15 September 2015

PhD study - interviews completed (at last!)

Just under 6 months and 37 interviews later... I'm delighted to advise that I've now finished collecting data for my PhD research into the international dimensions of the work of Australian academics (aka faculty staff).

I've been interviewing academic staff at two universities in Victoria, Australia - referred to as Innovative Comprehensive University and Research Intensive University for the purposes of this study. Interview respondents were drawn from Science and Business/Economics disciplines at each institution and were chosen based on a range of criteria.

Of the 37 interviewees, 18 were at Innovative Comprehensive University (ICU) and 19 at Research Intensive University (RIU) with a fairly even split of male and female respondents between institutions and disciplines:

16 respondents were born overseas (21 in Australia) with 10 respondents holding their PhD or other research qualification from an overseas institution (27 from an Australian institution).

Respondents were sought from different stages in the academic career cycle in order to explore whether patterns of international engagement vary with seniority. In total, interviews were conducted with 9 academics at Level E (Professor or Professorial Fellow), 8 at Level D (Associate Professor or Principal Research Fellow), 6 at Level C (Senior Lecturer of Senior Research Fellow), 9 at Level B (Lecturer or Research Fellow) and 5 at Level A (Tutor, Research Fellow or Postdoc).

As is the case in most Australian universities, the vast majority of academics interviewed (29 out of 37) are employed in Teaching and Research positions, with 7 respondents in Research only positions and one in a Teaching only position.

In relation to other demographic markers of possible significance to this study, 16 respondents speak a Language Other Than English (LOTE) and 31 of them have lived overseas at some point for more than 3 months. Reflecting on their own level of international engagement in relation to their colleagues, 22 respondents rated this as High or Very High, 10 as Moderate and 5 as Low or Very Low.

Now, I'm turning to analysis and discussion and I look forward to presenting some preliminary findings from this study at the 2015 Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Conference in Denver (USA) in early November 2015. My paper will be titled "In what ways has internationalization shaped academic work? A perspective from Australia".