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Internationalisation in HE

Internationalisation in Higher Education

Changing practices and policies; providing new tools and resources

More people than ever before are studying abroad. There are more than 4 million international students worldwide, over five times more than in the mid-1970s. Yet, universities have very different strategies to promote cultural exchange. Professor Helen Spencer-Oatey and Dr Daniel Dauber set out to research internationalisation. Their work has helped universities monitor their efforts to create 'global graduates'.

The challenge

The UK Government has put in place an International Education Strategy. Universities now need to make sure their graduates are ready for a globalised world. But the tools needed to track universities' progress towards these goals were unavailable or limited. Professor Spencer-Oatey and Dr Dauber had to identify the skills graduates would need and how they could be fostered. This was all the more important due to the fast changing labour market. These then would need to be measured in a way that produced consistent and comparable data.

Our approach

Professor Spencer-Oatey and Dr Dauber identified five key areas which show how well universities are fostering ‘global graduates’, including:

  • Social integration

  • Academic integration

  • Communication skills

  • Foreign language acquisition

  • Global opportunities and support

The team also developed a system of measuring student engagement with these concepts, the Global Education Profile (GEP) survey. Individuals answered ten questions about each area, rating them on both ‘importance to me’ and ‘my actual experience’.

Our impact

Universities worldwide have benefited from Professor Spencer-Oatey and Dr Dauber’s work. In use by 22 universities across Europe, New Zealand and Uruguay, the GEP has allowed them to track ongoing internationalisation. Data from the survey has improved experiences of intercultural training and students have reported an increase in their empathy, teamwork and communication skills. The GEP itself received a nomination at the Professionals in International Education awards in 2019, and the Coimbra Group of elite universities selected it for their internationalisation benchmarking project, with policy findings reported to the European Commission.

The commercial company i-graduate, part of the Tribal Group, has licenced the GEP so that it can support universities around the world in tracking progress in helping their graduates become global citizens.

Find out more about the GlobalPeople project

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