Measuring the success

After my recent blogs on internationalisation in higher education, the next step naturally seems to be is looking at how we can measure the success of internationalisation in higher education. One way to do this is by looking at the outcomes and impacts of internationalisation. A recent research by Hudzik and Stohl addresses this subject thorough manner. The full study can be found here.

In this blog last blog on the subject of internationalisation in higher education I will address some of their main points of focus. One of their first points is that internationalisation should permeate the missions and ethos of an institution in order to be successful, unfortunately this is not (yet) a universally shared view. This limited view creates a sort of bias towards the options of an integrated approach. I personally see this happening in institutions in the Netherlands. The will to weave internationsalisation in the existing curriculum is there, for some reason though it does not seem to happen. The policies are there, the management is on board, yet there is a major lack in the actual execution. Leaving the students searching in the dark of how on earth they are going to get this much wanted international experience.

Where could this come from? Firstly, one needs to take a close-up look at the institutions mission. Art programs, law programs, physical therapy programs, most institutions nowadays offer a wide variety of programs. It is unfair to expect the same goals for these programs when it comes to internationalisation, although they might share the same missions. This creates some sort of “alignment issues” that institutions struggle with. Then there are external factors, such as accreditation, university rankings, and also the general public demands, in which the options for international experience plays a bigger role year by year.

Back to the measuring part. What do we actually measure when it comes to internationalisation? We basically look at three elements: inputs, outputs and outcomes. Inputs focuses on the resources, outputs on the support, and outcomes on the impacts. What Hudzik and Stohl did, is they cross referenced core institutional functions: discovery, learning and engagement, with these three elements. They call it “dimensions for the assessment of internationalisation”. Below you can see some examples of these nine dimensions:


  • Input: internal and external support for faculty projects and activities abroad.
  • Output: publications by faculty and staff.
  • Outcomes: Strategic partnerships.


  • Input: the range of availability of courses, curricula and active learning.
  • Output: student enrollment in courses and active learning opportunities with international content.
  • Outcomes: evidence of impact on students, for example: knowledge, skills, attitudes, careers.


  • Input: money, people and resources.
  • Output: number of people involved or number of projects.
  • Outcomes: impact on the condition of the people and the community.

For more examples read the full research (see above), I think that this tool, this structured overview can give institutions an insight in their own performance. Maybe in some parts the focus turns out to be more on the outcomes than on the inputs.

To quote Hudzik and Stohl “Developing such tools serves to clarify and increase the institution’s opportunities and to encourage behaviors that promote engagement, the extension of the internationalisation effort and the outcomes of internationalisation.”