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Going global with the locals : internationalization activity at the university colleges in British Columbia Evans, Karen

Abstract

This study is about internationalization activity in the British Columbia university colleges. It discusses the environmental context, identifies the types of internationalization activities which occur and discusses the impact of this activity on faculty, staff and administrative work. The investigation employs a nested case study with units of analysis occurring at five levels. The university college sector is the first level; second, its senior officers; third, its deans and directors; fourth, faculty members; and fifth, staff members. Data collection involved individual and focus group interviews, compiling documentary and historical records, participant-observation and on-site visits to each university college. M y intent was to learn about internationalization, to identify the factors influencing its activity and to discover how the activity influences the university college environment. The research provided six key findings on internationalization in the university colleges: (1) the meaning of internationalization is heavily influenced by the external environment; (2) the university college workplace is shaped by growing numbers of international students; ( 3) the university colleges have been very successful in attracting international students to their programs; (4) internationalization work is both under-valued and under-supported at the university colleges; (5) a separation exists between international education and faculty areas and results in a number of misperceptions; (6) the university colleges are faced with leadership challenges. The key findings presented five general conclusions about internationalization in the university colleges: (1) internationalization efforts do not have a legitimate voice nationally, provincially or locally; (2) an institutional discussion and debate regarding the role and purpose of internationalization has not happened at the university colleges; (3) the university colleges run the risk of becoming overly dependent on a 'soft money' source to fund ongoing financial commitments; (4) the university colleges face some ethical challenges as they grapple with the economic imperative of internationalization; (5) the university colleges face an inherent structural challenge that creates tension within and between their internal and external communities. Policy and practice recommendations are made to government, to higher educators and in particular to the university colleges. The limitations of the study and suggestions for further research are provided.

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