What dimensions of internationalisation in higher education are notably under-researched and is there a new generation of researchers and analysts ready to provide fresh and innovative perspectives on this evolving phenomenon?
The Future Agenda for Internationalization in Higher Education: Next generation insights into research, policy, and practice, our just-released publication in the Routledge Internationalization in Higher Education Series – edited by Emerita Professor Elspeth Jones – aims to explore precisely these questions.
We believe that this is a timely moment for this kind of reflection. Organisations like NAFSA: Association of International Educators in the United States and the European Association for International Education are celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2018 and 2019 – 70 years and 30 years, respectively.
Much has been achieved, particularly in the last two decades, when it comes to expanding our understanding of internationalisation in practice, as well as its conceptual dimensions. But much more lies ahead for internationalisation globally, as new dynamics come into play in higher education systems and in institutions young and old, far and wide, and as an emerging generation of higher education scholars and analysts begins to find its voice.
From our perspective, the best way to understand the future of internationalisation in higher education is to shine a spotlight on the perspectives of a ‘next generation’ of internationalisation specialists from around the world and prompt them to propose what they consider to be the crucial new contexts shaping the internationalisation of higher education, new modes for exploring and understanding distinct aspects of the phenomenon and new topics relevant to its development and implementation.
Why a ‘next generation’ and why now?
Why is an exploration of emerging perspectives on the internationalisation of higher education important at this time?
First and foremost, a ‘human resources’ observation. There is a new group of internationalisation specialists emerging from behind the relatively small contingent of cutting-edge scholars and analysts who established the contemporary study of internationalisation, particularly from the mid-1980s and early 1990s onward.
That small vanguard of researchers and policy-makers laid the early – and crucially important – foundation for the field and has had a profound influence on internationalisation research and analysis in the last several decades. For example, the definitions proposed and reworked by individuals like Jane Knight and Hans de Wit (among others) have had a significant impact on the field and have subsequently served to shape and guide the internationalisation strategies adopted by institutions and governments around the world.
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