Framing International Student Responsibility

September 26, 2015

By Ly Tran, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Deakin University (Australia)

Understanding international student responsibility and institutional responsibility towards international students is essential to ensure and enhance the well-being and educational experience of this group. However, international student responsibility is a notion that is often neglected. Research on student responsibility concentrates exclusively on domestic students and is framed predominantly within the school context in relation to classroom discipline, learning and citizenship education. In practice, the extent to and the ways in which international students and involved parties including parents, teachers, host universities and host communities are responsible for the education, wellbeing and development of international students are rarely spelled out. How to support and gear students towards building and enacting responsibility in an educationally, culturally and ethically productive ways is little known either.

International student responsibility and their capacity to exercise responsibility should not be framed merely within the academic domain. Instead it should be viewed from a relational stance that takes into account the diverse tangible and intangible interrelated aspects of cross-border mobility status. International student responsibility transcends the classroom boundary, extending to the home and host communities and other relationships that have been formed via their mobility experiences. Spatial, intellectual and cultural mobility as a result of overseas education shapes and reshapes students’ perception of their own responsibility and the ways in which they enact their responsibility. Being in educational mobility provides them with the unique transnational social fields to develop responsibility towards the home and host country. This also gives students the condition to perceive and develop responsibility for global citizenship.

International students can exercise both personal and social responsibility. Personal responsibility is the responsibility towards the self as an actor in international education and a member in the classroom community, the social community as well as their family. This is interrelated with the social responsibility. These dimensions of responsibility can be fluid, dynamic and complex as they involve both a sense of obligation and sense of intrinsic commitment. Personal responsibility encompasses the obligation towards their academic learning as well as wellbeing. The status of international students is also often interconnected with a responsibility to ensure a return in their investment in overseas education. In some cultures, efforts towards acquiring a good academic, financial and social return in investment in international education are intimately embedded in the responsibility to fulfil their filial duty and respond to the family’s aspirations.

International student responsibility should also be seen in parallel with their capacity to exercise responsibility. One’s capacity for responsibility can be shifting or developing due to their engagement in cross-border life and in pursuit of education far away from family support and out of cultural comfort zone. Student responsibility is associated with their capacity for rational agency (Ericson and Ellet, 1990:4). Both personal capacity and external opportunities to exercise their agency are essential for students to act responsibly (Bandura, 1977). As personal capacity as well as individual perceptions of responsibility vary among students, the extent to which they act responsibly also differs. Enhancing student responsibility is indeed nurturing good citizenship.

Within the neoliberal commercialisation principle that drives international education, host institutions have been seen to largely hold accountability for providing the educational services for international students who are often positioned as consumers. This practice has to some extent drawn attention away from questions about institutional responsibility for building student capacity for exercising both personal and social responsibility. The locus of institutional responsibility should extend beyond simply providing the educational services to actually enabling international students to develop full capacity to enact responsibility in educationally, culturally and morally productive ways. In order to achieve this, it is important for host institutions to ensure the productive conditions and external opportunities for international students to exercise responsibility as intercultural members and learners. It is also important for host institutions not to ignore the ways in which student mobility intersects with personal agency and personal capacity as well as multiple and transnational logics of legal, social, cultural and academic practices in viewing international student responsibility.


Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
Ericson, D. P., & Ellett, F. S. (1990). Taking student responsibility seriously. Educational researcher, 19(9), 3-10.

Interested to find out more? Join Ly Tran and other panellists in the Thursday morning session “Revisiting the responsibility of international students: perspectives from students, institutions and research” at AIEC 2015 in Adelaide this October!

From enquiry to enrolment: the essential toolkit

August 9, 2015

Article by Thijs van Vugt and Julian Longbottom

Thijs van Vugt and Julian Longbottom look at the skills and tools needed to be successful in helping students make the decision to enrol at your university.

In today’s competitive environment, international marketing, recruitment and enrolments are becoming more and more important to universities across the globe. The reality, however, is that most universities are doing very little marketing, but a lot of recruiting… or rather selling. Yet, the follow-up from enquiry to offer letter and enrolment could be done better at many institutions.

A recent StudyPortals and IELTS British Council study of the Top 500 universities in the world revealed that 21 per cent of the world’s Top 500 universities did not respond to enquiries at all. What’s more, 68 per cent of institutions that did reply, didn’t send a second email or reminder (StudyPortals & IELTS British Council, Through Student Eyes, 2014). Australian universities did fairly poorly compared to most others!

essentisl toolkit

Source: Through Student Eyes, StudyPortals & IELTS British Council, 2014

Responding to requests for information has been neglected in many traditional institutions where the focus has been on filtering applicants rather than proactively recruiting new students. But, it is imperative that we reach out when the interest is most relevant and that time is now. Being first also allows the recruitment team to manage expectations that subsequent callers must match or better.

More often than not admissions does not fall under the same responsibilities as marketing and recruitment. As a result admissions staff think their job is done once the offer letter has been sent. The reality, however, is very different. The job is not done until the student has signed on the dotted line and paid their tuition fee. Up until that moment the student can still decide to accept an offer from a competing university – particularly if that offer came from a better quality university or included a full or partial scholarship.

They will also accept an alternative offer if the competing university is faster in following up on the offer letter or done so in a more compelling way by (e.g. a personal phone call from the vice-chancellor or dean). But, most importantly, one has to follow-up and follow-up fast on the offer letter by making sure the student either accepts or rejects their place. Especially, when considering that students apply to at least three, if not five, universities at the same time.

If admissions staff do not have the requisite skillset to follow-up and close the deal (which the marketing and recruitment people hopefully do), then they should at least inform those who do about the admissions decision to follow-up. This is where customer relationship management (CRM) systems come into play.

Good CRM systems, designed specifically for education providers, allow all concerned to see the status of a prospective student’s enquiries, applications, offers, etc. as well as offering the possibility to have a student portal in which the student can track the status of his/her application in real time. At best these portals can be accessed on any device, anywhere in the world.

These systems also provide insight into the sources through which a student may have come in touch with the university (e.g. website), as they allow for source tracking. This will allow you to link enquirers, applicants and commencing students to your marketing activities, whether they be online education portals, AdWords campaigns, education fairs or agents. And once you have this information, calculating the return on investment of your marketing spent becomes quite straightforward.

Interested to find out more? Join our workshop ‘From enquiry to enrolment: the essential toolkit’ at AIEC in Adelaide this October!

Thijs van Vugt is Director and Partner at iE&D Solutions, Europe.
Julian Longbottom is Director Asia Pacific at StudyPortals.


IEAA Excellence Awards 2015: Nominations now open

June 24, 2015

Do you know anyone who’s made an outstanding contribution to international education in Australia? Perhaps you’ve been involved in a ground-breaking project or initiative that showcases innovation and best practice? Here’s your – or an esteemed colleague’s – chance to shine.

IEAA’s Excellence Awards recognise the outstanding contributions by individuals or teams to international education in Australia. They also provide a benchmark of excellence and best practice for the entire industry.

IEAA has awards in the following categories:

  • Distinguished Contribution
  • Excellence in Leadership
  • Best Practice
  • Innovation
  • Excellence in Professional Commentary
  • Outstanding Postgraduate Thesis

Nominations are open until Sunday 5 July 2015. Winners will be announced at AIEC on Tuesday 6 October 2015.

Find out how more at

IEAA Excellence Awards 2015

IELTS Research Grants – Apply now!

June 3, 2015

Up to AU$70,000/£45,000 available per project

Educational institutions and suitably qualified individuals are invited to apply for funding to undertake applied research projects in relation to IELTS for a period of one or two years.

Total grant funding of up to AU$215,000 (£130,000) may be provided with up to AU$70,000/£45,000 available per project.

Research areas of interest include test development and validation issues, issues relating to contexts of test use and  issues of test impact.

Applications must be submitted by 30 June 2015.

How to apply

Latest recipient

Congratulations to Glenys Merrifield who is the latest recipient of the grant, awarded last year to undertake projects funded by IDP IELTS Australia this year. Glenys’s research will be on ‘Revisiting attitudes and perceptions of IELTS stakeholders: An impact study into professional associations in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom.’

View a full list of recipients

New research

A number of research projects have recently been published and are available for free at

  • Investigating the appropriateness of IELTS cut-off scores for admissions and placement decisions at an English-medium university in Egypt, authored by Elizabeth Arrigoni and Victoria Clark, American University in Cairo (click here for details)
  • Literacy practices in the professional workplace: Implications for the IELTS reading and writing tests, authored by Tim Moore, Swinburne University of Technology; Janne Morton, University of Melbourne; David Hall, Swinburne University of Technology; and Chris Wallis, Swinburne College, Australia (click here for details)
  • Tracking international students’ English proficiency over the first semester of undergraduate study, authored by Ms Pamela Humphreys, Dr Michael Haugh, Dr Ben Fenton-Smith, Dr Ana Lobo, Dr Rowan Michael and Dr Ian Walkinshaw Griffith University, Australia

It’s been a while…

May 27, 2015

It’s been a while since my last post, but as the saying goes, ‘no news is good news’!

The last few months have been all about laying down the foundations of what is set to be another great conference this year in Adelaide. Here’s what’s been brewing behind the scenes, in a nutshell!

1) Registration is now open!

If you are interested in attending, registrations are now open. Remember that you can get the early bird discount until 31 July. There are also special discounts for IEAA members and IDP Education staff, as well as students, school staff and speakers. The online registration will also allow you to book accommodation, so don’t forget to book early to get your preferred hotel and room rate. Accommodation bookings are available through our online form, but some hotels might sell out faster than others, so make sure you check out the options, and get in early!

2) Program is taking shape!

I wanted to thanks everyone who submitted proposals this year. The committee appreciates the effort and time taken in preparing and developing ideas and topics to present at this year’s conference. Sadly, we were not able to accept all of the 150+ submissions received, but after much deliberation and a comprehensive review of all the submissions, we are excited about this year’s selection and speaker line-up. The program will offer a combination of interactive panel discussions and panel presentations, thematic sessions and presentations, and a great line-up of Australian and international speakers. Details of the preliminary program and speaker bios will be announced in July.

4) Pre-conference workshop program is now available!

AIEC pre-conference workshops are interactive sessions in which skills or concepts are taught, demonstrated, or explored, and they are rooted in participation and active learning.

You can check out the program here, and register anytime online via the online registration form.

3) Our media partners

We are very happy to have Times Higher Education back on board as media partner this year, and delighted to welcome The Pie News also as media partner for the first time this year. Both will be present in the exhibition, so make sure you make time to stop by their booths!

4) Exhibition

The exhibition hall at AIEC is always THE place for networking, making new connections and having business meetings while taking a break from attending sessions. We are delighted to welcome new faces and old ones back this year. To see who will be there, check out the exhibition directory on the website.

Exhibition booths are selling out fast, so if you are interested in exhibiting, please check out the sponsorship opportunities on the website, or contact our conference organisers, Think Business Events, at

Personally, I’m very excited to be heading off to the UK tomorrow to attend my first Going Global conference next week. This is particularly different for me, because I will actually get to go to sessions and hang out in the exhibition! Conferences are always a busy time for any organiser, so this time, for a couple of days, I get to experience it as a delegate, and that sounds like a lot of fun!



Welcome Joanne, and thank you Gordon!

December 15, 2014

The success of AIEC is largely due to the tireless efforts and contribution from the committee members.

gordon-scottI’d like to take this opportunity to thank Gordon Scott for his part as committee member for AIEC 2014, and warmly (and officially) welcome Joanne Barker on board as the newest member of the committee.

Joannjoanne-barkere Barker brings to the AIEC committee expertise in international student recruitment and admissions.  She has been Director International at the University of Adelaide since 2006.  Previously she worked at Flinders University, and has also worked in the Commonwealth education bureaucracy.  She was elected to the IEAA Board in 2012 and also serves on the SAIBT Board in Adelaide and the US-based TOEFL Board, representing Australasia. .

To see the full list of AIEC Committee members, please visit the website.

Regards, Josephine


Gamification… and more from Gabe Zichermann

November 24, 2014

Gamification… what does it have to do with international education?

Australian International Education Conference 2014

A whole lot by the time Gabe Zichermann walked off the stage at AIEC 2014! All of a sudden, a concept that was unfamiliar to most of us, became the buzz word of the day, and everyone was talking about it at morning tea!

We had the chance to talk to Gabe separately and ask him a few questions about why this concept may be of interest to those of us working in education and international education.

Check out what he had to say!

Find out more here:


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