W-11 Surveys and the Internationalization of Higher Education

The readings for this week discussed the results of surveys that dealt with the Internationalization of Higher Education. Both surveys show the gains that HEIs have been making with regards to incorporating internationalization. After reading both articles, it is clear that their have been changes in how HEIs handle internationalization. Both surveys indicate that internationalization is becoming more of a priority of administrations. Many HEIs have policies or strategies  that include an element of internationalization. It is important for HEIs to understand the need to participate in assessments like the the ACE and IAU surveys.  This is the 4th edition of the IAU survey an the number of respondents of had doubled, they contacted 6,879 institution and 1,336 responded even though this in an improvement from 4 years ago, HEIs have to know that participating in this surveys can be used as tool of assessment for their institutions. I would suggest that in the future for both surveys, the results are given in comparison form. Meaning that each school will know where they rank compared to the other respondents. In the Sage Handbook of Internationalization of Higher Education, their is an entire chapter dedicated to the explaining the importance of outcome assessments in the internationalization of higher education.

In the ACE survey, the results show that the level of commitment to internationalization varies across they different types of institutions; doctoral institutions have many of the indicators included in the survey, while associate institutions are at the bottom of the list. If we refer to the readings from two weeks ago, Middlesex Community College had the most comprehensive plan for internationalization compared to Baruch College and Ohio University. Middlesex is a community college and they understand the need to include a global aspect across the campus. All HEIs looking to incorporate internationalization can look to Middlesex for guidance. The surveys also can be used for guidance, they point out the areas connected to internationalization. This information would be useful for HEIs.

Some areas of interest for me from both surveys include:

  1. Student mobility is once again proven to be the number one way institutions, look can be internationalized.
  2. North America has the highest number of respondents who have confirmed having specific learning outcomes; based on important internationalization seems for European HEIs and governments, I thought they would be number one in this category. Having specific learning outcomes help with the assessment of specific programs.
  3. Internationalization at home continues to be challenge for HEIs in America and abroad. How institutions implement internationalization at home varies across regions; The requirement to learn a foreign language has always been used as a tool to bring internationalization to the masses; however their has been a decline in American institutions requiring students to learn a 2nd language but it seems in other regions foreign language is still seen as the “best” way to incorporate internationalization to the curriculum.


W11- How to Present Survey Findings

The IAU 4th Global Survey so far has been my favorite reading of the semester. Its simplicity, organization, and approach is refreshing, especially when compared to some of the other long-winded, dense, or overly qualitative pieces we have read.

The first beneficial (and to me, necessary) method it follows is explaining how the survey was conducted and where its information comes from. Many of the other readings do not cite their content thoroughly, including the other one for this week. The ACE survey mentions percentages of its respondents, but it doesn’t clearly state who participated and how many (the information is at the bottom of the document). On the other hand, the IAU survey immediately states who participated, how many participated, and from where did they participate. Already, this document is more credible and easy to understand than most.

You might be reading this and thinking to yourself, ‘wait a second, is he really dedicating an entire blog to the format of the readings?’ I sure am. I think many people, even the most discerning among us, fall prey to the habit of believing whatever we read. As students, as educators, as critical thinkers, we cannot allow ourselves to become lazy. The reason I am commenting on this all is because earlier in the semester, the professor put up survey findings on the projector and I immediately became skeptical of their credibility. Perhaps you remember the information regarding the SIOs- who generally becomes one and what are their general qualities. While it seemed as if the information was legitimate, I remember seeing that a very small number of institutions took part in the survey- maybe around fifty. Sure, that may be several dozen colleges, but when there are thousands of schools in this country, I do not think those results accurately represented the whole.

The IAU survey wasn’t trying to sugarcoat anything or pull the wool over our eyes- it even expressed when numbers went down from the previous survey, such as the percentage of institutions with a dedicated budget for internationalization (p. 8). I think this is an important document for all of us in the class because it gives a more realistic look into the current status of internationalization in this country and the rest of the world. Despite my constant predilection for playing devil’s advocate, I truly do support internationalization and think it is a necessary component to HEIs overall strategy; however, I want to know the truth about it. What are its problems, what obstacles does it face, what are the major controversies. While this survey does not go excessively deep into any of those issues, it does provide a superficial, yet straightforward overlook on internationalization around the world.