UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Educational leaders’ understandings of internationalization : a case study Soodeen, Claudius


Internationalization has become an important focus and activity in higher education and merits an answer to the questions of how it is understood by educational leaders making decisions about its implementation and for what purposes it is being undertaken. This qualitative case study used semi-structured interviews to explore educational leaders’ understandings of internationalization and the impact of those understandings on their decisions about internationalization. Big Prairie College’s longstanding and complex context of international engagement has set the stage for current ways of ‘doing’ and understanding internationalization. Leaders’ life experiences with diversity, difference, and discomfort have also helped to shape their views of internationalization as a comprehensive phenomenon that influences all areas of the College and the world. However, they are also influenced by the pragmatic realities of running and sustaining a college, the mandate to contribute to the local and national economies and workforces and a responsibility to help make the world a better place. In reality, international student recruitment seems to be not only the focus, but also the most visible manifestation of internationalization. Implementing comprehensive internationalization (CI) requires leaders to expand their understanding of internationalization from being an end in itself. It also requires clearer communication of their goals and meaningful engagement of the internal community in decision-making processes. There are also the challenges of faculty development and support, collective accountability for achieving clearly defined goals, acting ethically and allocating sufficient resources across competing initiatives. CI is possible if leaders begin to act on stated values, create a more inclusive decision-making environment, and pursue financial and non-financial goals with equal vigour, perhaps relying on Social Innovation programming to provide an appropriate environment.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International