The Impacts of National and Institutional Policies on the Internationalization of Higher Education in Australia

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The primary purpose of this research is to understand the impact of national and institutional policies on the internationalization of higher education in Australia. As a secondary purpose, this study draws on theories of policy borrowing in order to assess whether the United States can learn from and adapt certain policies within the context of its own higher education system. While many studies have looked at international education at the micro-level of student experience and international educational programming, this research considers the internationalization of higher education from a policy perspective, analyzing how policies have shaped international education within Australia and how these policies may be adapted within a U.S. context. This research involves a single site, vertical case study, resulting in an in-depth analysis of international education policy in Australia. Data collection includes document and policy analysis of various national and institutional policies on higher education internationalization. At a macro level, the document analysis uncovers how coordinated and strategic Australian initiatives are around higher education internationalization. At the micro level, institutional strategies play an integral role in advancing international higher education in Australia. These national and institutional policies come together to have profound political, economic, and socio-cultural impacts for Australia. In thinking about whether the United States can learn from the case of Australia and adapt a national level approach to internationalization, there are undoubtedly limitations and considerations. While it is impossible to ignore current political challenges to higher education internationalization, this study concludes that the United States has a unique opportunity to reinvigorate its internationalization efforts with a national strategy to signal national-level commitment to internationalization. Implications for policymakers and higher education institutions are considered, and recommendations for further research are discussed.

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