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  • The SAGE Handbook of International Higher Education ed. by Darla K. Deardorff et al.
  • Zhen Hu
Darla K. Deardorff, Hans de Wit, John D. Heyl, and Tony Adams (Eds.). The SAGE Handbook of International Higher Education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2012. 552pp. Cloth: $150.00; ISBN: 978-1-4129-9921-2.

Higher education has experienced a dramatic change with regard to the internationalization of educational programs in the academy in recent decades. The editors define the internationalization of higher education (IHE) as “the process of integrating an international, intercultural, or global dimension into the purpose, functions or delivery of post-secondary education” (p. 29).

In the past, international education efforts were usually a functional department in institutions, but now those functions have become one of the central priorities of higher education institutions, nationally and internationally. In the course of this transformation, not only this practical application, but also the conceptual understanding of the role of international education has evolved significantly. With these changes, opportunities, and challenges, the related scholarly study of this field has developed from, in essence, a patchwork of occasional pieces to a more formalized and systematic line of inquiry. It underscores the need for a comprehensive attempt to review various theoretical and practical issues to reflect the changing circumstances of globalization in higher education.

The joint effort of the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) and the Sage Publications, The SAGE Handbook of International Higher Education moves toward filling this gap by inviting prominent educators and scholars from all over the world to document the new issues, trends, and concepts of IHE, and to offer strategies for further developing IHE in a changing global context. As stated in the preface, the editors hope to reach “for a more strategic approach to internationalization that goes beyond its (presumed) component parts and aims at changing the quality of higher education itself” (p. xi). Internationalization in the context of higher education is not the end, but rather the means to realize the objectives of higher education: to train globally competent citizens.

In line with this purpose, the handbook is written to incorporate the following two organizational and conceptual approaches: first, it is more a theoretical review of current research and practices through a well-organized collection of chapters than a collection of case studies or a compendium of best practices. The handbook makes the point that every successful internationalization practice in higher education succeeds in its own way; there is no single model that must be followed. However, every failure of internationalization follows a remarkably similar pattern due to the lack of certain key elements in the organization, such as leadership, faculty engagement, policy support, and financial support (p.132). Therefore, it seems more helpful to focus on the strategic dimensions of IHE. Nevertheless, this handbook provides many cases as examples throughout the text in an effort to inspire practice.

Second, the 25 chapters are distributed across five sections, moving from concepts to strategies and on to operations and future trends. They are discussed at the international, national, and, most importantly, institutional level. This structure does not ignore individuals involved in IHE but purposefully puts internationalization in the context of higher education and answers the larger question of how higher education leaders can “educate the next generation” (p. xi). As a result, this handbook’s primary audience is senior administrators and researchers working in and studying higher education.

The first section of the handbook provides contextual, conceptual, and historical frameworks for understanding IHE’s development and the research focused on that development. In the context of current higher education, the opening chapter presents a broad picture of IHE as a global phenomenon and unfolds issues and challenges related to its recent expansion and development—i.e., the increasing mobility of students and scholars, cross-border education offerings and cooperation, the risk of commercialization, the desire of universities to be ranked internationally, the accompanying development of international competition among universities and nations, and the changing objectives of higher education to produce globally competent students.

The authors urge senior administrators to think carefully, clearly, and strategically about the internationalization of their institutions and to deal with three fundamentally important elements...


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pp. 277-280
Launched on MUSE
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