Ethical issues in transnational higher education: the case of international branch campuses
Taylor and Francis
The establishment of an international branch campus can impact upon a diverse range of stakeholders in both home and host countries. Many of the arguments against international branch campuses are based on ethical issues, such as the lack of academic freedom and civil liberties in host countries. Ignoring ethical issues may deny institutions the achievement of legitimacy, which can result in financial losses and reputational damage. Thus, the purpose of this article is to identify the ethical issues that higher education managers should recognise and address when considering the establishment of an international branch campus. A framework based on analysing how home and host country stakeholders might be impacted by the establishment of an international branch campus – and how they might influence higher education institutions – is proposed. It was found that institutions which are flexible, quick to learn, and possess the dynamic capabilities necessary to drive organisational change might be the institutions that have the greatest chance of success in foreign markets. Given that at the start of 2015, at least 24 new international branch campuses were planned or in the process of being built, it is concluded that higher education institutions will have to continue treading the thin line between trying to fit in with their host cultures while simultaneously trying to achieve academic freedom and improve local social, political, and legal conditions.
transnational higher education, international branch campuses, higher education strategy, international expansion, ethical issues, higher education commodification
Wilkins, S. (2017), Ethical issues in transnational higher education: the case of international branch campuses, Studies in Higher Education, 42(8), 1385-1400.