Tag: guest bloggers

Guest blogger: Is Internationalisation of Higher Education a ‘Fuzzy Concept’?

Sintayehu Kassaye Alemu (University of Ljubljana)

Sintayehu Kassaye Alemu
(University of Ljubljana)

This guest entry is written by Sintayehu K Alemu. He is a graduate of the Hedda master programme and is currently working on his PhD at the Center for Educational Policy Studies (CEPS) at University of Ljubljana as a part of the UNIKE project. Earlier, he has studied history at Addis Abbaba University, and obtained a MA degree in general education at Umea University in Sweden. His PhD project is titled: ‘’A Comparative Analysis of Practices and Impacts of Internationalization of Higher Education on the Academic life in the Centers and Peripheries’. 

Markusen has defined ‘fuzzy concept’ as ”one which posits an entity, phenomenon or process which possesses two or more alternative meanings and thus cannot be reliably identified or applied by different readers or scholars” (Markusen, 2003, p.702).

“We use the term more and more and seem to pay less and less attention to what it means. While the need for global and international studies is generally accepted, there is no agreement as to what it means or how this can be implemented” (Schoorman, 2000, p.3).  Internationalisation of higher education is understood differently by different people. It sounds a fuzzy concept  probably because the concept is built upon the experiences and activities of the global North. Its fuzzines also emanates from the unidirectional articulation of its  perspective. Internationalisation of higher education seems to be fuzzy because the ”commonly accepted” definition and conceptualization have done little to address the specific approaches emerging from different  contexts. Due to these facts, there is little agreement about what internationalisation means and what strategies are most effective for its implementation in different regions and countries (Cross et al., 2011). In spite of these assumptions,  internationalisation of higher education is increasingly growing in importance in terms of programs, research, mobility of faculty and students, and institutions’ environment.  Inter alia, perspectives and definitions of internationalisation are focused  under the following questions: Is internationalisation of higher education an outward or inward looking or both? which perspective does the most common definition reflect?

Importance and Expansion of Internationalisation

Since the 1990s, globalisation, the neoliberal ideology, and the emergence of knowledge economy and society have expanded and diversified activities, rationales and actors, and shaped policies and strategies of internationalisation. From more or less traditional forms such as student and academic staff mobility, internationalisation policies and practices nowadays have moved to ”at home” and abroad activities: such as exporting higher education via branch campuses and institutional cooperation, developing transnational university networks and virtual delivery of higher education, and the harmonization of higher education systems. Because of the diversified rationales, activities, actors and approaches, internationalisation of higher education has become an overextended and complex concept, whose perspective and definition are not well enunciated.

Hedda blog 2012 – did you catch all the highlights? (2/2)

In this post, we have listed thematically the guest entries of 2012, in addition to the thematic weeks and Hedda podcasts of 2012.

Guest bloggers and commentary

We had entries from a number of different countries, covering a multitude of topics and contexts. From staffing issues world wide, to issues related to research policy, MOOCs and student financing. Here is a short overview of the guest entries in 2012.

Regarding issues related to staff and students, one of the most popular posts of the year was by Ivan F. Pacheco from CIHE at Boston College, who wrote about academic compensation world wide – with focus on current trends and cross-country comparisons. Dr. Rebecca Turner and professor David Gosling examined the initiatives to reward excellent teaching and the journey from policy to practice.

Perhaps the biggest buzz word of 2012 is MOOCs. We examined the developments early on: Shane Colvin from Hedda examined the Udacity initiative and compared it to existing online learning initiatives, and we further examined the MOOC craze, looking at the various providers.

We also featured some posts that deal with issues of policyDr. Hilde Afdal examined the developments in teacher education policy in Norway and Finland – trying to identify some of the reasons behind the Finnish success story in education. Regarding policies that have not been successful, dr. Joanne Pyke explored why women continue to be a minority in senior academic roles in Australian universities despite more than 25 years of equal opportunity policies and legislation. A story of resistance towards changes was also provided by Hedda graduate Nigusse Weldemariam who examined difficulties with introducing new management routines in Mekelle University in Ethiopia.

Guest blogger: Research collaboration and research policy – Disciplinary differences are important

Professor Jenny M. Lewis (University of Melbourne)

This guest entry is by professor Jenny M. Lewis, who is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia. In 2010-12 she was Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy at Roskilde University, Denmark. She held a grant from the Australian Research Council from 2008- 2010, to examine academic collaboration and research performance. The following is based on this study, and a book: “Academic Governance: Disciplines and Policy”, will be published by Routledge in 2013. Find out more about her work here.

Attempts to increase research collaboration can be seen in the type of grants available in many national funding systems, around the world. However, if these are aimed at one particular model of collaboration, the effects may be deleterious rather than beneficial, both to the academics conducting research, and to the nations that hope to benefit from the fruits of these collaborations. Research policy and funding should bear these differences in mind when seeking to stimulate collaborative research, so as to gain better outcomes across a range of disciplines. The following summarizes some findings published in a recent article in Higher Education (Lewis et al 2012).

There are profound differences in how academics in different disciplines do research, and it could be expected that this is also true of how they collaborate. Collaborative working in (biological and physical) science has been extensively studied, but the literature examining collaboration in the humanities (particularly), and also in the social sciences, is much smaller. So how do academics (other than biological and physical scientists) collaborate? And are there substantial differences between disciplines in the how and why of collaboration?

Improving research policy requires a more thorough understanding of the variety of collaboration types across disciplines. It seems that

Guest blogger: Academic Compensation Around the World – It is not Just About the Salary

This guest entry is written by Ivan F. Pacheco who is the co-editor of the book “Paying the Professoriate” and currently works at the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College. 

“Paying the Professoriate: A Global Comparison of Compensations and Contracts,” presents the main findings of a comparative study conducted by the Laboratory for Institutional Analysis (LIA) at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow, and Boston College’s Center for International Higher Education, in the United States will be published soon by Routledge. The study included 28 countries from all continents and different economic, political, and academic contexts and provides valuable information about the remuneration for the academic work and other important topics shaping the academic profession.

One of the main results of this study is the comparison of salaries for full time professor from public universities using PPP dollars—a conversion rate index that allows comparisons across countries based on the cost of living.  In this comparison Canada offers the best entry-level, overall average, and top-level salaries; China the lowest entry-level salary; and Armenia the lowest overall average and top-level salaries. Norway has very competitive entry-level salaries but the top-level salaries do not rank as well (see the table).

There are significant disparities across countries. The average top-level salary in Armenia is $665 and $910 in Russia;, the average entry-level salary in Ethiopia is $864, and the average top-level salary is $1,580.  The average entry-level salary in Canada (5,733) or about 22 times the average entry-level salary in China (259), more than 14 times the average in Armenian (405), and more than thirteen times the average in Russian (433) (All values in PPP US Dollars).

Hedda 2011 – did you catch all the Hedda highlights?

So, yet another year has passed and a new one approaching in lightning speed. This is perhaps the right time to reflect on some of the highlights of 2011! Since it seems we have had a busy year, this review will be posted in two posts to be able to really give a round-up on all what has happened on the Hedda blog.

In 2011, Hedda became 10 years old, we passed 500 posts on the blog already early 2011 and are now approaching 600, and we have by now almost 250 followers on Facebook! We said farewell to yet another successful year of Hedda Master programme graduates and said hello to our new students in 2011. From 2011, Hedda master programme also has a new partnership with the Eduardo Mondlane University (EMU), Mozambique.

In this post, we look back at Hedda10 anniversary activities, have an overview of the Hedda podcasts from 2011, summarise our thematic weeks, remind of the spotlights and chronicles of our alumni, students and staff, and highlight the guest bloggers we have had the privilege to work with.

Hedda anniversary celebration

We celebrated Hedda 10th anniversary in November with a one-day conference about university mergers. We had a fantastic list of international speakers, covering the whole range from Australia to Canada, and from China to Germany. We had the privilege to broadcast the whole conference live to all of you who were not able to attend in person. And, we have published all the sound files and the presentations on the Hedda website so if you missed out on some of the presentations – check them out!