University Plan in Attracting International Students

Executive Summary

The study demonstrates the potential of the University in attracting and retaining the best international students. According to findings, the University has not involved all its resources in attracting and retaining international students. Therefore, the University must incorporate study results to implement the needs of different international higher education. Likewise, the attention must also assess the wanting cases of students’ service, satisfaction, cultural orientation.

The research results will focus on how the University plans to enhance the level of satisfaction among different students from other parts of the world. As higher education becomes competitive, the University needs to adopt a vision of sustainable attraction and retention of students in its plan. This will address increasing challenges, and occurrences the internal higher education is undergoing.

Incorporation of old forms of media and modern means of communication to capture all market sections and international, targeted students ensures that the exchange of information and promotional methods will have desired effects in growing the population of students to the University. The new media channels must contain all the required information a person needs to make a decision. In reality, the new means of communication have emerged as the least expensive and fastest means of reaching the international audience.

The University must look into social, cultural, economic, environmental, and increasing competitive situations of the current international education. International students will need education of international standards to meet the high value of their money through support services, learning, and extracurricular activities they undertake in during their studies. The University must enhance its resources to resolve difficulties and problems various students encounter. These resources may include students’ information center, orientation weeks for new students, and cultural weeks for the entire academic fraternity.

Purpose of the proposed research project and time frame

Management Decision

The University management’s main concerns are enhancing the rate of attracting and retaining the best international students. The University has some of the best facilities in Melbourne. These facilities include faculties, well-equipped laboratories, libraries, the best accommodation services in Melbourne, large recreational and sports facilities among other social amenities. The University promotion must also promote the serene neighborhood of the University and attractions of Melbourne city. The University management should build a strong brand to position the University as a place of higher learning that offers a world class education, interaction with the unique culture, and different encounters to students and at the same time, have respect for diverse cultures.

The promotional strategies should be available across the world using long and tested forms of communication such as TV promotional, print strategies, posters, brochures, and other branding strategies. The idea of successful University alumni to support and increase recruitment and retention for the University will also work well. The local media companies should promote excellent attributes to the locals to draw students from neighboring cities.

The University can dedicate websites to broadcasting varieties, of course, facilities, and attraction in the University through new and emerging social media platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, and other modern real-time communication gadgets like iPhone. These should provide up-to-date information about the University.

The research issue

The University has expressed its concerns that it cannot attract and retain the best students. Therefore, there is a need in doing so. At the same time, the University also shows concern about the need to change and meet the market environment in higher learning and also be able to accommodate the varied students’ expectations and enhance students’ satisfaction (Thomas, 2002).

Studies show that students take their learning experiences seriously. Students experience encompasses all aspects of perceptions of both academic and non-academic services the university can offer during students’ academic pursuits as Ryan and others show. Universities become globalized as people begin to access higher education from various universities across the globe. Therefore, Universities are beginning to have large numbers of international students. Therefore, any University must also increase its global competitiveness to attract and retain the best students (Astin, 1997).

Tinto argues that Universities must strive to improve the experiences of students given their goals of enhancing social and intellectual growth (Tinto, 1989). Therefore, the challenge is to ensure that students feel satisfied with the educational experience, and skills acquired during their students’ life that would assist them in their future academic and professional careers.

This researcher shall take three months to complete this research effectively.

Research Objectives

  • To identify most of the important factors/issues contributing to students’ experiences in the university.
  • To determine students’ perceptions of the importance and the delivery of university support services in enhancing their experience with the teaching and learning environment.

Research Questions

  1. What are the important factors or issues that you consider contributes to students’ positive experiences at the university?
  2. Do you believe that the University management, faculties, support staff, and other relations are doing enough to enhance the global competitiveness of this University?
  3. How should the University position itself attract, recruit, and retain the best international students?
  4. What are your recommendations to the University if they want to attract and retain the best international students? How can the University respond to the market dynamics in higher learning?

Type of Study

A research design offers accounts of the populations’ behavior, prevailing tendency, and thoughts by researching a sample of the target population. The study will rely on the selected sample results to make a common claim regarding the study outcome of the population. The approach plan for this research is to ascertain the latest level of students’ satisfaction with various services the University offers. The study will strive to achieve the most common consequences on the experiences of the students. The result of the study will be important in promoting the University’s vision for future international marketing positioning.

It is mandatory to start designing the research by highlighting the aim of the study and the reasons for choosing a certain design to conduct the research. This research makes a general claim from a sample of the study population to allow the study to propose a conclusion by putting students’ attitudes, thoughts, behavior patterns, prevailing styles, and trends of their experiences. The study will adopt the use of research questionnaires as a means of collecting data because of its easy nature of design and fast response among the survey populations

This study will take the application of a qualitative approach to carry out the research. The study shall apply qualitative methods in gathering data concerning the services, learning, cultural issues, and behavior of both local and international students and comprehend the context of students’ learning. Based on Bryman and Burgess’s studies, social researchers regard qualitative methods as favorable in the daily research of social issues.

Pointing and clarifying variables of the research are important in all studies. The part allows the researcher to judge and establish fast relations among variables, issues of the research, and materials of the research survey items. It highlights well how the study intends to apply questionnaire materials. In some cases, the researcher may use tables and other forms of graphical representations to connect research variables, assumptions, issues, and the type of survey questions. This is important in cases where the populations of study are numerous.

In a qualitative study, there is a tendency to interpret statistical data into problems concerning general conditions of the industry and current dominant trends, income creation, and giving numeric usages among others. Conversely, quantitative research shall give information concerning different human tendency, which in higher learning include its behavior and social and cultural concerns.

Qualitative research in the higher learning consider on samples in their natural learning environment, present issues about importance students give them, creating the issues real and achieving the knowledge of the insiders on problems of students, faculties and support staffs.

Definition of the target population, and sample size

A researcher must identify the characteristics of the population of the study and sampling techniques. The researcher has identified the population of study has a leading university in Melbourne, staff, and non-teaching staff. The researcher intends to use a total of 50 students, 10 faculties, and 10 support staff from different geographical locations and cultural backgrounds. The researcher may need to contact the students’ dean to provide a list of potential respondents for a survey. The survey will use a single-stage sampling where the researcher will have access to a specific list of students, teaching staff, and support staff so that he or she can perform the survey directly (Peach, 2005).

The study will consider students of ages ranging from 20 years to 45 years old. This sample shall provide their experience to cool campus experiences in the University and to gauge the impacts of University approach to attracting and retaining the best students in the promotion of the University as a world-class University for attracting and retaining international students.

The study shall also concentrate on faculties. Their opinions shall provide useful information for evaluating what aspects the University mostly focus on when doing promotion and recruiting students. Likewise, the faculties shall also give their knowledge concerning the level of the University learning, services, and satisfaction among them.

The University is also a place of conducting business. The suppliers and the community around may have chances to offer the experiences with facilities, utilization, and relations to other universities they have interacted with within the provision of services.

The other important population sample will involve the University support staff. These are vital groups since they mainly look into students’ welfare and the University’s general environment. The University has students’ registrar, chaplains, faculties’ supports, cafes’ and mess staff, accommodation and hostel management body, the University librarians, and transport and security departments, among others. This category is important since it covers almost all the major sections of the University and students, in most cases, interact with them.

Sampling techniques and data collection methods and types of scale requirements

The study sampling approach considers the study sample and its main tendencies. The sampling approach shall also clarify the sampling limit and give the importance of the preferred method, and give conclusions. This study will use a random sampling method. The study has identified its population of the study. The study has already identified a sample of students, faculties, support staff, and other relations with the University where the study will take place.

Creswell recommends the use of random sampling to provide equal opportunity for the researcher to select any sample from the population. This randomization enables the researcher to make a conclusive generalization. For effective data collection and access varied students’ experiences, the researcher will stratify the sample so that he or she can collect data from both male and female students, faculties, and support staff.

However, the researcher may use an alternative sampling, snowball sampling, if respondents’ participation is low. Cooper and Schindler note that snowball sampling is one way of selecting a sample that is representative of the average population (Cooper and Schindler, 2011). The snowball sampling approach is a key way of reaching out to respondents that may know anybody who may have the characteristics of research (Heckathorn, 2008).

The researcher must also provide a real survey instrument he or she intends to use. The researcher intends to use both primary and secondary data. Therefore, in using primary, the researcher will design survey questionnaires specifically for the study. The questionnaire design will use an open-ended technique to allow respondents to give an account of their experiences with the University. At the same time, the researcher may also use a closed-ended questionnaire to enable participants to pick from a defined set of responses, like true or false, or yes or no, and with an option of others. The advantages of using closed-ended questions are; they are easy to analyze, their response rates are higher and consume less time, and they are less expensive to the researcher.

The use of secondary data is also crucial for this study. This is a result of the ongoing debate over globalization, culture, and experiences of different people around the world, with others doubting its existence. Therefore, the researcher will turn to secondary data from academic experts and other scholarly journals and publications to ensure the validity and reliability of the collected information.

However, the researcher must also establish the validity and reliability of such existing instruments, and establish whether he or she can draw useful generalization from the data of such instruments. The researcher must establish whether or not the results measure the target content, predict the result, and measure hypothetical concepts. Likewise, the researcher must also identify the chances of consistency, and possibly notice the causes of any possible error in the findings.

Data Collection Methods

This research is quantitative. However, the researcher should recognize elements of qualitative data as a result of using open-ended questions. Likewise, the researcher must convert the information of a qualitative nature into figures i.e. quantify them. This is because the quantitative approach uses numbers for analysis.

Some researchers argue that a correctly drawn sample should have the same characteristics as the whole population. Quantitative research uses non-probability such that every potential part of the study population possesses the same chance of participating in the study. The researcher will recruit participants by phone, electronic mail, the University Registry database, or mail. Participants will receive surveys through an on-line survey.

According to Creswell, “obtaining authorization from organizational personnel requires contacting them before the start of a study and obtaining their permission to participate” (Creswell, 2008). The researcher will ask each participant to sign an informed consent form before they participate in the study. The survey will consist of 50 randomly selected students from the University database. The researcher will solicit students based on their availability to participate in the survey and their ability to provide feedback on the survey instrument’s content, ease of completion, and overall measurement (Cooper and Schindler, 2011).

The researcher may decide to administer the survey questions on-line participation, and via electronic means (e-mails). The researcher will ensure that gathered data remain confidential, and participants’ information will remain anonymous.

Research Budget

Items Cost
Surveys 20,000
Interviews 20,000
Transport 5,000
Data Analysis 10,000
Printing of Drafts 3,000
Printing final copies of the Report 5,000
Research Presentation 3,000
Miscellaneous 5,000
Cost of Designing 5,000
Total 76,000

Potential managerial benefits of the proposed study

A number of these problems originate from cultural orientation in pedagogical implementations. Trotter and Roberts note “in their intercultural encounters, all participants bring into the classroom their prior educational experiences and different sets of cultural values, beliefs, and learning conceptualizations, which become sources of misunderstandings and issues” (Trotter and Roberts, 2006).

It is obvious the University services and learning experiences do not satisfy the best international students. International students point out some issues as the main cause of their concerns such as learning curricula, study guidance and support, teaching methods, knowledge of the lecturers and teaching attitudes, lecture techniques, comradeship building and socialization, and the sense of inclusion.

The management must listen to international students’ issues and address them before these problems take unmanageable positions. We also identify a chance for faculties to change their lecture approaches and cultures. For instance, the teaching approach should re-evaluate factors of the group works with divided marks, which international students from different backgrounds dislike. At the same time, the management must also find out the local students’ view of such teaching approaches and assignments. The University must take an initiative to implement a global curriculum for international students. Such teaching approaches need University management to conduct a study among international students, and faculties to determine the suitability of approaches.

Management needs to understand how students’ learning is essential to the development of students’ learning, and teaching a globally competitive environment of international learning where diversities in the students’ population have become issues in institutions of higher learning.

Students manifest their diversity through demographic, cultural, and educational backgrounds changing expectations (Ippolito, 2007). One of the main pedagogical challenges is the diversity among different learning styles, and study approaches of students influenced by prior learning backgrounds. The University management must take this into account when designing their global competitive strategy.

Two main discourses about teaching and learning are the feasibility of adapting teaching to suit different audiences and the learning experiences of international students both of which have its origins in student diversity. The debate is how far and how much adaptation should occur. There is a consensus among researchers that strong alignments with different learning approaches are necessary and that management can achieve it through changes in curricula (Mai, 2005).

University management needs to understand that the institution can avoid stereotyping by a good understanding of who the students are. Some education experts argue that while sophisticated stereotyping is helpful to a certain degree (such as Hofstede’s five dimensions of cultures), we should treat “generalization” with “skepticism”. Culture is not a static reality, rather a dynamic and multifaceted phenomenon, and in a period of ever and unpredictable change, such generalization has narrow usages.

Wang recommends that western academics, instead of “considering themselves as the honored bearers of western education who can put pervasive ideas for situations in emerging economies”, should develop their intercultural competence and intercultural learning to become flexible reflectors and commit themselves to cater to the needs of learners from different cultures.

Individual reflections

The study has met my anticipations and given me useful information and ideas in carrying out market studies to address the different cases of international marketing environments. Issues of global concern and the use of different thoughts to favor diverse tendencies of different customers assist me to comprehend the customers’ attitudes and behavior concerning different organizations, institutions, products, and services.

Besides, the crucial idea the learning aims provided concerning cultural orientation and its effects on customers’ attitude, way of life, and socioeconomic status creates a ground for comprehending consumers from different cultural backgrounds in the global context.

Market studies offer useful information on how to choose and conduct market studies on different segments of populations. At the same time, the research and study knowledge and competence I get shall give me the possibility of using my knowledge in solving real market issues in the international arena.

The group dynamics in a form of discussions about the course facilitated the group collaboration during the learning of this course. I was able to interact freely and share my prior knowledge regarding the course. It enhanced a positive learning environment among learners of different social and cultural backgrounds. It also increased my participation in group works. The group discussions helped me address some of the practical challenges in course materials. It is the best model that facilitated learner and learner interaction. I was able to develop and critique different texts on research and marketing and come up with conclusive results.

The course also presented valuable opportunities for peer interactions, evaluation, and intercultural learning among learners of different abilities and backgrounds. Peer interactions improved my motivation, course and intellectual development, and communication skills. Most principles of learning identify interaction as among the most essential in undergraduate studies. This resulted in the development of cooperation, active learning, and instant course feedback from the faculty.

Most learners consider cultural differences as barriers to learning. Therefore, this course raised awareness about these barriers and how best we can understand them in the international context. At the same time, we must also respect their differences. The course demonstrated how we can try to avoid the negative impacts of cultural differences that exist in society. Communication was the necessary means of overcoming cultural barriers.

The course also used a culture-specific context to bring to my attention the most likely sources of conflicts in a cultural setup. It tried to explain and highlight these differences. As Wang notes, we should try to understand others’ cultures and accommodate them to enhance interaction and cooperation.

The course also gave me opportunities to view culture from different perspectives. For instance, culture is always changing, complex, multifaceted, and dynamic. This enabled me to understand that I could not look at culture from a single perspective. Instead, I must critically look at diverse cultural orientation and their meanings to different societies. The ideas changed my approach in looking at culture i.e. a tendency to look at cultural aspects from history and some aspects of life.

Reference List

Astin, A 1997 ‘The changing American college student: Thirty year trends, 1966-1996’, The Review of Higher Education, vol. 21 no. 2, pp.115-135.

Cooper, D R and Schindler, P S 2011. Business Research Methods, 11th ed, McGraw-Hill Irwin, Boston.

Creswell, J W 2008, Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and mixed methods approaches, 2nd ed, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Heckathorn, D 2008, ‘Sampling and estimation in hidden populations using respondent-driven sampling’, Sociological Methodology, vol. 34 no.1, pp. 23-25.

Ippolito, K 2007, ‘Promoting Intercultural learning in multicultural universities: Ideals and realities’, Teaching in higher education, vol. 12, no.1, pp. 749-763.

Mai, L-W 2005, ‘A Comparative Study Between UK and US: The Student Satisfaction in Higher Education and its Influential Factors’, Journal of Marketing Management, vol.21, pp. 859-878.

Peach, D 2005, ‘Ensuring student success—the role of support services in improving the quality of the student learning experience’, Studies in Learning, Evaluation Innovation and Development, vol.1 no.2 pp. 1-15.

Thomas, L 2002, ‘Student retention in higher education: The role of institutional habitus’, Journal of Educational Policy, vol. 17 no. 4, pp. 423-442.

Tinto, V 1989, ‘Dropout from Higher Education: A Theoretical synthesis of recent Research’. Review of Educational Research’, Review of Educational Research, vol. 45 no. 1 , pp. 89-125.

Trotter, E and Roberts, C 2006, ‘Enhancing the early student experience’, Higher Education Research & Development, vol.1 no.2, pp. 377-394.