Although, many stakeholders view internationalization as integrating an international intercultural and global dimension into the extant curriculum, the concept holds different meanings between and within institutions. This multiplicity of meanings invites the questions: How do various stakeholders at Ashesi University; a small liberal arts college in Ghana conceptualize internationalization and what factors influence their understanding of the subject? How does the academic institutional context influence internationalization? And, how do the different stakeholders’ perceptions of internationalization affect the internationalization focus of the institution?
This qualitative case study draws on data collected between May and August 2011 from sixty purposefully selected participants comprising University leadership; administrative staff; faculty; students and alumni of Ashesi. Data collection methods included semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, naturalistic observations of the campus ethos towards internationalization, and content analysis of documents.
Analyses of the data suggest the following: 1) Stakeholders demonstrated an understanding of the importance of internationalization, and how it applied to them in their own unique context; 2) In addition to the internationalization components suggested by Harari’s “Components of an Internationalized Campus,” Ashesi University also had very unique internationalization components specific to their context as an African institution; 3) stakeholders believed that having a clear internationalization policy to guide the internationalization process developing at Ashesi in the form of a clearly written internationalization policy document, would be helpful towards guiding the institution’s internationalization process. In addition, stakeholders expressed a strong desire for Ashesi to institute programs to foster close interaction between domestic and international students and the introduction of a French Language course to enhance student employability, particularly across francophone Africa.
These findings have the potential to guide discussions, as Ashesi aims to develop a more structured internationalization agenda. The findings also suggest methods and processes that may be beneficial and transferable to other institutions with similar characteristics as Ashesi, and with a similar desire to internationalize. This study also contributes to the limited body of literature concerning how institutions of higher education in Africa utilize processes appropriate to their unique contexts in their attempts to internationalize.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. May 2012. Major: Educational policy and administration. Advisor: Professor Frances Vavrus. 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 140 pages, appendices A-L.
Internationalizing a private liberal arts college in Ghana: A stakeholder analysis.
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