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How important is the local when thinking global? Internationalisation at a research led university. Ian Willis Research Seminar 28 October 2009. ‘Local’ - key emergent theme. Journey Local was NOT starting place

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How important is the local when thinking global internationalisation at a research led university

How important is the local when thinking global? Internationalisation at a research led university

Ian Willis

Research Seminar

28 October 2009

Local key emergent theme
‘Local’ - key emergent theme

  • Journey

    • Local was NOT starting place

    • 2nd beginning was on rationales, drivers and restrainers for internationalisation

  • University is NW & research led!

    • Confidential

    • Major changes underway

  • Internationalisation & globalisation: brief

  • Theoretical focus

  • Local considerations

    • emerged as a strong theme in analysis

Inter connected inter acting nested
Inter-connected Inter-actingNested

  • Global

  • International

  • (Europe)

  • National

  • University

  • (Departmental)

  • Individual


All underpinned by ICT

Globalisation what on earth is it
Globalisation – what on earth is it?

Globalisation in terms of:

  • Ethnicity

  • Ideas

  • Media

  • Finance

  • Technology

    Key notions:


    Global events induce local responses

Appadurai 1996


The existence of global economic, political, cultural and environmental interconnections and flows that make many of the existing borders and boundaries irrelevant

Steger 2003



Inter-relations, flows, dynamic

Beyond states

Economic dimension inescapable but much more going on

BUT: states remain very powerful including in education

Globalisation and internationalisation
Globalisation and internationalisation

Related and interconnected but not the same

Internationalisation is one of the responses that HEIs are making through their strategies, policies and activities (UNESCO 2004, Altbach & Knight 2007)

Responses will be local, situated and prescribed by the realities of individual HEIs


The process of integrating an international, intercultural and/or global dimension into the goals, functions (teaching/learning, research, services) and delivery of higher education

(Knight 2005)

This is very commonly cited

  • Note: integration

Question is it a
Question: Is it a......

  • Theoretical framework

  • Conceptual framework

  • Organising framework

  • Plain old framework

Organising the level complexity
Organising the level & complexity

  • Lewin’s Force field analysis

    • Driving and restraining forces for change

  • Social Practice Theory: Trowler

    • ‘Situates’ change

  • Transformative globalisation

    • Emphasises local responses to global flows/forces

Forces potentially acting to restrain internationalisation


Rejection of globalisation discourse, credit crunch


Conflicting university agendas and priorities

Existing positions and interests


Locally based research, commitment to local concerns

Questioning of globalisation discourse & marketisation

Views on ‘purpose’ of university

Existing positions and interests

Forces: potential to drive internationalisation


Neo-liberal economics, trade agreements

New markets, competition, demand

Global research, Global challenges

ICT, English worldwide, staff & student mobility

National policies

Economic view of internationalisation

Relative reduction in funding


More Forces: potential to drive


Economic pressure, competition

‘Global University’, Reputation (research led)

International league tables

Existing traditions & international collaborations

Educational drive for international dimension


International research interests

Acceptance of market discourse

Existing positions and interests

Glonacal agency heuristic
‘Glonacal-agency’ heuristic

  • Global - National – Local

    • All important

  • Agency: looking at how individuals act/influence at all levels

  • ‘Layers and conditions’

    • Changes mediated by local histories and aims Marginson & Rhoades

Structure agency

  • Argued that each level creates a structure within which level below acts agentially

  • Global forces create context that calls for a university response

    • Often meaning internationalisation

  • University’s internationalisation creates context: individual response

    These responses can in turn influence ‘up’

Structure agency1

  • Provides an explanation of how individual interests (projects) are the locus of concern/action

  • Shows agential action can shape structures

    • Over time

  • Theoretical argument

    • Why to engage with individual interests

    • Supported in the findings

University individual
University / Individual

  • University linking internationalisation aims to individual ‘projects’ can be a key to successful development

  • Doing it just for the money won’t work

  • Need for a nuanced message

  • Monash require any internationalisation activity to explicitly serve an academic function

Back to the framework
Back to the Framework

What is it.........?

Theoretical, Conceptual

Organising or Plain old?

Ask the audience!

  • Does it work OK?

  • Questions/comments

  • Thank you

How new is it
How new is it ?

Debated – here’s one view

Four major cycles:

  • 1492 - Spain and Portugal colonise S America etc. World (oceanic) trade established

  • Late 17th Cent – 2nd European colonisation, slave trade, trade gives over to conquest

  • Late 19th Cent – huge increase in trade, mass migration to Americas. Last colonies fought for. Ends with 1930s depression

  • Post WW2 – trade liberalisation, intensifies 1967 – 1980s

  • Initial gains unequally distributed, but eventually trickle down (?)

  • Greater gains overall to those that globalised. Often caused great suffering

  • ‘Elites’ have more in common with elites in other countries than with own people

National messages pressures
National messages & pressures

  • HE as a business is very important to UK economy

    • Income: ~ £17bn, Economic impact: £42.5bn,

    • 1.2% of workforce: 330,000 direct (600,000 total impact)

  • Most UK national messages are economic

  • Knowledge economy is accepted

  • Most governments want mass education and spending contained

    • These are real pressures for HEIs

    • Leads to mix of public/private income

    • 61% public, 27% private, 12% ‘export’

Figures from Universities UK for 2003-4

Globalisation contested different views different assumptions
Globalisation:ContestedDifferent viewsDifferent assumptions


Triumph of global capitalism

Demise of nation state


Just regionalism

Polarisation: developed and developing

Nation state now more important in managing crisis in capitalism

Education is national


Interconnectedness; both integration and fragmentation.

Some enmeshed in global order others marginalised

Relationships cross national boundaries

Nations retain power but transformed by ideas of international governance and law

3 broad approaches - each contains plurality of views

Globalisation summary notes
Globalisation – summary notes

Flows, Intensity, Speed

Homogenisation & localisation

Economics (neo-liberal) as major driver

Knowledge Economy, Competition, GATs

Education: a product and part of globalising process

WW educational (credentialing) system, English, Staff & Student mobility

Global challenges

Global research collaboration

All underpinned by ICT