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The academic voice in quality and internationalisation of Czech and British higher education

Final Report Summary - ACVOIHE (The academic voice in quality and internationalisation of Czech and British higher education)

The project has brought together academic perceptions of internationalisation in three higher education systems: Czech, English and Australian. Through narratives of senior academics within the three higher education systems, it has highlighted how the academics’ backgrounds and experiences have impacted on their current practices. The whole research has drawn on critical events among 81 senior academics within the three higher education contexts. This project has helped to further refine a critical event narrative inquiry method as a qualitative research method particularly suited to investigating complex, human-centred environments such as higher education.
The project has underlined the complexity of the phenomena of internationalisation and quality and the ways in which they relate to each other. The research has highlighted the significant role of the different socio-economic, cultural, historical and political contexts within the three systems which have played a key part in shaping Czech, Australian and English higher education. This was suggested through different issues highlighted by the academics. The academics also voiced some overarching similarities. They have underlined the need for considering the context when either adopting or proposing particular models in relation to internationalisation. A significant number of interviewees within all the three contexts have expressed concern about the current hegemony of English as the global language of communication. In discussing a range of critical events, a great majority of academics pointed to the complexity of developing international and intercultural competencies in themselves and subsequently developing these in others. This underlined the need for a considerable interest and engagement of academics but also support and engagement across the whole institution, including the leadership for internationalising initiatives to have any chance of succeeding.
The project has led to further research into graduate employability and graduate attributes where internationalisation plays a key part.