Leadership Needs in International Higher Education in Australia and Europe

The development of advanced leadership and management capability among up and coming professionals in the field is crucial to the advancement of international education worldwide.

IEAA and the European Association for International Education (EAIE) have undertaken a unique research project on the development of advanced leadership for the next generation of international education leaders in Australia and Europe.

The broad question we sought to answer was: What generic and specific leadership capabilities are needed by the future generation of international education leaders in Australia and Europe?

Phase 1 - Executive Summary

The findings of Phase 1 of the study were released at the EAIE Conference in September 2012 and the Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) in October 2012.

Respondents were largely in agreement over the significance of different leadership roles. Both European and Australian current and future leaders in the field view the ‘facilitator’ and ‘mentor’ roles as the most dominant in their current professional position. When asked about optimal leadership roles, the ‘facilitator’ role remains the most prominent one.

In addition to leadership roles, the study looked at the perceived benefits, priorities, and obstacles in internationalisation. Both groups find the positive impact on societies in terms of creating mutual understanding and helping resolve global issues as well as enhanced student skills and knowledge as the primary benefits of internationalisation.

The Phase 1 Executive Summary highlights the perceived top priorities of internationalisation and the main obstacles, together with a more in-depth look at the findings mentioned above.

Download the Executive Summary
PDF, 0.3MB
Phase 2 - Final Report

Phase 2 of the study investigated how Australian and European leaders may strengthen their respective leadership roles, and how they can seek to overcome the major obstacles identified.

Competing priorities, lip service and a perceived lack of commitment to internationalisation were just some of the obstacles faced by leaders at the helm of Australia’s international education industry.

The report identifies a number of opportunities to enhance the internationalisation efforts of higher education institutions in Australia and Europe.

Opportunities pertinent to Australia include:

  • Closer engagement between administrative and academic staff
  • Supporting increased international engagement by Australian university researchers, and
  • Improving the innovation, strategic and entrepreneurial skills of international education leaders and managers to help them meet the international challenges facing Australian higher education.

“This research details the unique skills and capacities international education leaders and managers will need to navigate increasingly complex challenges at the institutional, local, national and global levels,” says IEAA President, Helen Zimmerman.

“The insights gained will be especially useful in assisting senior international education leaders, their institutions and international education associations to support and develop the next generation of international education professionals in Australia and Europe.”

The study was undertaken between 2012–2013 by IEAA and the EAIE in collaboration with the LH Martin Institute (The University of Melbourne) and Tilburg University, The Netherlands.

Download the Final Report
PDF, 0.3MB

Published: January 2014