In the Summer issue of EAIE’s Forum magazine, there is a noteworthy article by Daniela Crăcium looking at the correlation between a) share of international students, b) whether a country has a HE-internationalisation strategy, and c) its overall level of development. She is calling for more analysis of what happens in internationalisation from national perspective and I would heartily support that. I would suggest it needs to be taken one step further.
Research on internationalisation of Higher Education needs to move from an endless collection of singular case studies with a qualitative method based on convenience sampling ( = collecting stories of people you know).
There are data to be collected on forms on HE internationalisation (whether you see them as “good” internationalisation or not so much), like number of foreign students, joint degrees or number of international co-publications.
There are data to be collected on issues that may be hypothesised to impact HE internationalisation, like national policy or overall economic development or policy/resources at university level.
These can be analysed for correlations – that needs statistical skills that I will never possess, but they are out there.
Let’s have a go at a) forms of internationalisation and (further down) at b) hypothesised impacting factors:
- Number, proportion and growth of incoming exchange/credit students
- Number, proportion and growth of outgoing exchange/credit students
- Number, proportion and growth of incoming degree students
- Number, proportion and growth of joint/double degrees (the proportion will stay minute for the foreseeable future in most settings)
- Number, proportion and growth of alumni with international careers (inside academia or out)
- Number, proportion and growth of international scholarly co-publications – and we can throw in international joint patents for good measure
- Number, proportion and growth of international PhD candidates – and academic staff at junior, mid-level and professorial level
- Proportion and growth of international research funding
Hypothesised impacting factors
Now for the hypothesised impacting factors – a modest first try, there are probably many more:
- Supra-institutional (provincial, national, supranational) HE internationalisation strategies, policies, programmes, resources
- Overall level of economic and educational development (thank you Daniela)
- National quality of education, in terms of proportions of the adult population with secondary, bachelor’s and graduate qualifications
- National quality of education, in terms of HE graduate employment, time to first (self) employment, life time earning advantage, life time satisfaction
- Institutional HE internationalisation strategies, policies, programmes, resources
- Professional development on International Education as a separate branch of university administration
Much of these data are out there; the OECD uses them for the Education at a Glance. It is waiting for good quantitative analysts!