(By Laurentius de Voltolina - The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=160060)
In Internationalization and Engagement: How Foreign Students May be Reshaping What is Taught at Global Universities, I offered reflections on recent well publicized controversy within Australian academic circles centering around the relationship between the knowledge offered in Australian universities and the narratives preferred by some of its principal end users--Chinese students enrolled in Australian universities.
I posited the problem in terms of the university as a corporate actor within a competitive sector (knowledge dissemination).Most universities have yet to grapple with this issue of student participation and societal expectations respecting the way that "facts" are selected for presentation in an appropriate interpretive form. But Australian universities now appear at the forefront of the reshaping of the conversation about narrative. A series of recent clashes between foreign (mainly Chinese) students and Australian universities about the way that knowledge is produced and interpreted (for the student in a way that is insulting to China) suggests the emerging contours of international student engagement in what had been local contests over the ideology of narrative and the presentation of knowledge.
More brutally put: if universities fail to provide students (and their parents) what they think they want to learn, and in the way they think they want to learn it, then the university will lose both market share and its reputational rank will be threatened as students (and their parents' money) go elsewhere. How is this equation affected where the students are foreign and the pressure comes from foreign states?
My colleague, Flora Sapio has produced a marvelous reflection on that post, which she kindly agreed to share here. The Essay, On the Ideal Models of the University: Reflections on "Internationalization and Engagement: How Foreign Students May be Reshaping What is Taught at Global Universities" follows below.