Teaching staff’s views about the internationalisation of higher education: the case of two bilingual communities in Spain

David Lasagabaster, Josep Maria Cots, Guzmán Mancho.

The process of internationalisation of higher education can be seen as fluctuating between two main discourses: economic competition and academic internationalisation (Bolsman & Miller, 2008). Within the former type of discourse, internationalisation is constructed as a means to generate income, in competition with other institutions, through the provision of research and teaching services of a high quality to as many ‘clients’ as possible. From the point of view of academic internationalism, internationalisation is represented as a joint enterprise by institutions from different countries for the advancement of human knowledge and intercultural understanding. In this paper we aim to explore the views of the teaching staff of two bilingual universities in Spain in connection with the process of internationalisation of their institution, placing a special emphasis on its impact on language policy.The sample of this study was made up of 173 university teaching staff who completed a questionnaire in which they were asked to express their views on issues such as internationalisation at higher education institutions, academic mobility and their attitudes towards multilingualism. The participants belonged to two officially bilingual universities in Spain, namely the University of Lleida (UdL) and the University of the Basque Country (UBC). Variables such as the sociolinguistic context, gender, mother tongue and age were considered when scrutinising the participants’ answers with a view to drawing a picture of internationalisation, which included opinions on academic mobility and multilingualism from the teaching staff’s perspective.