Becoming a Successful International Faculty Member in a Striving University
Keywords:Academics; internationalization; striving university; acculturation; agency
Hiring academics from abroad is one of the strategies that contemporary universities employ to become international institutions. At the same time, a growing number of academics are considering a wider range of academic opportunities, which has contributed to an increase in transnational academic mobility. However, most universities are not yet prepared to support the unique needs of international faculty members. Despite the crucial roles that international faculty play in colleges and universities, relatively little is known about their experiences since most of the studies on the topic are quantitative in nature. The purpose of this qualitative study was to better understand the ways in which international faculty members navigate academic life at a striving university – defined as an institution that aspires to become a world-class university. Our findings show that the international faculty members who participated in this study underwent processes of adjustment in which their agentic responses intermeshed with institutional structures, posing challenges to both the faculty members and their host institution. However, it was found that the burden of adjustment is being placed upon individual academics. Therefore, we examined agentic responses to challenging academic environments that were not ideally suited for internationalization and will provide insights into how universities might better support international academics as they navigate uncertainty.
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