Title page for ETD etd-05052012-164358

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Sanderlin, Nicole
URN etd-05052012-164358
Title Motivations for Faculty Engagement in Internationalization: Learning from Champions and Advocates
Degree PhD
Department Public Administration and Public Affairs
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Stephenson, Max O. Jr. Committee Chair
Bailey, Carol A. Committee Member
Moore, Anne H. Committee Member
Tiou, Josiah S. Committee Member
  • Virginia Tech
  • university
  • internationalization
  • higher education
  • faculty engagement
  • globalization
Date of Defense 2012-04-23
Availability unrestricted
The success of internationalization depends heavily on faculty support and engagement. Nonetheless, the motivations of faculty heavily engaged in international activities—described by scholars as champions and advocates—are not well understood, despite the fact that their efforts have been labeled as critical to advancing such efforts. This study examined the perceived motivating factors of faculty members heavily engaged in international activities at Virginia Tech, a university that created a strategic plan aimed at increasing such endeavors in 2004. Interviews with identified champions and advocates of internationalization in two colleges at Virginia Tech—the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the Pamplin College of Business—sought to explore the benefits and elements that led these faculty members to become and remain engaged in international activities. This study also investigated whether faculty members’ involvement in international concerns could be linked to the influence of factors proposed in the faculty engagement literature as commitment enabling. Specifically, this research sought to test Wade and Demb’s (2009) Faculty Engagement Model, which asserts that certain professional factors contribute to professors becoming involved in community engagement.

This analysis found that five of the professional factors in Wade & Demb’s (2009) model─discipline, status/rank, socialization, professional community and department support─are useful for examining faculty members’ willingness and ability to engage in international activities. However, it also found that faculty member involvement is shaped by a convergence of professional, institutional and personal factors. These together enabled faculty members to begin and remain engaged in international activities. In addition, despite the rationales offered by leadership and through strategic plans for becoming engaged in international concerns, the most common motivating factors identified by champions and advocates were intrinsic or personal influences that are not captured in institutional efforts to internationalize. These findings suggest that although universities may create mission statements, strategic plans and policies to guide internationalization, the motivations of faculty members who undertake and implement such initiatives in their classrooms and through their research and outreach play a large part in whether and how such efforts will be realized.

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