Framing International Student Responsibility

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

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.


International Research Roundtable 2014: Transnational Research Collaboration

What explains the rise in global research collaboration? How do institutions choose transnational partners? And how do they align transnatioieaa-research-roundtable-2014-programnal research collaboration to their broader strategic priorities?

These are just some of the key questions that will shape the conversation at IEAA’s upcoming International Research Roundtable at AIEC in Brisbane.

This year’s program focuses on ‘Transnational Research Collaboration’ and will continue discussions from the recent IEAA–APAIE symposium on Internationalisation of Higher Education in the Asia-Pacific held in Hong Kong.

The roundtable includes:

  • leading Australian and international experts in transnational research collaboration;
  • a review of current research in the area;
  • an expert panel addressing the key themes; and
  • a ‘Cafe Scientifique’ opportunity for participants to engage in deep discussion of key ideas.

Key themes

  • What explains the interest in global collaboration? How does it reveal the ways in which knowledge is now produced and disseminated?
  • How do higher education institutions justify and align transnational research collaboration to their broader strategic priorities?
  • How do institutions choose transnational research partners? How do they view and manage opportunities and negotiate challenges associated with the issue of ownership and commercialisation, as well as differences across cultural and academic traditions?

Key speakers

  • Professor Peter Dawkins – Vice-Chancellor and President, Victoria University
  • Ms Laura Howard – Vice-President, European Association for International Education (EAIE)
  • Ms Marlene Johnson – Executive Director and CEO, NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • Professor Abid Khan – Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Vice-President (Global Engagement), Monash University
  • Dr Chantavit Sujatanond – Senior Adviser, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Click here for the full program and to register.

Tips for Submitting a Proposal to AIEC 2014

With call for proposals ending Friday, 28 March, only a few weeks left!

Are you still undecided on whether to submit a proposal?

This year, with all the new different formats and options, it can feel a little daunting, so I thought I’d make a selection of my top tips, which hopefully will encourage you to submit, and improve your chances of your proposal being accepted.

Read examples from previous conferences
Before you start your proposal, read examples of sessions on the website from our previous conferences. It will give you a good idea of the tone, topics and angles that tend to fit the conference. We want to avoid repeating the exact topics from one year to the next, so we suggest the reading as background only, but it’s good to get of a sense of what the titles and abstracts should focus on.

Can your title stand alone?
It’s common to go for the quirky or goofy title, to the detriment of a meaningful, albeit slightly more boring title. While an ‘out of the square’ title can sometimes be the right way to go (there have been great examples in the past), please ask yourself first whether this title can stand alone, and whether it provides readers a good idea of what the presentation will be about, without having to read the abstract.

Go straight to the point
The abstract is only 150 words, so it’s important that you get straight to the point and tell us what your presentation (or panel) is about. Don’t just set up the question or state the obvious, make sure the abstract conveys what content you will be presenting or talking about.

Think of your target audience
While there are certainly topics that are so niche that we can’t accept them due to the limited audience, there is also the risk of being so general we can’t see attendees getting enough concrete from the presentation. Before you conceptualise your proposal, think about the intended audience and what they will want to hear/learn.

Think how you want to present the information
The conference is offering different types of formats, so you also need to keep the target audience in mind when deciding what the best delivery format will be. For example, if your proposal would only appeal to a very small number of people (under 15) don’t select ‘expert lecture’ as your only ‘session type’! You’ll have much better chances to be accepted if select café session or poster.

Don’t give us a sales pitch
Speakers from specific companies or company representatives that may appear on the program are chosen because they are bringing lessons learned from a peer-to-peer perspective, and not because they are delivering a sales pitch. The main challenge for you, especially if you work in the PR or marketing department of your organisation, will be to figure out how your talk can contribute to the industry, and articulate that. It’s about what you’ve learned, not about how great your product is.

We look forward to receiving your proposals and wish you the best of luck!

Acclaimed political scientist, Professor Amin Saikal AM, to present at AIEC

IDP Education and IEAA are pleased to welcome Professor Amin Saikal AM to the  AIEC 2013 program.

Professor Saikal is a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (the Middle East and Central Asia) at the Australian National University.

Professor Saikal has been a visiting fellow at Princeton University, Cambridge University, and the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, visiting professor at Zaid University as well as a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow in International Relations (1983-1988). He was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) in January 2006 for his services to international community and education as well as an advisor and author.

Professor Saikal will be part of an important plenary session on the Friday afternoon of AIEC, Engaging with the Islamic world through international education.

In this video below, from Australian National University’s Youtube channel, Prof Bob Bowker sat down with Prof Amin Saikal to discuss the publication of his book, entitled ‘American Democracy Promotion in the Middle East: From Bush to Obama’.

Leading Australian political journalist to present closing plenary at AIEC

Annabel Crabb, chief online political writer for the ABC, will present the closing plenary at AIEC 2013.

One of the most popular political journalists in Australia, Annabel has been covering national politics for more than ten years.

An accomplished author, Annabel’s 2005 book Losing It: The Inside Story of the Labor Party in Opposition explored Australian Labor Party opposition leaders Kim Beazley, Simon Crean and Mark Latham.

In 2009 Annabel wrote a Quarterly Essay entitled Stop at Nothing: The Life and Adventures of Malcolm Turnbull, which won a Walkley Award for best magazine feature writing.

In the closing plenary Annabel will present a wrap up of the major topics covered over the three days at AIEC.

In this video below, Annabel speaks to delegates at the 2011 Asia Pacific International Education Forum (APIEF) on Australia’s future and the importance of Education and Training.

Times Higher Education announced as media sponsor for AIEC 2013.

Phil Baty, Editor of Times Higher Education World University Rankings
Phil Baty, Editor of Times Higher Education World University Rankings

IDP Education and IEAA are pleased to welcome back Times Higher Education (THE) as the media sponsor for this year’s Australian International Education Conference (AIEC).

Just days after their global launch at the Singapore World Academic Summit, Phil Baty, THE rankings editor, will join us in person in Canberra to deliver an in-depth briefing on the 2013-2014 THE World University Rankings results.

Phil’s session will examine trends over time and the main challenges for Australian higher education and discuss the rankings methodology. THE will also have a presence in this year’s exhibition hall.

THE is one of the world’s leading higher education media publications. In addition, THE is the owner and publisher of a series of highly regarded rankings tables including the aforementioned World University Rankings, the World Reputation Rankings and the 100 Under 50 Rankings.

This media sponsorship builds on a continuing partnership between IDP Education and Times Higher Education, which has included collaborating for research, student events and online initiatives.

In June, Phil Baty travelled to China to speak with students at IDP Education Student Seminars about the rankings process.

You can listen to the Podcast with Phil and Allen Jiang, Regional Director – North Asia,  IDP Education, here.

AIEC 2013 keynote speakers announced

Jon Burns, Founder of the Ethiopian Skateboard Park Project, Laurel Papworth, CEO of the Community Crew, and esteemed journalists Annabel Crabb, Waleed Aly and Phil Baty will join more than 120 higher education speakers from around the globe for the 27th annual Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) from 8 – 11 October 2013.

Above: Annabel Crabb
Above: Annabel Crabb

Taking place in Canberra, the theme for this year’s conference is Global Imperatives – Local Realities.

What impact do these drivers have and how can we respond to them most effectively? Conversely, what impact does international education have on the world around us globally and locally? How do local realities affect our ability to respond to global imperatives and opportunities? How do we achieve balance between global imperatives and local realities?

Education institutions are under increasing pressure to engage deeply at the international level while at the same time operating primarily as national agents within their domestic framework.
Achieving balance and sustainability in this context is often a significant challenge.

AIEC 2013 will address these fundamental issues.

Early bird registrations open soon.

Registrations for the 27th AIEC open soon and an early bird discount of $200 is available for bookings confirmed before 21 June.

Subscribe here for conference updates to ensure you are notified when registrations open.

Featured Workshop: Feyi Akindoyeni – Getting the Message Right

 The AIEC Optional Pre-Conference Workshops are held on Tuesday 2 October 2012 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

You do not need to be registered to attend the Conference to book workshop tickets.

To view the Workshops schedule or to register your attendance, visit the AIEC site.

Featured Workshop of the week: 
Workshop 4: Getting the Message Right

Feyi Akindoyeni inspired and challenged those who attended the Welcome Plenary at AIEC 2011 with her address on positioning. This workshop will expand on those strategies, with Feyi making you think about the messages you are delivering, the impression you are leaving and get you thinking about how you can get it right.

Feyi Akindoyeni – Partner at Kreab & Gavin Anderson
Feyi Akindoyeni is considered one of the leading social marketing strategists in Australia, with over 15 years’ experience as a corporate strategist. Head of Kreab Gavin Anderson (Canberra), Feyi leads one of the nation’s premier strategic communications and government relations consultancy teams, working with organisations such as Google, Apple, Unisys, SBS, Foxtel, UTS and the Federal, NSW and Victorian Education Departments.

Bringing with her a wealth of professional experience, Feyi has worked closely with some of the most senior Ministers in the Federal Cabinet and is well-known at the adviser level.