Benchmarking Internationalisation Outlook at Coimbra Group Universities


Countries participating in the benchmarking study

The Coimbra Group recognises that internationalisation is an important feature of all of our Universities where we pride ourselves on being culturally diverse academic communities of students and staff. Two very recent Coimbra Group high-level policy seminars highlighted the fact that our universities are very innovative in terms of internationalisation of the curriculum and employability and lifelong learning, areas where skills and competences in intercultural communication are critical.

We note that rankings and league tables and rankings judge our institutions on internationalisation using structural measures such as the number of international students registered, volume of mobility among students, international staff, citations of publications with international co-authors, and reputation surveys. Such measures do not accurately reflect student experience or highlight the opportunities available for personal development for students (home or international)  or staff in a culturally diverse university community.

There is a notable lack of evidence that can be used to assess and benchmark performance in key areas such as academic & social integration, language skills, opportunities for intercultural education and other skills relevant to the development of students and academics in culturally diverse universities.

The Benchmarking Project

The Coimbra Group Executive Board has discussed the feasibility of implementing a benchmarking study across our universities that will provide rich and detailed comparative data sets across our network as well as providing high-quality benchmarked data on internationalisation at the individual universities.

The Coimbra Group recognises that Benchmarking is timely for our members given:

1. The launch of the pilot phase of the European Universities initiative aimed at strengthening international partnerships and competitiveness across Europe
2. The recent political progress announced at the European Higher Education Area Conference held in Paris in May 2018 (see the Paris Communique and the Statement on the Fifth Bologna Policy Forum)
3. The excellent initiatives being made within our own member institutions and the need to disseminate good practice, as demonstrated by the Education Innovation working Group and at the Dublin and Brussels high-level policy fora on Education and Lifelong learning & employability

The GEP Survey Instruments

The Benchmarking project uses a new tool called the Global Education Profiler (GE-P), which was developed by Professor Helen Spencer Oatey and Dr Daniel Dauber at Warwick University and is now licensed to i-Graduate, a leading education survey company well known to many Coimbra Group members for the Student Barometer and International Student Barometer surveys.

By working as a network in partnership with i-Graduate , and with Helen Spencer Oatey and Daniel Dauber,  the Coimbra Group can have:

1. a very professional delivery mechanism that conducts surveys via email and on mobile devices;
2. a secure survey that maintains anonymity,
3. translation of the survey questions to fit local  language requirements, and
4. a professional reporting service for the quantitative and qualitative data.

The benefits to Coimbra Group members go beyond simple analysis each institution’s data. The anonymous benchmarking allows the Coimbra Group network to take a lead in assessing competencies and policy development to support internationalisation.

Link to the webinar organised for participating Coimbra Group universities: