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Internationalization of Higher Education: Theoretical and Empirical Investigation of Its Influence on University Institution Rankings

La internacionalización en la enseñanza superior: investigación teórica y empírica sobre su influencia en las clasificaciones de las instituciones universitarias

Abstract

Internationalization constitutes a broadly widespread concept in the literature about management. However, it has recently started being applied to higher education institutions. In this paper, we investigate internationalization in university institutions from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. To achieve our aim, we place particular emphasis on the methodology applied to evaluate the internationalization of higher education institutions from both quantitative and qualitative approaches. We focus on the study of the three most widely accepted higher education institution rankings: Times Higher Education Supplement, Academic Ranking of World Universities and Webometrics Ranking. We find that, while the variable internationalization is included in such rankings through several items, its weight in the overall score is still limited. Additionally, our results demonstrate that the final position achieved by university institutions is hardly determined by their degree of internationalization, but rather relies on other institutional aspects, such as teaching quality and research quality, among others. Furthermore, we argue that internationalization indicators used in current university institution rankings, e.g., international faculty ratio and international students ratio, are far from reflecting the main variables involved in their internationalization processes.

Resumen

El concepto de internacionalización está ampliamente difundido en la bibliografía sobre gestión. Pero recientemente también se ha empezado a utilizar en el ámbito de las instituciones de enseñanza superior. En este artículo investigaremos la internacionalización en las instituciones universitarias desde dos perspectivas, teórica y práctica. Para lograr nuestro objetivo, hemos dado especial importancia a la metodología utilizada para evaluar la internacionalización en las instituciones de enseñanza superior desde un punto de vista tanto cualitativo como cuantitativo. Nos hemos centrado en el estudio de las tres clasificaciones de instituciones de enseñanza superior más ampliamente aceptadas: Times Higher Education Supplement, Academic Ranking of World Universities y Webometrics Ranking. Hemos visto que, aunque la variable de la internacionalización se tiene en cuenta en dichas clasificaciones a través de varios factores, su peso en la puntuación global es aun limitado. Además, los resultados que hemos obtenido demuestran que el grado de internacionalización de las instituciones universitarias apenas determina su posición final en las clasificaciones, ya que esta depende de otros aspectos institucionales como la calidad de la enseñanza y la calidad de la investigación, entre otros factores. Asimismo hemos visto que los indicadores de internacionalización utilizados en las clasificaciones más corrientes de instituciones universitarias, como la proporción de personal docente internacional y la proporción de estudiantes internationales, distan mucho de reflejar las principales variables que intervienen en los procesos de internacionalización.

Abbreviations

HEI:

Higher Education Institution

THES:

Times Higher Education Supplement

ARWU:

Academic Ranking of World Universities

WM:

Webometrics Ranking

HERS:

Higher Education Ranking System

FTE:

Full Time Equivalent

IREG:

International Ranking Expert Group

BP:

Berlin Principles

CCHS:

Social and Human Sciences Centre (Spanish acronym)

CSIC:

Spanish National Research Council (Spanish acronym)

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Correspondence to Dr. Bianca L. Delgado-Márquez.

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Delgado-Márquez, B.L., Hurtado-Torres, N.E. & Bondar, Y. Internationalization of Higher Education: Theoretical and Empirical Investigation of Its Influence on University Institution Rankings. Int J Educ Technol High Educ 8, 265–284 (2011). https://doi.org/10.7238/rusc.v8i2.1069

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Keywords

  • internationalization
  • university institutions
  • higher education institution rankings
  • indicators

Palabras clave

  • internationalizatión
  • instituciones universitarias
  • clasificaciones de instituciones de enseñanza superior
  • indicadores