it will continue to be so in the future. The session I co-presented at NAFSA on integrity in internationalisation, also recently showcased the need for such discussions.

What developments have you seen regarding the recognition or perception of the EAIE in other parts of the world?

I truly believe that the EAIE is nowadays, in many respects, an example for other organisations around the world, not because of the growth of our conference, but more so because of the breadth of our services for our members and participants. Our portfolio has expanded enormously thanks to the vision, hard work and joint effort of our dedicated leaders and the EAIE Office. There is still much work to do though. At the same time, it is our responsibility to share our knowledge and experience with other organisations, from whom we can learn equally as much. Lastly, I truly believe in cooperation and joint activities. The Global Dialogue in January of this year in South Africa is a first step in that direction.

What was your most memorable moment as President?

This is a difficult question to answer, as there is not one specific memory that comes to my mind. I have many fond memories of beautiful places where I normally would not have had the opportunity to go, as well as interesting events I’ve attended. More memorable though, are the new, interesting and very nice people from all over the world that I’ve met, many of whom have become very dear friends. I think these relationships are not only the most memorable but also the most valuable takeaway of my Presidency for me personally.

Do you have any advice for incoming EAIE President, Laura Howard?

Enjoy while it lasts; time flies!

Hans-Georg van Liempd will officially step down as EAIE President on Friday 19 September 2014 at the Closing Plenary of the 26th Annual EAIE Conference. Join us as we bid him farewell. As the Immediate Past President, he will remain a member of the Association’s strategic body, the General Council, for two years.

Thank you, Hans-Georg, for your contributions to the EAIE as President. We look forward to honouring you in Prague.