European Journal of Language Policy

From profiling to pioneering

The drivers behind English-medium education at WU Vienna

European Journal of Language Policy (2021), 13, (2), 239–258.

Abstract

The first decade-and-a-half of the new millennium was a time of dramatic change for European universities. In response to the high level of competition on the international higher education market following the introduction of the Bologna process and the surging popularity of international rankings, universities are now looking for ways to differentiate themselves and their programmes. New English-taught programmes are increasingly seen as an opportunity to launch innovative curricula. This paper presents the results of a two-stage analysis of policy documents and expert interviews, revealing the drivers behind the decision to introduce English-medium education in the context of the ongoing internationalisation of higher education. The present study identified a shift in internationalisation efforts at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, one of Europe’s largest business universities. While in the past decade the drivers behind the implementation of English-medium programmes were primarily connected to the university’s profile and reputation, the latest data show they are now characterised by the university’s aim to be perceived as an innovator and a pioneer.

Der Beginn des Millenniums war von großen Veränderungen im europäischen Hochschulbereich geprägt. Die Einführung der Bologna Struktur forcierte den Wettbewerb am internationalen Hochschulmarkt sowie den Einfluss internationaler Ranglisten, was zur Folge hat, dass Universitäten stetig um Weiterentwicklung und Innovation bemüht sein müssen, um mit ihren Studiengängen aus der Masse hervorzustechen. Die Einführung neuer englischsprachiger Studienprogramme wird oft als Chance wahrgenommen, innovative Curricula zu implementieren. Im vorliegenden Beitrag werden die Ergebnisse einer zwei-Phasen Analyse von universitären Strategiedokumenten und Experteninterviews präsentiert, mit dem Ziel, die Motive hinter der Einführung englischsprachiger Studiengänge zum Vorschein zu bringen. Die Untersuchung an der Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (WU Wien) zeigt einen klaren Richtungswechsel in der Internationalisierungsstrategie einer der größten europäischen Wirtschaftsuniversitäten. Während in der letzten Dekade die Beweggründe für die Internationalisierungsinitiativen der WU Wien vorrangig mit dem Ruf und der Positionierung der Universität zu tun hatten, liegt der Fokus jetzt klar darauf, als Pionierin und Innovatorin angesehen zu werden.

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Details

Author details

Komori-Glatz, Miya

Schmidt-Unterberger, Barbara