Research digest for practitioners: February 2018

Research digest for practitioners: February 2018

With the recent online publication of the February 2018 Journal of Studies in International Education it’s time for another post in the blog series that highlights relevant academic research. Authors in this issue explore the institutional and government rationales for recruiting international students, international student perceptions of their needs, institutional policies encouraging study abroad and development of transnational higher education. The aim of this series illuminates major findings and takeaways from select articles that may be relevant and useful to practitioners in the field. We hope the brief summaries give you food for thought or, better yet, entice you to further explore the articles.

Transnational Higher Education Partnerships and the Role of Operational Faculty Members: Developing an Alternative Theoretical Approach for Empirical Research

By: Claudia M. Bordogna

Topic: Transnational higher education implementation

How do social relationships between faculty members in transnational higher education (TNE) programmes influence the development of TNE partnerships? The author designs an alternative theoretical framework to further investigate this question by infusing three theoretical approaches. This conceptual tool can uncover challenges in the implementation of TNE and enable senior international officers to consider a series of factors in improving the operationalisation.

International Students’ Perceptions of Their Needs When Going Abroad: Services on Demand

By: Adriana Perez-Encinas, Jesus Rodriguez-Pomeda

Topic: International student needs and services

International students have different needs for services during the various stages (pre-arrival, arrival, during stay, integration, and re-integration) of the international student life cycle. Using a unique text analysis method, this study explores international student needs during studying abroad. The text analysis was based on 59,662 student opinions collected by StudyPortals in the ‘Student Experience Exchange’ online survey from 2011 to 2014. Through a series of network analyses, five common topics emerged from both groups of international students (incoming/outgoing):

  1. what comprises a good university
  2. living expenses
  3. sound teaching
  4. expensive country
  5. city offerings

Based on these common topics surfacing from the data, the authors suggest actions for international staff to consider when developing international student services.

Universities’ Expectations for Study-Abroad Programs Fostering Internationalization: Educational Policies

By: Hiroko Take, Ai Shoraku

Topic: Japanese university policies to encourage studying abroad

In an effort to foster internationalisation of higher education, Japanese universities are implementing policies to increase the number of students studying abroad. Based on a wider questionnaire sent to 769 international officers at national, public and private universities, this article focuses on 67 Japanese universities that have implemented mandatory study-abroad. This study reviews admission, curriculum and degree-awarding policies at the 67 universities by exploring repeated words in the policy text. In doing so, the authors found that common terminology such as a ‘command of a foreign language,’ ‘communication skills,’ ‘attitude to act proactively,’ ‘problem-solving ability,’ and ‘logical thinking’ were all expected outcomes of study abroad.

Four Rationales of HE Internationalization: Perspectives of U.K. Universities on Attracting Students From Former Soviet Countries

By: Maia Chankseliani

Topic: Rationales for recruiting international students from a targeted region

The UK is the second most popular EU destination for international students coming from former Soviet countries. This study focuses in on how UK universities make sense of government rationales for attracting students from former Soviet countries: Eastern Europe (Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine), Russia, Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia), and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) to the United Kingdom. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 university employees in charge of international student recruitment from 13 universities. Findings suggest that among the four rationales: economic, social/cultural, academic and political, interviewees perceived the economic rationale to be the most prominent, with the social/cultural rationale following.

The Others: Equitable Access, International Students, and the Community College

By: Tiffany Viggiano, Ariadna I. López Damián, Evelyn Morales Vázquez, John S. Levin

Topic: Rationales for recruiting international students

Community colleges in the USA typically aim to increase higher education access to domestic students based on race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES). This study investigates the access mission in relation to the recruitment of international students. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 decision makers at three community colleges. Findings suggest that these community colleges did not extend the access mission to international students, but rather justified recruiting international students on the basis of revenue generation. The authors called this phenomenon the ‘international access paradox’ which prevents institutional decision makers from responding to the needs of low SES international students because the assumption is that all international students are affluent.

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