Monday, 1 April 2013

Welcome to the 'Ethical Internationalism in Higher Education (in Times of Crises)' (EIHE)  research project website/blog. 

This site was designed to be a repository of non-confidential documents related to the EIHE project and to serve as a hub of communication among project partners, advisors and potential collaborators.

In times of uncertainty and scarcity of resources, it is extremely important to protect the social role of the university as a critic and conscience of society, and defend it as a space of exposure to the world where independent, multi-voiced, critically informed and socially accountable debates about alternative futures take place.

EIHE is an inter-disciplinary international mixed-methods research project, which has received funding from the Academy of Finland from 2012 to 2015. It examines internationalization processes in higher education and how these processes construct notions of epistemic difference, transnational literacy and global citizenship. Official policies and initiatives, as well as the perceptions of faculty, students, and managers engaged with internationalization processes will be reviewed and compared. The data includes both policy documents and qualitative and quantitative data collected through surveys, interviews and ethnographies in 20 university sites. Research partners in these institutions have agreed to address the same questions using the same methods of data collection to create a common dataset that can be used in comparison. Shared questions at the heart of the study include: How is the role of the university, faculty and graduates perceived in terms of social accountability ideals? How is epistemic difference perceived in internationalization policies and initiatives at participating universities? What kinds of educational policies and processes have the potential to resist and disrupt dominant patterns of knowledge production that restrict possibilities for ethical relationalities and solidarities in local and global academic spaces?

This research collective is interested in testing relationships between, on the one hand, ideas of the role of the university in relation to individual and collective imaginaries (geographical, cultural and economic), and, on the other hand, ideas of global citizenship, interdependence, global change and social accountability. This project addresses concerns that current financial crises are driving new functionalist and market-driven policies in higher education that reduce the scope of epistemic possibilities and severely compromise the public role of the university as a critic and conscience of society and a generator of innovative ideas upon which alternative futures depend. Under this regime, exploitative and profit-seeking modes of unethical internationalization are intensified, while resources and commitment towards sites for potentially ethical alternatives are curtailed. This project asserts a commitment to reclaiming the university as a civic space of exposure to the world and independent, critical debate concerned with questions about ethical and sustainable collective futures. This affirmation entails two institutional responsibilities: an imperative to address the complexities of global interdependence, including pressing questions of inequality and representation; and an imperative to pluralize knowledge in order to pluralize possibilities for the future.

Data collection for policy analysis is underway and tools for data collection involving students and staff are currently being designed collaboratively.  It is expected that research instruments will be refined and made available online so that other universities can join the process in subsequent phases. The aim of this project is to create a process and a database that will: provide instruments and data for several international comparative analyses, enhance opportunities for research training and sustain collaborations and the production of collaborative publications over several years.

Geographical scope of phase 1: