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Type: Thesis
Title: Academic staff mobility and migration: Ex-USSR academic migrants in South Australian higher education
Author: Morozov, Anna
Issue Date: 2018
School/Discipline: School of Education
Abstract: An integral aspect of the globalisation and internationalisation of higher education has been a significant increase in academic mobility. While much of the research into academic mobility focuses on student behaviors and experiences, the mobility of academic staff of universities has not yet been systematically researched. This case study, then, explores academic mobility and migration issues for academic staff in Australia. The primary objective is the investigation of the experiences of academic migrants from the countries of the former Soviet Union, who moved to Australia during the period 1990–2015. The case study employs a social transformation perspective, which focuses on the broad global processes of social and economic changes instigated by migration, and for its primary data draws on interviews with twenty-four academics, conducted in a combination of English and Russian. Scholarly literature, Australian migration legislation and associated program documentation and Australian Bureau of Statistics material have also been sourced to provide the context of the study. Content analysis of the interview data has revealed two broad topics - non-academic migration experiences and academic work experiences - and six main themes: migration motivations, settlement experiences, academic career, and teaching, supervision, and research experiences. The research demonstrates that all of the expected “push” and “pull” factors of migration have been at play. However, the findings indicate that, for study participants, economic factors rank as secondary to the professional and social migration motivations; this supports the social transformation approach that migration is driven not only by economic, but also—importantly—by socio-cultural and political factors. This study also shows younger academic migrants seeing themselves as global academics rather than identifying closely with any national group; this trend is consistent with the ideas of transnational academia and global brain circulation. Within the multicultural, global academy, it can be easy to assume that practices are the same in universities everywhere; however, this study reveals that local university cultures can be markedly different from each other. The results reveal that participants’ specific education and work experiences during the Soviet and post- Soviet periods have influenced the ways these academics perform in Australian higher education. To their credit, most participants from the ex-USSR report effectively negotiating their new and old academic experiences and successfully integrating into the Australian education system. Nevertheless, the study data indicate that the multicultural academy does not provide for these staff as effectively as it might; better university induction programs would allow for smoother settlement and acculturation into the new workplace. Furthermore, the study results demonstrate that, despite the official rhetoric lauding multiculturalism in the workplace, in practice universities do little to recognise the value of the diversity of international academics. The benefits from the multicultural diversity of international staff are thus not maximised. This case study points to the tensions associated with the globalisation and internationalisation of higher education and the lived experience within the multicultural academy.
Advisor: Guerin, Cally
Green, Ian
Sevoyan, Arusyak
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Education, 2018
Keywords: Academic mobility
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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