Internationalisation in the Digital Transformation: Strategies of German higher education institutions (INDISTRA)

Start of the project: 01-Dec-2021 - End of the project: 30-Nov-2024

Digitisation is driving a profound change in structures and processes within higher education institutions and at the same time, opens up scope for action for them. Digitisation not only makes it possible to increase the efficiency and quality of existing processes; central issues such as the organisation of studies, higher education teaching and the administration of student and academic mobility can be fundamentally rethought. These changed requirements and the corresponding structural adjustments also affect the area of internationalisation of higher education institutions. Before the upheavals initiated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the opportunities offered by digitisation for internationalisation in higher education were only used with relative restraint. Largely unexplored at present is how the massive increase in digitisation brought about by the pandemic has influenced and will influence the internationalisation strategies of public German higher education institutions.

The research agenda of this project focuses on the question of how internationalisation is understood and managed by higher education institutions as a digitally supported development opportunity and what goals, opportunities and risks higher education institutions associate with digitisation in this context. The aim of the project is to identify the strategic perspective of higher education institutions and their bodies and organisational units responsible for internationalisation (vice presidencies/prorectorates; international offices, academic international offices, departments.

The project is guided by the following research questions:

  • How does digitisation affect the internationalisation strategies of German higher education institution and their implementation in teaching and studies?
  • What effects does digitisation have on the administrative dimension of the internationalisation strategy, i.e. the planning and implementation of digital support processes?
  • What are the consequences of the digitalisation of internationalisation for decision-making and cooperation processes in higher education institutions?
  • How do the respondents assess the current and future development of the digitisation strategy in the area of internationalisation?
  • To answer these questions, the study chooses a qualitative mixed-methods approach, which includes a discourse analysis of relevant policy documents, expert interviews with those responsible for the development and implementation of internationalization strategies, and group interviews with representatives of foreign cooperating universities and teachers.

    With regard to the projects’ objectives, focusing on higher education institutions' strategies for integrating digital opportunities into their internationalisation strategies will contribute to closing an existing research gap. In addition, conclusions can be derived from the results that are relevant for the further design of political, funding policy and higher education strategies for the use of digital instruments in the field of international exchange at higher education institutions.

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Publications

The ‘Global South’ in the transnational student mobility network. Effects of institutional instability, reputation of the higher education systems, post-colonial ties, and culture.

Vögtle, E. M., & Windzio, M. (2022).
The ‘Global South’ in the transnational student mobility network. Effects of institutional instability, reputation of the higher education systems, post-colonial ties, and culture. Globalisation, Societies and Education (online first). https://doi.org/10.1080/14767724.2022.2047900
Abstract

In this article, we take a global perspective and analyse how state institutions constitute a countries’ place in the global network of transnational student mobility. We use longitudinal social network analysis to investigate transnational student mobility patterns and find that fragile institutions act as a push factor by increasing outbound student mobility. In addition, reputation of a higher education system impacts on the countries’ role as a favoured study destination. And, particularly for countries in the Global South, cultural similarity is important for the intensity and direction of exchange within the global network of transnational student mobility.

Presentations

International Academic Partnerships (IAP) and the impact of digitalization in the establishment of joint programs between German and Brazilian institutions of higher education.

Ferreira Santos, L. (2022, September).
International Academic Partnerships (IAP) and the impact of digitalization in the establishment of joint programs between German and Brazilian institutions of higher education. Vortrag auf dem Seminar 7th HERSS Summer School "Transformation of Higher Education", zhb Center for Higher Education, TU Dortmund, Dortmund.
Abstract

In the field of internationalization of higher education, the establishment of joint programs is described as 'particularly problematic', due to the strong coordination efforts required. Yet, in a context of growing internationalization and digitalization, the online delivery of such programs is 'not only possible but desirable' (Joughin et al., 2022, p.829). At the HERSS Summer School, I discussed the prospects of investigating the setting up and implementation of digitally assisted-joint programs between German and Brazilian universities as the thematic focus of my Ph.D. research.

Science Diplomacy - Quo Vadis? Konsequenzen geopolitischer Konflikte für (multilaterale) Wissenschaftsmobilität.

Blümel, C., & Vögtle, E. M. (2022, September).
Workshop Science Diplomacy - Quo Vadis? Konsequenzen geopolitischer Konflikte für (multilaterale) Wissenschaftsmobilität auf dem Workshop Science Diplomacy - Quo Vadis? Konsequenzen geopolitischer Konflikte für (multilaterale) Wissenschaftsmobilität, DZHW, Berlin, Deutschland.
Abstract

The war in Ukraine has not only ushered in a "turning point" in military terms. This conflict also has far-reaching consequences for academic mobility and transnational academic cooperation - both for strategies and concepts in international research and academic policy and for research on academic exchange and multilateral cooperation between universities. In a joint workshop with representatives of science exchange organisations, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal Foreign Office, parliamentarians and scientists, we discuss these consequences for science and politics.

Governance von Hochschulen, Definition, Modelle und aktuelle Entwicklungen.

Vögtle, E. (2022, August).
Governance von Hochschulen, Definition, Modelle und aktuelle Entwicklungen. Impulsvortrag im Rahmen des fzs Summercamp zum Thema Demokratie an der Hochschule, Freier Zusammenschluss von Student*innenschaften (fzs) e.V, Garrel-Petersfeld, Deutschland.
Abstract

The governance of higher education and science, understood as coordination and decision-making mechanisms, faces the challenge of increasingly taking social values into account. Societal values such as justice, equality or sustainability are brought to universities and research institutions by a wide range of stakeholders. This leads to value orientations external to science finding their way into evaluation processes and even into the design of scientific agendas via the way governance processes are conducted. Current approaches see universities as prototypes of evolutionary organisations consisting of self-managing teams that are responsive to societal values.

The INDISTRA project in the light of the new geopolitics of higher education.

Ferreira Santos, L. (2022, Juni).
The INDISTRA project in the light of the new geopolitics of higher education. Vortrag im Rahmen des Workshops by Katja Brøgger, Associate Professor, Danish School of Education, auf dem Seminar The New Geopolitics of Higher Education, Aarhus University, Denmark.
Abstract

The resurgence of all sorts of anti-globalization movements has produced huge repercussions in society, and institutions of higher education alike ( (Brøgger, 2021; Brooks, 2022; Habib, 2022; van der Vende, 2021). Knowing that the future of higher education internalization relies strongly on the way countries’ cross-border exchange will evolve (Lee, 2021), my participation in the Course The New geopolitics of Higher Education was aimed at reflecting on the research questions guiding the INDISTRA project (Internationalization and the Digital Transformation) in the light of current geopolitical debates; in particular, how the rise of neo-nationalisms is shaping new discourses and practices in higher education.

Conferences

Science Diplomacy - Quo Vadis? Konsequenzen geopolitischer Konflikte für (multilaterale) Wissenschaftsmobilität.

Blümel, C., & Vögtle, E. M. (2022, September).
Workshop Science Diplomacy - Quo Vadis? Konsequenzen geopolitischer Konflikte für (multilaterale) Wissenschaftsmobilität auf dem Workshop Science Diplomacy - Quo Vadis? Konsequenzen geopolitischer Konflikte für (multilaterale) Wissenschaftsmobilität, DZHW, Berlin, Deutschland.
Abstract

The war in Ukraine has not only ushered in a "turning point" in military terms. This conflict also has far-reaching consequences for academic mobility and transnational academic cooperation - both for strategies and concepts in international research and academic policy and for research on academic exchange and multilateral cooperation between universities. In a joint workshop with representatives of science exchange organisations, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal Foreign Office, parliamentarians and scientists, we discuss these consequences for science and politics.

Contact person

Eva Maria Vögtle
Dr. Eva Maria Vögtle +49 511 450670-359

Researchers

Luzia Ferreira Santos

Funded by

Auswärtiges Amt

In cooperation with

Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst