“University Administrators’ Visions for the Recovery of International Student Exchange in a Post–COVID-19 World”, by Yusuke Sakurai, Yukiko Ishikura, Ryoko Nakano, Yuki Nabeshima, Yu Sengoku, Akito Okada, and Sachihiko Kondo, was published in Higher Learning Research Communications.
【Research highlights】 Decision-making regarding the resumption of student international exchange programs by program coordinators varies depending on the type of institution and the presence of medical faculties.
Key Points of this Research:
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, university-level student international exchange programs, such as study abroad programs, have been gradually returning to a state of the pre-pandemic period.
This study investigates the information utilized by international student exchange program administrators at Japanese universities and their expected leadership of discussions for the resumption of exchange programs during the recovery phase from the pandemic.
The organizations and information sources expected to facilitate the discussion varied between national/public and private universities, as well as based on the presence of medical faculties.
The administrators of national/public universities expressed a stronger desire for leadership in decision-making from national and regional authorities, whereas private universities had a stronger expectation for international organizations to foster the resumption discussions.
Furthermore, among universities with medical faculties, there were more administrators who reported seeking advice from infectious disease experts in their institutions when making decisions, compared to universities without medical faculties.
Summary of the study
We conducted a survey to investigate what kind of information Japanese universities’ administrators of study abroad programs considered and which organizations they sought to coordinate resumption discussions with during the recovery phase from the COVID-19 pandemic. We obtained responses from administrators at 180 schools involved in decision-making regarding exchange programs in Japanese universities. The results revealed that the organizations and information sources relied upon for facilitating the discussion on resuming exchange programs varied not only between national/public and private universities but also based on the presence of medical faculties. Specifically, the administrators of national/public universities expressed a stronger desire for leadership in decision-making from national and regional authorities, while those of private universities had a greater expectation for international organizations to foster the resumption discussions. Moreover, administrators from universities with medical faculties reported seeking advice from infectious disease experts within their university more frequently compared to those from universities without medical faculties.
As we approach the first half of 2023, it may appear that the COVID-19 pandemic is heading towards its end; however, humanity has experienced the spread of large-scale global infectious diseases several times in the past. This research provides insights into how different organizations should collaborate to swiftly restore international learning opportunities for students during the recovery phase from a large-scale infectious disease. The variations in required information sources based on the characteristics of university organizations suggest the effectiveness of different policy supports in decision-making regarding the resumption of exchange programs during the recovery phase, considering the unique attributes of each university.