Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

William Young

Keywords

chief academic officers, colleges, global competiveness, globalization, internationalization, study abroad

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to identify international university administrators' perspectives on organizational strategies to support higher education internationalization. Internationalization is the conscious effort to integrate international, intercultural, and global dimensions into the ethos and outcomes of higher education (NAFSA, 2008). A descriptive survey design method was used and the instrument entitled "Strategic Internationalization Priority Scale" was developed for this research. This study is quantitative and cross-sectional. The online survey was sent to 1,043 top university administrators at 149 universities in 50 countries. These universities had active international agreements with the University of South Florida at the time of the study.

Approximately 350 university presidents, vice-presidents, and deans, from 33 countries, and 65 universities, participated in the study. ANOVA, MANOVA, and Multiple Regression analyses were used to examine data in the three dimensions of internationalization: 1) Planning and operations, 2) Student Education, and 3) Teaching and Faculty Development. The statistical programs used for data analysis were SAS 9.2, SPSS 18.0 and Mplus 5.

In general, the study participants perceived the three dimensions as having a medium priority level. Planning and operation strategies, and student education strategies, were rated higher than those for teaching and faculty development. Four of the 34 strategies were perceived as having a high priority level: 1) Motivating students to participate in study abroad programs, 2) Establishing institutional collaboration with foreign universities, 3) Communicating an institutional global vision, and 4) Increasing visibility of international focus on institution's web site. In contrast, the following strategies were perceived as having a low priority level: 1) Creating a branch campus abroad, and 2) Considering foreign language fluency in salary and promotion decisions.

The research findings revealed that there were differences in perceptions based on the following demographic characteristics: 1) Institutional description, 2) Institution's world region, 3) Institutional status, 4) Number of international undergraduate students, 5) Administrators' position, 6) Administrators' English proficiency, and 7) Administrators' International experience. Furthermore, the participants identified the following top difficulties in achieving internationalization at their institutions: 1) Lack of economic resources, 2) Lack of faculty involvement, 3) Lack of planning and coordination, and 4) Lack of governmental support. The implications of these results are presented as they relate to the research and practice of higher education administration, educational leadership and policy development.