Research digest for practitioners: November 2017

Research digest for practitioners: November 2017

This month’s Journal of Studies in International Education addresses topics from China and Korea to Germany and the UK. Articles focus in on many different aspects of policy making, among other topics, from governmental elite-making higher education policies to how policies construct international students as a marginalised population. The main aim of the research digest bridges research with practice. We hope this blog serves as a teaser to entice you to explore articles of interest in more depth.

A Comparison of China’s “Ivy League” to Other Peer Groupings Through Global University Rankings

By: Ryan M. Allen

Topic: University rankings & elite-making higher education policy

Is China catching up with the ‘world’s best universities’? Since the 1990s, China has invested in a few key elite-making higher education policies. This study analyses whether or not governmental efforts have created a tiered Chinese higher education system and if the Chinese ‘Ivy League’ (nine leading Chinese institutions, called the C9) have caught up with Western counterparts. Data are used from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), years 2003 to 2014. The findings showcase how the C9 institutions have risen higher in the ARWU than their peer institutions included in a heavily subsidised elite-making higher education policy in 1999, called project 985. Furthermore, the results of the study show that the C9 have caught up with Western counterparts (ie UK Russell Group, Australia Group of 8, Canada U15 and the US Ivy League) in the ARWU league table and just recently has moved ahead of the Canada U15.

Studying Abroad as a Sorting Criterion in the Recruitment Process: A Field Experiment Among German Employers

By: Knut Petzold

Topic: Employability

There is an assumption that employers prefer applicants with study abroad experience which translates into transnational human capital. This study explores the supposition by conducting a correspondence test wherein a real female student’s professional and study abroad experience was used to apply to real internship positions. Data collection consisted of sending 231 written applications for internship opportunities to German employers and tracking the employer’s response time and interview invitations. The German employers were sorted by those with an international orientation (foreign branches) or no foreign branch. The findings show that study abroad experience may serve as a sorting criterion in the recruitment process, specifically by employers with an international orientation.

Financing Study Abroad: An Exploration of the Influence of Financial Factors on Student Study Abroad Patterns

By: Melissa Whatley

Topic: Study abroad financial access

In the US, studying abroad can be an expensive endeavour. This study explores how financial aid variables (student loans and grants) influence the likelihood that a student will study abroad. Using a unique dataset collected 2001 to 2008 by the University System of Georgia, the data include a total of 37,012 students, approximately half of the students with study abroad experience and the other half a randomly selected non-study abroad comparison group. The students in the dataset were followed from entry to graduation, transfer or dropout. Quantitative regression models show that student loans negatively influence the likelihood of study abroad, whereas grant aid (both needs-based and non-needs based) positively influence the likelihood of study abroad. The results support the social reproduction theory by Bourdieu, in that students with higher levels of social, cultural and economic capital have more access to study abroad experiences.

The Stories They Tell: Understanding International Student Mobility Through Higher Education Policy

By: Doria Abdullah, Mohd Ismail Abd Aziz, Abdul Latiff Mohd Ibrahim

Topic: Policy analysis

The language in policy documents tell unique stories about international student mobility. This study uses discourse analysis to analyse policy documents focused on the national codes of practice from four different countries: Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia. These codes of practice were derived from international recruiters. Findings included:

  • Different types of international students (eg undergraduates, short-term, non-EU, etc) were described in the documents indicating different higher education offerings
  • Higher education institutions provide a wide-range of support for international students (ie pre-arrival, arrival, throughout and after-mobility)
  • Governments provide different rationales and legitimation for the recruitment of international students
  • There were several signs that higher education is becoming more service-focused, market-driven and reputation-driven

The authors suggest that an “ethics of care” approach to hosting international students is needed to balance the market-driven pressure and ensure that both the students and the institution reap the benefits of international higher education.

English-Medium Instruction and Intercultural Sensitivity: A Korean Case Study

By: Jeongyeon Kim, Jinsook Choi, Bradley Tatar

Topic: English-medium instruction

Does English-medium instruction (EMI) in a non-English context lead to more intercultural sensitivity between local and international students? This study investigates local students’ reactions and perceptions of an EMI policy in a Korean university established in 2009 with an international vision. When the institution was created, an EMI policy was designed for specific courses in English (including all teaching, texts and exams). Of the Korean students taking EMI courses, 213 of them completed questionnaires focused on their intercultural sensitivity and perceptions of the EMI policy. This was followed by interviews with 15 of these students. Findings show that a lack of intercultural sensitivity correlated with their perception of EMI policy. The authors suggest that institutions with EMI policies need to foster intercultural sensitivity by promoting interaction and intercultural encounters between local and international students.

The Teaching Excellence Framework in the United Kingdom: An Opportunity to Include International Students as “Equals”?

By: Aneta Hayes

Topic: Higher education policy impacting international students

This study analyses how a recent policy change, the teaching excellence framework (TEF), constructs the international student. The author argues that international students have historically been marginalised in higher education policy. By analysing policies of the past and the recent TEF, the author then makes recommendations of how metrics in the TEF could construct the international student in a positive light leading to more equal status.

Leasa Weimer is Knowledge Adviser for the EAIE.

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