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BOOK REVIEW / CRITIQUE DE LIVRE


Bernhard Streitwieser (Ed.). Internationalisation of Higher Education and Global Mobility. Oxford, UK: Symposium. (2014). 320 pp. $56 (paperback). (ISBN 978-1-873927-42-7)


In recent decades, global reform policies have become imbricated with unprecedented educational growth and change (Mundy, Green, Lindgard, & Verger, 2016), with universities and governments hastening to implement a variety of internationalisation policies and programs. This title is part of the Oxford Studies in Comparative Education Series, edited by David Phillips, and provides useful insights into the role of internationalisation within higher education.

Seventeen chapters from several leading authors in the field are divided across three sections. In the first section, “Global Issues in Internationalisation and Mobility,” the authors present a range of perspectives on the challenges and opportunities inherent in the field, with some historical grounding but a distinctively contemporary and future-oriented tenor. Critical comparative approaches to the analysis of student mobility are considered, as are research partnerships and social inclusiveness. Jane Knight’s robust chapter on three generations of crossborder higher education serves as an excellent introduction for novices to the field.

Similarly, Rahul Choudaha and Hans de Wit provide a useful segment for new scholars seeking a conceptually accessible grasp of the types of mobile students. An unfortunate typo on the second line of page 28 fails to distinguish global from glocal, but a quick link to the reference provided and a swift email response from the lead author reassured me that glocal students are indeed those who seek social prestige through transnational offerings in the home country. The importance of good editing in accurately conveying meaning cannot be overstated: neither can the benefit of prompt clarification from an author.

For this reader, and perhaps others who enjoy a storied approach to research, Thomas Nørgaard’s narratively introduced and rationally argued essay about the ideals and realities of the Erasmus Programme was a highlight. This chapter brings the voice and personality of the instrumental Italian educator, “Mama Erasmus,” Sofia Corradi, into the conversation. Nørgaard argues for a reconsideration of Erasmus as the philosophical essence of the programme, since it is the deep and culturally pluralistic knowledge gained from interaction and experience, or the “ground ignored by Erasmus” that is at the heart of Corradi’s vision. Nørgaard’s cautions are timely in their resonance — he warns of the immense political significance of a superficially united rootless cosmopolitan elite separated from the masses, divided by class and culture. Similarly, Welch’s chapter on the history of scholarly mobility in Islamic tradition offers a fascinating historical glance for the reader new to this topic and is well worth the read, especially in light of current tensions and global veins of Islamophobia.

Clearly organized and highly readable, this collection provides a solid introduction for graduate students at the early stages of understanding. It also offers an overview of challenges and opportunities across a range of programs and contexts within the area of international higher education. This area is one of six distinct sub-fields of international education: (a) comparative and international education, (b) internationalisation of higher education, (c) international research on teaching and teacher education, (d) internationalisation of K-12 education, (e) globalization and education, and (f) international schools (Dolby & Rahman, 2008). This book should be considered as an informative companion reading for scholars interested in the global trends of educational mobility that are occurring across the six sub-fields and in step with developments at the level of higher education. For example, the trends taking place within higher education are inextricably linked to the rise of international schools around the globe, and there are interesting theoretical and practical overlaps. Researchers interested in questions of what it means to be a global citizen in the other sub-fields will hear similar echoes of inquiry in Deardorff’s piece. Latent with calls for further exploration and research, Deardoff’s chapter notes that the prevalent discourse of outcomes is insufficiently underpinned: what does it mean to state that “intercultural competence” or “global citizenship” are outcomes of a program? What do these terms mean, specifically, and how can their acquisition be accurately assessed? These are questions that can be found in other approaches within the overarching field of international educational research.

University instructors may consider this book a useful primary or supplementary text when preparing course outlines. The material captures a range of global issues, with a focus on regional studies from Europe, the Middle East, The United States, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and then proffers a professional turn. A potential drawback for readers of this journal — Canada is conspicuously absent from the regional chapters, perhaps because it (along with the US) comprises only 21% of all international students, compared to Europe’s 41% (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2012). As a course text the collection also offers a wide range of methodologies. While some of the chapters are more theoretically grounded than others, there is, across the board, a fairly representative selection of case study, philosophical, quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method inquiries and analyses. University-based study abroad professionals and researchers will find the text useful for programmatic or scholarly considerations, particularly the last section on “Education Abroad: Students and Practitioners.” Here the perspectives of study abroad professionals, key factors of participation in study abroad, conceptions of citizenship identity and the impact of incoming students on home students are considered.

Just as I finished reading this collection, the results of the Brexit vote were announced. Contextualized against the political backdrop of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, and the rise of right-wing politicians such as Republican Donald Trump calling for decreased mobility, including a wall between Mexico and the United States, this collection highlights how essential it is to critically consider the nature of global higher education and mobility. In light of current political events, do privatization and standardization movements serve as a cautionary tale? It is a question education scholars need to ask as new patterns of mobility and social stratification emerge and the lines of global alliances are redrawn.

Marcea Ingersoll St. Thomas University

REFERENCES

Dolby, N., & Rahman, A. (2008). Research in international education. Review of Educational Research, 78(3), 676-725.

Mundy, K., Green, A., Lingard, B., & Verger, A. (Eds.). (2016). Handbook of global education policy. Chicago, IL: John Wiley & Sons.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (2012). Education at a Glance 2012. Paris, France: OECD.