Internationalization audit process: Experiences for further activities

The Tempus Public Foundation (TPF) has carried out the assessment of the internationalization activities of ten Hungarian higher education institutions with the support of TÁMOP 4.2.4. B1 and B2 projects during the academic years 2013/2014 and 2014/2015. The aim of the programme was to analyse and to evaluate the position of these institutions in all areas of internationalization. 

The audit process was based on the assessment of several dimensions of the internationalization activities using qualitative and quantitative indicators. The applied methodology consisted of three steps:

  • self-assessment reports and the evaluation of these documents,
  • institutional visit;
  • overall assessment including the recommendations of the expert group.

The focus of the audits was on assisting the institutions to elaborate a development plan. The handbook for the expert teams was discussed in an international peer learning activity and it was published in the end of 2013.

The Tempus Public Foundation called the institutions to participate in the audit on voluntarily basis. Finally, ten higher education institutions were chosen, all of them with preliminary results in the international arena. Among the institutions one can find large universities from Budapest and from the countryside, large and emerging colleges, medical school, art school and a church-owned university.

The implementation of the audit project started with the selection and preparation of the assessors. The evaluation of the first bi-lingual self-assessment reports started at the beginning of 2014.

A few elements of the self-assessment reports can be generalized. In the last decade the institutions have become more active in formulating their internationalization strategy and it has been incorporated to the mission statement and to the institutional strategy. Some higher education institutions achieved outstanding results in various areas of internationalization:

  • new degree programmes have been offered in foreign languages;
  • participation in mobility activities increased a lot;
  • international units within the institutions have been established and strengthened;
  • the international research activity (publications, patents) also progressed.

The assessments listed typical problems, too: top management positions (e.g. vice-rector for international affairs) could be found only in exceptional cases; international activities of the faculties were not homogeneous; the institution did not have a separate budget for internationalization; there was a shortage in foreign faculty and staff members; international research activities have not been recognized properly.

In every case the expert team consisted of two Hungarian and a foreign expert. Following the institutional visit it produced a thorough final evaluation. Their approach was critical but very positive. The institutions appreciated that the recommendations were in accordance with the specifics of the organization.

The evaluation survey demonstrated that feedback was an important element of the audit, therefore the majority of the institutions are willing to run follow-up activities. Half of the institutions is open to subject themselves to a monitoring assessment visit later on.

Last modified: 02-11-2016