Moving internationalisation beyond exceptionalism using the MARS model

Hunter, Fiona
Sparnon, Neil
Latorre, Paulina
Datos de publicación:
This paper considers the changing nature of internationalisation in higher education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how this change has required institutions to strengthen the case for internationalisation by linking it more explicitly to institutional purpose. It argues that this development requires institutions to formulate approaches to internationalisation that are explicitly linked to vision and mission statements, that often directly cite the support and development of society in general and local communities specifically, as strategic institutional priorities. In turn, this requires an examination of how internationalisation is addressed in strategic statements and the implications for practical delivery. The paper is underpinned by the authors' understanding of the nature and operation of institutions of higher education which is exemplified by the MARS model. It briefly describes this model and argues that within it, internationalisation activities should be seen as a transversal theme, which affects all operations of the institution in a coordinated matter, rather than an isolated or 'exceptional' activity which can be allocated exclusively to specialised units such as the International Office-termed 'exceptionalism'. Exploring this theme further, the paper sets out how internationalisation should be embedded into all aspects of institutional operations in a way that is consistent with the hierarchy of priorities set out in the MARS model. A case study from Latin America in which this approach was adopted is presented in which some of the practical implications are considered. The paper concludes by exploring the implications of these outcomes and the potential for, and the nature of, future applications of the MARS model to the development and delivery of re-imagined internationalisation strategies in the post-COVID-19 world.