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Hanze University wishes to be internationally well known as a leading provider of professionally oriented higher education in the European higher education area. (B. Visser & C. Stumpel, 2009)A clear and concise definition of the concept of internationalization is provided by Futao Huang:
Human exchange; mainly of students, teachers and researchers
The exchange and accreditation of programs, courses and degrees, sharing of curriculums
Research project activities, including the organization of international conferences and joint research, mainly for presenting research results and academic exchange. (Huang,F.)
Another clear definition of the concept of internationalization is provided by Knight (1999); in order to perform professionally and socially in a multicultural and international environment; it is required to increase cross border activities and universities to provide an ongoing education which boosts global knowledge, language and skills
Hanze University wishes to be internationally well known as a leading provider of professionally oriented higher education in the European education area. The strategic goal is to evolve into a respected European university of applied sciences. (Road to Excellence, 2010). The strategic plan of HUG aims at being successful in the internationalization environment. The aim is to adopt a system of easily readable and comparable degrees that are undergraduate, graduate and PhD; to increase the transparency of European higher education in terms of Dublin Description; mutual recognition of degrees and qualifications by educational institutions and employers; promotion of mobility of students and teachers; strengthening of the necessary European dimensions in higher education; promotion of Life Long Learning, promotion of European co-operation in quality assurance (Focus,2010). Thus, SICM requires emphasizing its international ambition and policy in order to have selection criteria.
Background to the study
In 1995, Hanze University of Groningen was stimulated by the Erasmus program of the European Union to start their internationalization by getting exchange partners within Europe. They had only four partner universities from Germany, Spain, Sweden and England in 1996. Now, only the School of Communication and Media (SICM) has 83 partners around the world. 
In this section, the clear and complete description of the assignment and objective from the client's perspectives will be clarified. The client is Ryan Schepers, the International coordinator of SICM.
Ryan has indicated the following issues: the overall requirements of the current partner universities do not correlate with those of SICM; in some of the partner universities, the curriculum language is not English; the academic curriculums do not correlate with the ones at SICM; both BA and Master programs are not always available to the students. Furthermore, a great number of partner universities are not 'universities of applied sciences'. These issues impact student's motives, aspirations and choices of a particular university for their exchange period. SICM aims to have more exchange between teachers as well as students. As SICM only had one or two incoming and outgoing teachers last years, I won't be doing any interviews among teachers.
Although SICM has a large number of partner universities which is necessary because all international communication students are obliged to go abroad, the client is not satisfied with the quality of some partner universities. Therefore; Ryan emphasized the necessity for a more structured and effective network. She also states the following requirements for SICM Internationalization;
To work on SICM majors for incoming students(choosing course modules) and about Dutch students to be more international oriented by going abroad
To establish an effective function of SICM on teachers in order to exchange teachers as well as students and work on common projects with partner universities.
To be updated the existed website contains only Partner universities' names in order to provide more information about each partner university exchange programmes, accommodation, life style, etc.
To acquire more employees who can work between partner universities and SICM in order to communicate efficiently.
The primary aim of SICM is to select the number of partner Universities according to their academic curriculums that match with SICM, thereby acquiring a more international aspect. As Ryan indicated in the meeting, the main goal is to create a balanced university network fulfilling ICM standards through the analysis of partner universities study programs, SICM students' interests, teachers exchange and the current network features.
The sub problems are indicated in the LRFM that to understand the main problem and approach to find a solution with a full understanding of the current situation of partner universities.
In the report, the main problem of this project will be clarified. The primary research questions will be formulated according to three main sub problems. The sub questions will help reveal the overall issues surrounding the main research area. Moreover, the relevant communication theories will support the research for a theoretical approach to the solution of the problem.
The main goal is to formulate number of recommendations in order to balance the international network enhancing SICM standards through the analysis of SICM student and teacher interest, study programs features, current partner universities features.
As this researched is focused only SICM department of Hanze University of Groningen, the following organizational both internal and external analysis will be only focused on within the SICM department. The Internal stakeholders are Ryan Schepers, country coordinators, SICM second and third year students and teachers. And the external stakeholders are partner universities.
The school of Communication and Media (SICM) is one of the 20 schools of the Hanze University. The SICM exists with over 400 international students from more than 40 countries and has 143 employees which primarily consist of teachers that are supported by staff. (Hanze University, 2012).
The SICM consists of four degree programmes; IC (International Communication), CO (Communication, Dutch version), CS (Communication System) and IDM (Information, Management and Service). Although SICM has four different degree programmes, more than 90% of the exchange students come from IC programme which is the international programme. This explains why SICM has a great numbers of partner universities.
Next to that, the school for Communication and Media (ICM) offers 6 different majors to it's around 2000 students within three fields of study: CO, CS and IDM. The communication programme offers two majors: CO (Communication in Dutch) and IC (International communication in English). CS offered three majors in Dutch; Multimedia Design& Branding, Game Design& Development and Web& Mobile Services. IDM offers only one major IN Dutch; Media& Information Management. (Loves& Spakman,2010,p.7)
The School of Communication and Media offers 9 Exchange/Certificate Programmes as minor and specialization for its own and international incoming exchange students. These are fixed course modules;
Creating Communication campaign, Journalism, Game on, Information& Innovation, International Aid& Development and Public Affairs which runs from the beginning of September until the end of January as the first semester. In the second semester, between the beginning of February and till the end of June, it is offered; Creating an International Event, International Aid & Development and International Business Communication. (Hanze University, 2012)
Mission and vision of SICM
The mission of SICM gives focus to its activities:
''The Institute for Communication and Media trains entrepreneurial, socially-responsible and internationally oriented professionals for careers in the field of Communications, Information Management and Media, and contributes to knowledge circulation and innovation on an international level.'' (Oudshoorn&Kempen,2012,p.4)
''This means that our programmes provide students with opportunities to develop into '' socially responsible and internationally oriented'' professions in the future, and that also give opportunities to all students in order to make individual study choices to profile individually themselves as a distinctive professional. The school of communication and Media absolutely facilities this by providing an effective study programmes for students to explore and develop their own competencies which are certainly important step for their future chosen career path.'' (Oudshoorn&Kempen,2012,p.4)
The vision of SICM;
'' Share your talent. Move the world.'' This means that through communication you can build awareness and help people improve their quality of life. (Hanze University,2012)
The four degree programmes are on the way of improving their own quality and being international oriented with their minors and majors. The IC (International communication) already shows the importance of international vision of SICM by having a high number of partner universities from different countries and a high number of international students compare to other degrees (CO, CS and IDM) . Ryan Schepers would like SICM to expand the focus on internationalization not only for IC but also for in the other degrees of SICM although other degrees have Dutch students and teaching language is Dutch. Therefore; as Dutch people should understand the meaning of Internationalization and be part of it , it is of importance to place them within other European Countries or outside the Europe.
Objectives of SICM
To select a number of partner Universities according to their academic curriculums that match with SICM criteria.
To establish an effective communication between SICM and its partner universities.
To establish a function in order to influence students motives to opt a particular host university
2.2.3 Current situation of the organization
The school of communication and Media is one of the 18 schools of the Hanze University. It started in 2003 and were only about 200 students attending at the very beginning. But now it is growing very fast since it has more than 2000 students including 400 international students from 83 partner universities around the world.
As can be viewed in the SICM organizational chart  , the SICM organizational structure is horizontal meaning that for internationalization purposes the country coordinators who are at the same level and the International Coordinator of SICM shares their ideas and suggest solutions in order to bring the internationalization of SICM to a better level and the International Coordinator of SICM in turn reports to the dean of SICM.
Next to that, SICM organizational structure is not strictly hierarchical, just like other schools of the Hanze employ upwards and downwards communication simultaneously, meaning that employees at the top of the hierarchy communicate with the ones at lower levels and vice versa. This actually makes it easy for every staff member to communicate with the upper level members since they are communicating indirectly with team leaders and coordinators. The overall work environment in the SICM is generally informal, since the school only has 143 employees which primarily consist of teachers that are supported by staff.
There are 8 country coordinators who are providing information to second year students and monitoring 3rd year outgoing exchange students. They also communicate with partner universities minimum once or maximum two times in a year. These country coordinators are the lecturers of SICM who are very busy with lecturers, assignments, students and other issues related to study. That's why; they hardly spend time in order to communicate with partner universities. Also, it is very difficult to deal with outgoing exchange students individually. The last few years, ISID (International student Info Desk) was providing information for the second year students of IC, CO, CS and IDM for the exchange semester. There were only interns working as employees for a semester. And every semester they had different semester who are always new for the position. The name of the office has been changed to '' Global Links(ICM External Affairs Office) but again, Interns are working as employees and every semester different interns take this responsibility.
Next to that, Country coordinators are not able to visit partner universities because of lack of facilities they got from SICM. But in near future, SICM hopefully will provide facility for country coordinators to be able to visit the partner universities. Therefore, country coordinators should make a plan to visit the partner universities per year.
Apart from country coordinators, International student office (ISO) has been working as a link between SICM (country coordinators and students) and Partner Universities. ISO has been taking care of all international outgoing and incoming exchange students of the Hanze University regarding enrollment, visas, and insurances, housing and finances issues.
The communication of the management team is a two-way flow of both communication and information in order to maintain the quality of cooperation. As communication tools, word of mouth and meetings take an important place. Next to that, an electronic learning environment is one of the most important ways of communicating faster. The management team invests in the education and training of teachers, in order to facilitate personal and professional growth of the team members.
According to Cornelissen, the culture of SICM is a combination of a person oriented culture, which reflects the importance of individual development, and a task oriented culture which is focused on team work for the projects (Cornelissen, 2008). The person culture is focused on individuals who are staffs and it is very hard to manage as they work on their own. For instance; country coordinators who are working on their own and dealing with not only partner universities, but also students, lectures, and working also as academic counselors. Next to that, SICM has a strong task culture as can be seen in all degree programmes of SICM, focused on team works staff, teacher and students in projects. Ryan Schepers is the international coordinator of SICM and working effectively with country coordinators for incoming and outgoing exchange students.
4.3 Communication analysis
When students wish to acquire information about a particular partner university, the SICM refers them to the partner universities on Hanze website, where students receive direct links to the official websites of the universities. It is unclear, however, whether and how the courses of the partner university match the ones at the SICM; there is no information available on this subject that would help facilitate the student's decision making process. In regard to the SICM internationalization policy, there are internal key players  .
According to interviews with students from SICM (see appendix, interview transcripts), the current partner network features are very important, for them to choose where to go and which program they would like to study. Furthermore, the financial issue takes an important place to make students' choices. . Some of the students only make their choices according to their financial situation. After returning from the exchange university, the students are required to complete an ACC8 assignment, where students can share their experiences from the study abroad. But the questions are limited and are not included important questions, which would result in a more comprehensive evaluation system for the SICM partner university network. The outgoing students are very important as well as the incoming students. Since the incoming students are monitored by SICM, there are enough data regarding accommodation, the study program they chose, etc. In the meantime, there is a link calls ''student experience'' to reach the students evaluations after they come back from their study abroad semester. It a new facility for the second year students. Moreover; there is a website which only contains partner universities but it is not functioning very well. The website should contains not only partner universities names and official website links but also, their offered courses, university information, accommodation, study programmes, living in a country etc. this will help to country coordinators in order not to be overlapped with a bunch of questions from students and also useful for student motivation and help to opt a partner university.
4.3.1 Internal Communication
Internal communication, which refers to "the exchange of information between the management and the internal public groups of an organization", is the backbone of every functional organization. The objective of internal communication is "reaching organizational and/or individual goals." Unprofessional and neglectful internal communication can lead to misunderstandings, loss of employee motivation, false rumors, criticism and even minor crisis. (Herle & Rustema, 2005).
Cornelissen points out that traditionally, internal communication is defined as "communication with employees internally within the organization" (Cornelissen, 2008). SICM employs both formal and informal channels of communication. The formal ones include email, internal memos and briefings, etc. The informal channels include talks during lunch breaks or at the coffee machine, rumors etc.
The main communication aids are the meetings to give structure to decision making and further development of the issue. Since the country coordinators are busy with their own busy schedule like lectures, students, etc. , it is important to make an appointment in advance to discuss the third year students curiosity about their host country and university. Also, they need to have meetings with Ryan for the process of the task of partner universities when it is necessary. As Ryan indicated, each country coordinator can only spend 8 hours per year for responding student questions, contacting partner universities and having meeting with Ryan Schepers. This is absolutely not enough time for the development and expanding the partner universities to be internationalized. This also causes inefficient communication internally.
The main external stakeholders that are paramount to the fulfillment of SICM's internationalization policy are the current partner universities. It is therefore important that SICM should "provide each stakeholder group with specific information and build a strong reputation across exchanges with all of these stakeholders" (Cornelissen, 2008).
4.4.1 External communication
The current communication is not enough with partners; several partners are inactive in the SICM partner university network. It is known that communication is insufficient and ineffective with current partner universities. Next to that, the SICM currently has insufficient data to assess whether the linguistic and curricular criteria of the partner universities are compatible with the ones at SICM.
Not having clear partner network and their respective curriculum selection criteria creates unclearness and hinders successful future partner network selection.
Cornelissen (2008) defines stakeholders as "any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of the organization's purpose and objectives".
The key external players regarding the SICM internationalization policy are the current partner universities and the representatives of those universities (i.e. the ones who also deal with partnerships and exchange). A comprehensive stakeholder analysis can be seen in the Power-Interest matrix  .
According to a Desk research, the academic curriculums and linguistic requirements at partner universities don't correlate with the ones at SICM;
There are only 11 current partner networks which are "university of applied sciences" out of 83 partner networks;
Currently 58 partner universities which teach in English;
Not all partner universities have both BA and Master academic programs.
As indicated, there has been an ongoing increase in the number of exchange students in the last five years (see appendix 9.4).
The result of incoming exchange students last five years 
In year 2007/2008, there were 46 incoming exchange students from 34 partner universities. In year 2008/2009, there were 44 incoming exchange students from 40 partner universities. In year 2009/2010, there were 56 incoming exchange students from 52 partner universities. In year 2010/2011, there were 67 incoming exchange students from 64 partner universities. In year 2011/2012, there were 82 incoming exchange students from 75 partner universities.
The result of outgoing students last five years 
In year 2007/2008, there were 63 outgoing exchange students to 34 partner universities. In year 2008/2009, there were 47 outgoing exchange students to 40 partner universities. In year 2009/2010, there were 59 outgoing exchange students to 52 partner universities. In year 2010/2011, there were 100 outgoing exchange students to 64 partner universities. In year 2011/2012, there were 63 outgoing exchange students to 75 partner universities.
Discernibly there is a misbalance between incoming/outgoing exchange students and the number of partner universities. It is a result from a lack of communication within SICM and with current partner universities. SICM only provides 8 country coordinators to be responsible for 83 partner universities which cause ineffective communication with current partner universities. This result in a lack of information about the motivations behind the decisions that second year ICV students and SICM staff make about their study abroad. Hence, it affects the external communication with current partner universities. As the communication is ineffective in communicating with partners; SICM is not aware of the current relationship with partners since several current partners are inactive.
Temporary research questions
Although there is a large number of partner universities, the current communication is lacking with partners; several partners are inactive in the SICM partner university network. The communication is insufficient with current partner universities.
In order to create a balanced university network enhancing ICM standards through the analysis of SICM student and staff interest, study programs features, current partner universities features and SICM needs a more successful communication process. This brings up the question:
How to create a balanced university network enhancing ICM standards through the analysis of SICM student and teacher interest, study programs features, current partner universities features?
Main temporary research question: How to create a balanced university network enhancing ICM standards through the analysis of SICM student and teacher interest, study programs features, current partner universities features?
Sub problem for RQ 1
Unknown 2.nd year students and teachers motivations/reasons for choosing a particular partner university
What are the current CO, CS, IC and IDM students and teachers profiles alike for the exchange period in year 3?
Sub problem for RQ 2
Large number of partner universities due to unclearness in past SICM selection Criteria
Primary RQ 2
What are the correlative academic curriculums (and official study languages) of each partner university of SICM?
Sub problem for RQ 3
Insufficient communication with current partner universities due to the high number of partner networks.
Primary RQ 3
How can SICM restructure their partner network and create more effective communication approach?
This section will explain the theoretical framework which will be used for this research. The research will be based on qualitative research and theoretical background with the definitions of some concepts. The following paragraphs will shortly describe the most essential theories and concepts based on the primary research questions for the actual outcome of this research. In Order to limit the research, each primary research question has a subsection has been selected  .
Motivations and Reasons
This research dimension is the interest of student and teacher related to their motives and choices to create a balanced university network enhancing ICM standards through the analysis of SICM student and teacher interest?
Student and teacher motivation is the primary focus in the first primary research area. The meaning of motivation is a complex amalgam of all factors at work at a given point in time that influence an organism's "movement" toward a goal. Like all animals, humans respond to drive states that are governed most basically by hormonal and neural processes (Leise, 2006). Hence, in order to understand student and staff motives, the motivation theory will be applied.
Cognitive Decision Making Theory and Pull-Push theory
The purpose of the first sub problem is to analyze the factors which influence the motives of students and teacher in choosing a particular partner university. Since it involves qualitative research, there will be a combination of two theories: cognitive decision making theory and push-pull theory for the decision making process. Cognitive decision-making (CDM) is human-like decision-making, it is more like a mental process. This process can be a continues process while interacting with an environment. It can include the most important information about them and the possibility of their application. The theory approaches the understanding of students and teacher interest, their choices and analyzes how they make their decision. Gadomski, A. M. (2006).
The pull-push theory has a big role on decision making process and selection of particular university. The research also identifies the pull strategy of partner universities that students and teachers make their choices according to the certain criteria which match ones at SICM. Apparently, both "cognitive decision making" and "pull-push factors" have a big role on the students' choices.
6.1.2 Sociology theory
Moreover, this also supported by sociology theory. As a theoretical point of view, Sociology is actually defined as a science that studies the behavior of large populations like any kind of groups and their own point of views. For many years, students are sent or received in every country for a higher education. The exchange student and staff of SICM are influenced by demographic, economic, geographic, political and social differentials between sending and receiving countries that ''push'' student to leave their home countries and that ''pull'' them to countries that students and staff perceive better opportunities. (Gitzer & Ryan, 2011)
Dervin (sense making approach)
The concept of sense-making approach has been used during the interviews with second year students of SICM. The theory was developed by Dervin(1989) and this helped answering one of the research questions, '' What is the current CO, CS, IC and IDM students and teacher profiles alike for the exchange period in year 3?''. And finding an approach to solve the sub problem.'' Unknown 2.nd year student and teacher motivations/reasons for choosing a particular partner university''.
The sense making is a focus of the approach, how people make sense of their worlds. The sense making attempts to provide a systematic approach to listen to the audience as how they see their situations, past, present, future and how they move to construct sense and make meaning of these situations.(Dervin,1989,p.77)
Person treat information as means to ends and not ends in themselves: Their seeking and use of information is best predicted based on how their situations, the constraints they face, the gaps they need to bridge and the kind of bridges they would like to build across their gaps. (Dervin,1989,p.77). Dervin(1989) points out that the essential part of the sense making approach is the gap and how people analyze and bridge the gap in their life. The gap means is the problem. So applying this to the research area, students define their problems of the situation and constructing a bridge means that they solve this problem. At the stage of bridging the gap, students gather information and absorb it. Then they create ideas which help them to bridge the gap in their life.
Elaboration Likelihood Model(ELM)
In 1993, Elaboration Likelihood Model was presented by Petty and Cacioppo. This theory is a model of persuasion, about the way attitudes are formed and changed. The main point of this theory is the overall Elaboration from low taught attitude to high taught attitude which cause changes in attitudes. The attitude are changed since the emotion support the persuasion process. According to the extent of the elaboration, Petty labeled the two cognitive process the central route and the peripheral route to analyze the different process which mediate persuasion(Petty and Cacioppo,1986,p.217)
The central route involves ''message elaboration'' which one thinks carefully about an issue in a persuasive communication manner. In a systematic way, people using the central route scrutinizing the content of the argument and trying to figure out whether they have true merit , and changing their attitude on the merit of the argument. Most of the students are changing their attitude according to the information they received from a speech or an advertisement( a message). And then, the student has a cognitive response to the message which helps to determine the persuasive outcome, changing attitude.
The peripheral route involves ''attitude change'' based on a variety of cues that allow one to make quick decision. It is a route of accept or reject a message without thinking actively about the attributes of the issue. Students think of a situation of where to go, what to study or whether should go for study abroad or not by relying on a variety of cues which make allow them to make quick decision instead of doing extensive cognitive work. These cues are; Judgments ( e.g,'' Professors are always right''), social proof (e.g, '' everybody' arguments are the same''), scarcity(e.g.'' obtain it before it is too late'').
Students who are motivated can take a further and right decision by thinking consciously and make their decision. This can be happen with the way of Central route. However; students who are stay away from an argument and think surface features of the message that they support the speech or not. In this case, student take the peripheral route for the decision making process.
This research is aiming at creating a balanced university network enhancing ICM standards through the analysis of study program features.
The term ''Curriculum'' literal translation is ''a course'' in Greek. The meaning of curriculum was '' a racing chariot; currere'' means to run. A clear and concise definition of the concept of Curriculum is provided by Kerr ''All the learning which is planned and guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups or individually, inside or outside the school."(quoted in Kelly1983: 10; see also, Kelly 1999).
Philosophy is also part of the curriculum decisions: with a framework of organizing schools and classrooms. It provides answers to the questions: what are the school's purposes? How do students learn and what methods and materials to use for this purpose? Etc. Philosophy also enables the students to determine the goals of education, its organization, subject content, and learning and teaching process; generally Philosophy fosters and facilitates experiences and activities to uptake in schools and classrooms. (Ornstein, 1991)
The ''intercultural dimension'' stands for teaching, learning and research in the context of the internationalization of higher education. Since language and culture are the center of any process of teaching and learning, there is a need for intercultural dimension in international education. Four constructions of ''the cultural'' dimensions are identified in teaching and learning in the context of internationalization: the cultural as content, the cultural as communication skills, the cultural as relocation; and the cultural as diversity. These constructions address a challenge of how to understand and work with multiple languages and cultures in teaching and learning in any condition. (Crichton & Scarino, 2007)
This research dimension focuses on Networking, in order to create an effective internal and external communication to balance university network enhancing ICM standards through the analysis of current partner universities features.
A clear definition of a network is given by Waaserman and Faust: a social network consists of a set of actors ("nodes") and the relations ("ties" and "edges") between these actors. (Wasserman&Faust, 1994). The nodes can be named as "organizations, groups, individuals and societies". The ties refer to a level of analysis like "individual to individual ties" or refer to cross levels of analysis "individual to group ties". According to network researches, there can be communication ties between different groups, such as who talks to whom, or who gives information or advice to whom; formal ties, such as who reports to whom; affective ties, such as who likes whom, or who trusts whom; material or work flow ties, such as who gives money or other resources to whom; proximity ties, who is spatially or electronically close to whom, and cognitive ties, such as who knows whom (Katz, Lazer & Arrow, 2004). In this research, different ties will refer to different groups between SICM and partner networks, such as individual to individual, group to individual or individual to group and it will build the communication between different types of groups. There are some strong connections between our partner universities and SICM. This research purpose is to find out the structure, combination of some common works between partner universities and find a network approach to combine the partners' structure and SICM standard for future oriented Networks. As defined before, this network approach is based on the different types of ties between relationship to partners and employees (related to partner universities) at SICM.
7.1 Main goal
The primary aim of SICM is to select a number of partner Universities according to their academic curriculums that match with SICM. As the client indicated in the meeting, main goal is to formulate a number of recommendations to come to balance the international network enhancing ICM standards through the analysis of SICM student and teacher interest, study programs features, current partner universities features.
The main goal is what the partner universities should be like; the preferred curriculum language is English ; the academic curriculums should be correlated with the ones at SICM; the partner university also has to have both BA and Master programs. The client emphasized the necessity for more effective network.
The sub problems are indicated in the LRFM that to understand the main problem and approach the solution with a full understanding of the current situation of partner universities.
Main Problem: Although SICM has many partner universities, there are no clear selections. Therefore; there is a lack of coherency regarding the partner networks: in terms of disparity in curriculum, language barriers, student and teacher interest.
Goal of Research: To create a balanced university network enhancing ICM standards through the analysis of SICM student and teacher interest, study programs features, current partner universities features.
Sub-Problem 1: Unknown 2.nd year student and teacher motivations/reasons for choosing a particular partner university.
Main influence factors: Interest of SICM student and teacher
Primary Research Question 1: What is the current CO, CS, IC and IDM students and teacher profiles alike for the exchange period in year 3?
Sub objective: Interest
Sub-Problem 2: Large number of partner universities due to unclearness in SICM selection Criteria.
Main influence factors: SICM curriculum criteria, SICM curricular and linguistic requirements.
Primary Research Question 2: What are the correlative academic curriculums (and official study languages) of each partner university of SICM?
Sub objective: Study Programs
Sub-Problem 3: Insufficient communication with current partner universities due to the high number of partner networks.
Main influence factors: Key players 
Primary Research Question 3: How can SICM restructure their partner network and create more effective communication approach?
Sub objective: Current Network Features
My research will enlighten the subject of internationalization with our partner universities and aim to recommend an appropriate internationalization policy of SICM. Only qualitative research will be conducted. The focus question is:
How to create a balanced university network enhancing ICM standards through the analysis of SICM student and staff interest, study programs features, current partner universities features?
The sub problems are indicated in the LRFM in order to understand the main problem and how to find a good solution with a full understanding of the current situation of partner universities.(see appendix 9.5) In this case study, it becomes clear that SICM currently has insufficient data to assess whether the linguistic and curricular criteria of the partner universities are compatible with the ones at SICM. Both primary and secondary research activities are conducted to obtain deeper investigation of the issue "SICM partner networks problem", following which multiple sources will be analyzed within a case. This research can be classified as a case study. (Saunders, 2009).
In this case, qualitative research will give the researcher opportunities to use many data and improve the data by allowing flexibility to gain more appropriate and meaningful results. This study uses an inductive approach to gain deeper understanding of the case which places emphasis on qualitative data. Therefore, Case-study method will make it possible to develop a deeper understanding of the topic. (Saunders,2009) As a qualitative researcher, 32 semi-structured interviews will be relied on. In depth interviews will be conducted with the key players of SICM: country coordinators etc. In depth interviews will be conducted in order to obtain a more comprehensive picture of each aspect of the issues. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted mostly with the existing students and teachers of SICM, in order to receive relevant information about the topics of interest; this will not only focus on facts but also opinions. (see the table below)
Type of interview
Number of interview
2nd year SICM Students
3rd year SICM students
Primary research questions were formulated to obtain the most necessary data;
Primary research question 1) what is the current CO, CS, IC and IDM students and teachers profile alike for the exchange period in year 3?
The first question is concerned with a lack of information about the motivations behind the decisions that second year ICV students and SICM teachers make about their study abroad. To answer this research question, both secondary documentary data and mostly primary data will be used.
Primary research question 2) what are the correlative academic curriculums (and official study languages) of each partner university of SICM?
This second question is concerned with the SICM curriculum and those of the partner universities. The disparity of curriculum has resulted from lack of SICM selection criteria, which are the actual problem. For this question, secondary documentary data and primary data will be used in further research. The official website of partner universities, Hanze official website and second and third year SICM students, country coordinators interview transcripts will be used to answer the second primary research question.
Primary research question 3) How can SICM restructure their partner network and create more effective communication approach?
This question is concerned with the networking approach and focused on restructuring SICM partner Universities, therefore this part is at the heart of this case study. Mostly Documentary based secondary data was used for answering the question above. In further research, the same data will be used. To answer this question, different secondary data sources are used; journal article, the official website of each partner universities, official internal SICM data, reports from ISO (International student office), as well as literature. Only one interview based primary data was used with the client, Ryan Schepers, International coordinator for SICM.
8.2 Reliability and Validity
The case-study method provides a clear understanding of the contextual relationship within the research activities by conducting more interviews and needs more research. Since every research activity does not provide the best results, the most important step is to understand the concept and main point of the issue. Thus, it has provided the most important data such as LRFM, interviews, secondary data. (Yin, 2009). Moreover, the necessary research hasn't been conducted yet since this is only a proposal and also due to the limited time period.
For this research, the purposive sampling method has been chosen for the flawlessness of research. Actually, the sampling method consists of both qualitative and quantitative research methods, yet only the qualitative research method will be applied to this study. The interviews were selected according to this method to obtain more appropriate and effective information and have the opportunity to choose the interviewees according to researcher preference. (Saunders, 2010)
Delivery of products
Based to this research, a number of recommendations will be formulated to come to balance the international network enhancing ICM standards through the analysis of SICM student and staff interest, study programs features, current partner universities features.The research is based on three main primary questions in three main research area and the products will be delivered for each main area:
Delivery of products
Target group profile of students and staff
By interviewing staff and students about their interests regarding SICM, the sub product of student and staff profiling will ensue.
Push and pull strategy
Sociological theory/segmentation theory
In depth interviews
Focused networking strategy
A strategy to implement the networking approach in a strategic communication plan
Networking approach theory
In-depth Interview with SICM coordinator
Partner university network criteria
A list of linguistic and curricular criteria regarding each of the SICM partner network
Partner university website
Partner universities profile
A list of information regarding each partner universities study programmes
Partner universities website
Internationalizing via curriculum
Semi-structured and in-depth Interviews with IC,CO,CS student and country coordinators
To create a balanced university network enhancing ICM standards through the analysis of student and staff interest.
IC, CO and CS student and staff profile in order to choose their universities.
A list of criteria in order to select the universities which student and staff are influenced by, from the perspectives of demographic, economic, geographic, political and social differentials.
To create a balanced university network enhancing ICM standards through the analysis of study programs.
- A list of linguistic and curricular criteria regarding each of the SICM partner network;
- A list of information regarding each partner universities study programmes;
To create a balanced university network enhancing ICM standards through the analysis of current partner universities features.
- A strategy will be developed, in order to implement the networking approach and facilitate future oriented measures to internationalize the environment of SICM.
- This strategy will include: selection of partner universities with which SICM will develop future cooperation according SICM selection.
10. Research result and analysis
This step is the further study analysis. At the very beginning, I have already done the formative research as addressed the field of the research. Afterwards, the further study, collection of data(field work) has been done as observing the issue, interviewing with relevant people and desk research depending on what I discovered on the partner universities. Now, I came to the final step, data analysis which contains bringing identifiers all together on what I found, namely ''coding'', looking for main ideas, putting all the most important ideas all together and finalizing what I have learned and giving some recommendations based on the results of the research. The coding is an interpretive technique to analyze the collected data and knows as the major stage of the analysis. As a researcher, I have read my transcripts and desk research data, line by line and segment the data into meaningful analytical units and I locate the segments, lastly code them. This means that I am going to analyze the data under three main categories as coding. (Qualitative data analysis)
The data that acquired from the semi-structured interviews with 2nd year and 3rd year SICM students will be analyzed based on the Cognitive Decision Making Theory, Pull-Push factors, Sociology, Dervin (Sense Making Approach) and Elaboration Likelihood Model.
An effective part of the qualitative data collection is the semi-structured interviews. They gave me an opportunity to look at the insight of the field and helped me gather information as much as I needed. As indicated before; I was suppose to interview with 6 interviewees from each major programme, however; It was not easy to conduct with interviewees from CO, CS and IDM programmes as a great number of outgoing exchange students are from IC programme of SICM. Next to that; SICM had only one exchange teacher last years, so I couldn't interview with any outgoing or incoming exchange teacher. There are 21 interview transcripts from second year students and 6 interview transcripts from third year students of SICM.
Data indicated that all second and third year SICM students are influenced by some factors to opt for a particular university. And this research analysis category will enlighten the reason of their motivation and how they make their decision and their opinion before going to partner university or after coming back from the chosen partner university. The first primary research questions will be answered;
- What is the current CO, CS, IC and IDM students and teacher profiles alike for the exchange period in year 3?
The results from the semi-structured interviews with second year IC, CO, CS and IDM students;
Male: 5 Female:16
Only 21 IC students
Countries interested in studying
Estonia, 2 China, USA 8, Russia, 3 UK, Peru, 2 Argentina, Sweden, 4 Australia, Africa, 2 Spain, japan, Austria, Canada, 3 new Zealand, 3 France, south Korea, Belgium(student prefer Dutch speaking countries because she speaks Dutch), Ireland.
Importance of the host country climate
The majority of the students found this important and the minority found it significant and some thinks that it is not important at all.
Importance of the host country religion
The majority of the students think that religion is not an important factor to influence the decision.
Main influence factors for students' choice of studying abroad
Religion: only 1
Location(city, environment): 8
Reputation of the university: 3
So the most important factors are Language, location of the city, Finance and culture.
Spoken Language in the chosen host country
German, 8 English, 2 Spanish, Estonian, Turkish, Hindi/Engeish, 4 French, Dutch, Korean
Preferred study language in the host country
German: only 1
Engeish: only 1
Dutch: only 1
Apparently, students prefer English at first and French as a second study language.
The partner university provide lectures in English
Most of the partner universities absolutely provide lectures in English.
The courses that student interested in studying at the host university
Human research management, PR, 2x Politics, 2 Psychology in communication, photography, political science, Human development, Writing for business, research, Corporate& International communication, another language, 2x Marketing, Advertising& Marketing, Public relations, Journalism, Advertising & PR, Media, languages, sociology, Liberal arts, Literature, Philosophy, Advertising, Communication, Psychology, anthropology, cultural science, Media and PR.
The host university offered PR training, Journalism, Communication
Pr training: 11
The result shows that SICM mostly got a great number of partner universities which offers similar major programmes what Hanze has.
Studying in a specific department benefit students' degree
All students believe that Studying in a specific department benefit students' degree.
The benefits of studying at one of the school of communication department
-New interesting subjects
-One become specialized in a communication field
-Different perspectives of the communication department
-Different courses offered what Hanze offers in communication department
- One becomes less broad but more focused in communication field.
-it is related to study programme at Hanze. It is good for the future career to be specialized.
- Get more insight into the course at the host university.
The benefits of studying abroad
-Different culture, experience, self-development, different opportunities, people, friends, language experience, different way of teaching, new way of life, new challenges, new city and environment, speaking the official language.
Studying at one of the school of communication department benefit to student professional career
All the students believe that Studying at one of the school of communication department benefit to student professional career.
Preferred study semester
17x Student house, 2x host family, 3x apartment
The host university offers accommodation facilities
Majority of the universities offer accommodation facilities.
Offered type of accommodation
Dorms, 4x student house(share or single rooms), 4x on campus, student hostels, dormitory, flats, student village, furnished room, hotel
The cost of living is cheaper in the host country than in Groningen
Prefer working for part time
I don't know: 4
Allowed to work in the host country
Don't know: 9
The results from the semi-structured interviews with third year IC, CO, CS and IDM students;
Male: 0 Female:5
Only 5 IC students
To recommend the host university to students at Hanze
Almost half of the students are not satisfied with their choices while more than half of them are satisfied.
The host university she/he studied at
- Hochschule fur Angewandte Wissenschaft, Hamburg, Germany
- Macau University in China
- Communication University of China
- Chung-Ang University Seoul
- Universite Renee Descartes, Paris
To be picked up at the airport
Organized welcoming session at the host university
Majority of the partners offer welcoming sessions for the exchange students.
Major religions at the host country
Christianity, Buddhism, Catholics, Confucianism, Protestantism, Islam, Daoism, Confucionism, Atheism
Faced with any religious conflict at the host university
None of the interviewee had faced with any religious conflict at the host university.
Faced with any cultural issues between teacher and student or in the class
None of the interviewee had faced with any cultural issue at the host university.
Main influenced factors for students' choice of studying abroad
Climate: only 1
Religion: only 1
Others: Near the hometown(personal reason), global position of the university, distance(to be far away from home town)
So the most important factors are Culture, Finance and Language.
Spoken language at the host country
German, Cantonese, English, Mandarin, Korean and English, French
Possibility of courses student interested in studying at the partner university
Almost half of the students are not enough informed about their interested courses before they arrive at the partner university while more than half of them got a change to study what they interested in.
Language of instruction at the courses
German, English and Chinese, English and Mandarin
Availability of English taught courses
The benefits of participation in exchange semester programme
- To gain a different idea of how to approach topics is the main academic benefit
- To gain a technical skill in media like visual design and video production.
-To learn Mandarin
-To study Korean language, International Marketing and Asian Cinema.
- To obtain new insights into the world of communication.
Availability of language programme before or during the term at the host university
Majority of the partner universities offers language courses.
Rating the overall quality of teachers
Good, fairy, fairy, very good
Approximately, the overall quality of teachers is good.
Rating the overall teaching quality of partner university
Very Good, Fairy, good
Approximately, the overall quality of teaching is good.
Studied semester at the partner university
The host university offers accommodation facilities
According to the results, all the universities offer accommodation facilities at the partner university.
Offered type of accommodation
Student house(in Germany), student dormitory or rent a private room/apartment(in China), student Dorm, apartment, student residence/dormitory
A place student lived in
Stayed with a family, lived in an apartment, stayed in a student dorm, stayed in an apartment, rented a room
The cost of living is cheaper in the host country than Groningen
Offered facilities and supports for exchange students at the host university
According to the results, all the universities offer facilities and supports for exchange students at the partner university.
Exchange student support and facilities were helpful
Still willing to study at the same host university if the student were going to do his/her study abroad
HAW: A high amount of teacher involvement in project courses and had some trouble to get used to it. At the Hanze University student normally get an assignment, deadlines and the possibility to meet the teacher in the function of a coach. At the HAW every little step was discussed during the weekly class with the teachers (and the rest of the class). There is a lot more control. On the other hand it is surprising how self-determined the students are. They do a lot more outside of the normal schedule like student union activities. There is indirect and complicated contact with teachers. At Hanze one has a more personal contact with the teaching staff. At HAW everyone is behaving a lot more formal and it takes you some time to talk to someone about personal issues. The studies are more scientifically oriented, this means that one has to prove every point one is making with literature, even if one is only writing a concept for something.
Macau: The Macau university has totally much different study method and culture than Hanze. Because, students are living in campus or next to campus. Thus, students are usually doing team work at school after evening or studying in the library. The living style is more collectivism. And there are many college activities after the classes or in the evening.
The Chung-Ang University offers a variety of courses from different specializations and most of them are also available in English. There are 2 campuses - seoul and seung campus There are major culture differences such as respect towards elders, teachers, parents, older friends etc. This is an aspect that might be difficult for European students.
Universite Renee Descartes:The study programme was related to communications of organizations. Student had marketing, internal comm., project management and computer classes. The teachers were friendly; however, some teachers adopted an outdated teaching style, like dictation, where students would write down the exact words of the teacher, etc. But this is also a cultural aspect of the French education system, where the students are not accustomed to have debates with the teacher or with each other (during a lecture).
Students are influenced by certain factors that made their choice of particular partner university. According to the transcripts, most of the main influence factors for students' choice of studying abroad are finance, language and culture.
Push and pull theory is the essential support to understand the decision making process. As the decision making process is defined as a mental process, and then I will first analyze the transcripts according to the push and pull factors which made student to make their decision mentally and to opt a particular partner university. (Mazzarol &Soutar,2001)
Push factors at the home university or country
Pull factors to the host university or country
Cost of living is cheaper
Different environment(exciting place to live), experiencing different cultures
Course opportunities in home university(it is fixed model not choosing course model)
Better course opportunities at host university (not fix but choosing variety of course model)
The major degree in home university
Learning different languages
Reputation of the host university
Easy to obtain information from host university
The offered major prgramme or courses at the host university similar to offered major programme or courses at home university.
The table is inspired from the interview transcripts and it's result of the students' decision making factors. Most of the students are motivated for going abroad just because of learning different languages, obtaining different cultural experience, studying something similar to communication department. According to the investigation of the push factors comparing to the pull factors, students simply want to go abroad to broaden themselves from different perspectives. They basically believe that the study abroad is much better than studying at a local university or similar universities like in Belgium or in Germany. The language is absolutely influenced their choice. For instance, some of the students chose to study in France just because of willing to study French or improving their level. However; the results of the third year students of SICM who has done their study abroad shows that they had a really hard time following the classes in another language on host university. As pull factors, reputation, culture and location of the host universities has influenced on student motivation and choices essentially.
Despite the importance of the