In this presentation we engage with the issues on international higher education imperatives in response to recent educational reforms and their implications for scholarship in the region of northern Europe. These issues bring forth components of an ongoing large comparative research project on ethical internationalization involving 20 universities across the globe (EIHE, 2015) funded by the Academy of Finland.
Central to the theme are perspectives on how internationalization has been shaped. Historical accounts of the internationalisation of HE have been framed by organizational and system level perspectives (King, Marginson, & Naidoo, 2013) and are closely linked to economical-political-policy demands. In the past, focus was placed on academic and organizational climates and cultures, viewing education primarily from an administrative perspective, linked to economy, politics and policy. Thus, the social role of universities was scrutinized merely in relation to its external global environment, that is, in terms of its impact on ‘market competition’. Transnational corporations have over time exerted significant control that rise above national borders (King, Marginson & Naidoo, 2013) forcing universities to operate within the knowledge-based economy. Marginson (2009) has discussed these escalating developments in terms of status competition driven by neo-liberal political developments causing a reduction in state funding and demanding public universities to become increasingly self-supporting, financially.
The rapidly escalating international education market has imposed unprecedented pedagogical demands on university teachers' academic professionalism and identity (Hellstén & Reid, 2008; Ryan, 2013; Trahar, 2011). Concurrently, there has been anxiety about lowering academic standards caused by a perceived fragmentation in the field (Ninnes & Hellstén, 2005) which may derive from an epistemic discord about internationalized curriculum policy, employability and conceptualizations about ethics (Andreotti, 2013).
In this presentation we focus on current imperatives steering international policy and practice and related global, cultural and social imaginaries, by providing a sampling of commentary from teaching spaces in international education contexts. The presentation shows examples of interim EIHE project data collected from the northern EU region. In the presentation we involve the audience in discussing implications for future progression on the issues that might be central to a forming of (ethical) international communities of (educational) practice.