Research digest for practitioners: February 2016

Research digest for practitioners: February 2016

The February 2016 special issue of the Journal of Studies in International Education focuses in on transnational higher education (TNE). Authors in this issue explore common definitions in TNE, questions around higher education boundaries, and the lived experiences of international branch campus managers. This blog post highlights the main takeaways in each article, encouraging you to further explore the research and ground your internationalisation practices in evidence.

Transcending Borders and Traversing Boundaries: A Systematic Review of the Literature on Transnational, Offshore, Cross-Border, and Borderless Higher Education

By: Anna Kosmützky and Rahul Putty

This comprehensive literature review highlights the development of a thematic field of research focusing on the keywords: TNE, offshore, cross-border and borderless higher education. The findings show that, from the mid-1990s there has been growth, especially in the last 10 years, in the number of publications indicating an emergence of a ‘transnational higher education space’. The authors suggest a few areas within this thematic field where future research is needed.

Transnational Education Remodeled: Toward a Common TNE Framework and Definitions

By: Jane Knight

To ensure that we are all speaking the same language when considering the evolving field of TNE, Knight reflects on the different terminology in the field and develops common categories and definitions. First, she defines TNE as “the mobility of an education program or higher education institution (HEI)/provider between countries”. Then, she provides a conceptual model outlining collaborative and independent initiatives with definitions for various practices – such as branch campus, twinning programme, etc. Finally, she discusses the risks and benefits of a common framework.

Shifting Institutional Boundaries through Cross-Border Higher Education

By: Alberto Amaral, Orlanda Tavares, Sónia Cardoso, and Cristina Sin

Is cross-border higher education (CBHE) changing institutional boundaries? This study explores the boundary changes in Portuguese higher education influenced by CBHE. Analysing national data and survey results, three contexts are considered: African-Portuguese speaking countries, Brazil and Europe. Findings indicate that public institutions in Portugal show less interest and activity in CBHE when compared to the private institutions. Institutional identities, different rationales (economic, political, cultural, and academic), and local policy contexts drive shifting boundaries in CBHE.

The Challenges of Leading an International Branch Campus: The “Lived Experience” of In-Country Senior Managers

By: Nigel M. Healey

There are over 200 international branch campuses (IBC) located around the world and little is known about the multiple challenges that IBC managers experience. This study highlights these challenges through the ‘lived experience’ of nine senior managers of UK IBCs operating in the three largest IBC markets: China, Malaysia and United Arab Emirates. Three themes surfaced from the results:

1. Pressure to adapt to the local culture (regulations, etc)
2. Management of multiple stakeholders demands
3. The individual characteristics that influence how they respond (eg management experience or lack thereof)

The overall conclusion: home universities need to do more to support IBC managers in these three areas.

Transnational Higher Education Institutions in China: A Comparison of Policy Orientation and Reality

By: Lan He

Since 1995, the number of transnational higher education institutions (TEIs) operating in the Chinese higher education sector has increased to 64. The Ministry of Education (MoE) selects and approves TEIs. Even though the specific criteria for TEI approval is unknown, this author compares the policy changes from 1995 to 2003/2004 to better understand what characteristics most likely lead to a TEI being approved. Findings show the three characteristics most likely leading to MoE approval:

1.) Cooperation with a highly ranked European higher education institution
2.) Legal affiliation with a Chinese university
3.) Programme offerings in IT, science and engineering.

Leasa Weimer is Knowledge Development Adviser at the EAIE

If you are an EAIE member, you can contact our office to subscribe to the Journal of Studies in International Education for a special price of only €10 per year.

Leasa Weimer
EAIE, the NetherlandsLeasa is Senior Adviser for Knowledge Initiatives for the EAIE.