Internationalization in Turkish universities; contributions, conflicts, and sources of conflicts: a multiple case study

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Sciences, Turkey

Approval Date: 2017

Thesis Language: English

Student: Betül Bulut Şahin



Recently, internationalization has become an indispensable part of higher education institutions and a strategic issue in the administration of these institutions. Therefore, internationalization discussions have gained prominence all over the world in universities. Drawing and theorizing on the conflicts between popular internationalization trends and institutional structures, this study aimed at examining (1) the contributions of internationalization at individual, institutional and national level, (2) conflicts in internationalization process, and (3) sources of conflicts in internationalization. The study is designed as a qualitative study. A multiple-case study method was used to examine four public universities in Ankara. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 44 academic and administrative staff members. Along with the interviews, a document analysis was also conducted through analyzing different sources such as strategic plans, web sites. The results showed that the universities as institutions and the individual academicians have experienced both contributions and conflicts related with internationalization trends in academic, economic, politic and socio-cultural domains. On the one hand, internationalization is a natural part of universities throughout the history; and mostly international practices evolving from this natural process were perceived as contributions of internationalization on multi-levels. On the other hand, with the effect of globalization and neo-liberalism, some international trends occurred as the policies aiming to change the existing structure and these policies were mostly perceived as conflicts at various levels. Moreover, although the changes coming with structured internationalization trends are adopted superficially, as a pragmatic response by higher education institutions with legitimacy considerations, individual academicians may not embrace them and this cause another cause of conflict in universities.