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Impacts of Vietnamese University Faculty Members Studying Abroad

Tue, April 16, 1:30 to 3:00pm, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Bay (Level 1), Bayview B


The last several decades saw a significant growth in the flow of cross-border students, scholar and ideas as well as higher education enrolment (Albatch, 2009; Hollifield et al., 2014). The “massification” of higher education requires a shift from elite to more widely accessible models (Atbach, 2009) by bringing international content into learning, research, and outreach for all students and faculty in their home institutions (Altbach, 2015).

As a developing country, Vietnam has used internationalization of higher education as a means of transforming their education system. This can be seen clearly from their policy over the past decade. In 2015, The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) announced it is recruiting 1,300 candidates for Ph.D. training programs in many foreign countries as part of Project 911 on training Ph.D. instructors for universities and colleges in Vietnam in the 2010-2020 period. Project 911 sets a target that Vietnam will have at least 20,000 more Ph.D. degree holders by 2020, half of which will be trained in reputable universities and colleges around the world in order to increase the number of Ph.D. instructors as well as improve educational quality in the country. However, according to MOET, after five years of implementation (2012-2016), only 3,800 PhD students have been trained under Project 911. A budget of 14 trillion VND was allocated to implement Project 911. No clear evidence has been found on the effectiveness of the project and yet MOET recently revealed a new draft plan to spend up to 12 trillion VND (533 million USD) to train 9,000 PhD holders for Vietnam by 2025.

This study examines the impacts of the studying abroad experience of Vietnamese university faculty members and its role in national development. The study is guided by two research questions:

What are the impacts of faculty members studying abroad on the integration of international content and perspective into the curriculum and faculty professional development networks?

How does the study abroad experience impact their subsequent behaviors and attitudes nationally, regionally, and globally?

To address these research questions, the case study approach includes literature review, policy and documentation analysis, qualitative in-depth interviews with faculty who have study abroad experience and quantitative data gathered through surveys at leading universities in Vietnam. Based on the results, implications and recommend directions will be drawn for future research and policy.


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