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Academic Staff Mobility in the Baltics: Brain Gain, Brain Drain or Brain Circulation?

Sun, June 3, 8:15 to 9:45am, History Corner (450 Serra Mall, Building 200), 205


Academic staff mobility is often associated with excellence in teaching and research as well as increased international visibility and reputation of universities. Yet, mobility does not always affect all parties equally. Instead, it can be witnessed that academic centres, usually located in larger and wealthier countries, attract flows of academic centres from the peripheries (Altbach, 2004; Scott, 2015). In this study we explore the situation of academic staff mobility in the peripheral higher education systems of the Baltic countries: Lithuania and Estonia. The main research question is: What are facilitating factors and barriers to attracting and retaining academic talent in the Baltic countries?

Based on the literature on academic staff mobility, including motivations and barriers to mobility, and the role of institutional and governmental strategies and policies for mobility (Teichler, 2015) we compare the policies and practices regarding international academic mobility in Lithuania and Estonia. For this purpose we have conducted a literature and document review of the national framework conditions for mobility in these countries, a survey of Lithuanian academics at 8 universities regarding their experiences and intentions of going abroad, and a two case studies of universities in Lithuania and Estonia. Besides document and website analysis, semi structured interviews with academics and managers were conducted. All interviews have been recorded, transcribed, coded and analysed according using Qualitative Content Analysis (Mayring, 2007).

Short Bio

Prof. Leisyte has published three books, a number of chapters in edited books and peer-reviewed articles in Higher Education, Higher Education Policy, Public Administration, Public Management, Science and Public Policy. In 2008 she received the Early Career Best Paper Award in the PRIME conference in Mexico City for the paper on professional autonomy of university research units. In 2008 she was awarded a postdoctoral fellow position in the Visiting Scholars Programme at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University. During her stay at the Center she pursued research on university linkages with industry in high-tech research units, comparing the United States and Europe and carried out the study on the implementation of the Bologna reforms in Lithuania.

She holds an MPhil degree in International Comparative Education from Oslo University and PhD degree in Public Management from the University of Twente. Ten years’ experience at the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies at the University of Twente meant acquisition, involvement in and managing various research projects in the field of higher education and research policy, governance and management of universities and academic practices funded by the DFG, the EU, various national governments and higher education institutions. Since 2003 she has been a coordinator of institutional evaluations of the European University Association’s Institutional Evaluation Programme.

Anna Lena Rose is research assistant of Prof. Leisyte at the Center for Higher Education at TU Dortmund University. She holds MSc degree from University of Twente and University of Münster and currently is writing a PhD at TU Dortmund Universitz.