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Conceptions of Internationalisation and their Implications for Academic Engagement and Institutional Action: A Preliminary Case Study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Yvonne Turner, Emerita Professor Sue Robson


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This paper sets out the context of internationalization within higher education, as it is counter-pointed against broader issues within the globalization of knowledge and education. It explores the way in which some of the key conceptual themes and tensions play out in a practice-based setting through the introduction of an institutional case study documenting the outcomes of a project taking place at the University of Newcastle. The case highlights some of the contradictory effects of the organizational processes characterizing internationalization and explores the resonances between the lived experiences of academics within a rapidly internationalizing institutional setting and other forces shaping their academic lives and identity. The key conclusion of the case study is that participants experienced internationalization as a powerful but negative factor in their working lives, allied to conceptions of globalization in which they saw themselves as victims of externally-generated forces bringing increased teaching workloads, resource pressures and a shift away from their preferred academic identities. A major theme within the case study is that people’s experience reflects the conceptual ambiguity within much of the literature in its assessment of globalization as simultaneously a manageable and an irresistible force. Underlying themes of resistance to and cynicism about engagement also emerge in the case data as counter-reactions to the sense of helplessness and confusion that compliance with an aggressive institutional globalization agenda implies. The paper ends with an assessment of the managerial and institutional opportunities that exist to support the processes of internationalization and to meet the needs of people in university communities as they engage with increasing diversity in the classroom and outside

Publication metadata

Author(s): Turner Y, Robson S

Editor(s): Coverdale-Jones, T., Rastall, P.

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Internationalizing the University: the Chinese context

Year: 2009

Pages: 13-32

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Place Published: Basingstoke

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780230203518