Research digest for practitioners: July 2017

Research digest for practitioners: July 2017

The July issue of the Journal of Studies in International Education focuses in on such topics as: the institutionalisation of English-taught degree programmes, pre-departure support for visiting faculty and work-integrated learning for international students. This blog series inspires practitioners to stay current on the latest research in the field, bridging practice with research. Below you will find a short summary of each article encouraging you to further explore those of interest.

Rethinking Multicultural Group Work as Intercultural Learning

By: Robin Reid, Kyra Garson

Topic: Intercultural learning in the classroom

As many institutions increase the number of international students, there may be an assumption that increased diversity leads to intercultural learning. Diverging from this assumption, previous research finds that without guidance and conditions, imposed diversity may lead to stereotypes and divisiveness. This study explores what happens to students’ experiences, specifically their intercultural learning, when working in intentionally formed, prepared and evaluated multicultural groups. During three semesters of a third year bachelor’s course in tourism management the researcher worked with 76 students participating in multicultural groups. Findings suggest that by intentionally forming multicultural groups, (taking into consideration nationality and gender), preparing students for multicultural group work by giving basic information on cultural differences and intercultural communication and by incorporating evaluation and self-reflection into the process supports effective cultural interactions and intercultural learning.

An Analytical Framework for Internationalization Through English-Taught Degree Programs: A Dutch Case Study

By: Masako Kotake

Topic: The institutionalisation of English-taught degree programmes

Have English-taught degree programmes become institutionalised in the Netherlands? This study explores and creates an analytical framework to examine how and to what level English-taught degree programmes have become normal practice. In 2014, the researcher conducted 15 interviews with academics in six Dutch research universities. Using innovation theory as the framework, the researcher developed criteria to measure the degree of compatibility with the goals and values of the university (eg conformity to the organisational goals and policies, human resource development, and disciplinary characteristic, etc) and the profitability of the English-taught degree programmes (eg added value of multicultural settings and embedding internationalisation, etc). Based on the findings, Dutch English-taught degree programmes have a high level of compatibility and basic level of profitability.

Approaches to Analyzing the Outcomes of International Scholarship Programs for Higher Education

By: Matt Mawer

Topic: Evaluation of international scholarship programmes

Around the world, governments and charitable foundations invest in international scholarship programmes (eg Fulbright, Chevening, WHO fellowships, etc). The rationales for investing vary according to regional and national context. While these scholarships only fund a small and select number of students seeking studies outside of their home country, these programmes are still considered to be a sizable investment. Despite the large investment, there is limited analysis – and more specifically evaluation – of these scholarship programmes. This study considers and analyses three broad trends of measurement and interpretation used to evaluate these programmes and unravels the surrounding issues:

1)  Programme aims that are sufficiently clear and consistent to evaluate outcomes;

2)  The complexity with receiving a scholarship and linking it to subsequent impacts; and

3)  Comparative evaluation that compares the value of the scholarship programme to alternative uses of funds or other programmes.

Bridging Borders: Toward a Pedagogy of Preparedness for Visiting Faculty

By: Robert C. Mizzi

Topic: Pre-departure support for visiting faculty

Do you offer some type of pre-departure support for faculty going on exchange? The findings of this study suggest that offering a ‘pedagogy of preparedness’ may help faculty members navigate the diverse challenges and benefits of teaching/researching abroad. This study analyses 10 institutions that offer visiting faculty opportunities out of the country. Out the 10 sending countries only three provided pre-departure information (handbooks) and post-arrival support (workshops). Using the border pedagogy framework offers a critical lens to navigate power differences, otherness and narratives that the visiting faculty may encounter. Drawing from this pedagogy, the researcher proposes pedagogy of preparedness focused on:
1) Pre-departure learning that moves beyond simple technical information;

2) Deconstruction of transnational teacher and teaching background; and

3) Decolonizing learning spaces.

Integration of Work Experience and Learning for International Students: From Harmony to Inequality

By: Ly Thi Tran, Sri Soejatminah

Topic: Work-integrated learning for international students

Do any of your courses or degree programmes offer work-integrated learning opportunities (work placements, internships, project-based learning, or service-learning) for international students? This study analyses the experiences of 105 international students in Australia vocational education and training (VET) sector participating in work-integrated learning. Using Bourdieu’s concept of fields and habitus, the researcher discovers that just because a course or programme incorporates a work-integrated learning aspect does not mean it is a quality experience. The findings highlight a gap between rhetoric and practice in VET institutions providing access to quality work experiences. In some cases, the institution arranged the work experience resulting in a positive experience for the student, whereas in other institutions the international students were tasked with locating their own work experience which sometimes led to no work-integrated learning. Overall, the author recommends more institutional support in helping international students locate and experience quality work experiences.

Exporting a Student-Centered Curriculum: A Home Institution’s Perspective

By: Dominique Waterval, Marjolijn Tinnemans-Adriaanse, Mohammed Meziani, Erik Driessen, Albert Scherpbier, Abdulrahman Mazrou, Janneke Frambach

Topic: Strategic partnership to deliver curricula abroad

This case-study highlights an undergraduate medical curriculum partnership between Maastricht University in the Netherlands (home institution) and a newly established medical university in Saudi Arabia (host institution). The partnership was set up in 2009 and continues to 2020. As the partnership began, the home institution set up a centralised project team to administer and implement the partnership. This case study highlights the challenges and lessons learned from the perspective of the three project team members at the home institution in three areas:
1) Bridging relational and cultural distances;

2) Bridging geographical distances; and

3) Bridging educational distances.

Leasa Weimer is Knowledge Development Adviser at the EAIE.