Challenges Faced by University Staff Members when Providing Services to International Students: An Australian Perspective
Common Ground Publishing
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
A qualitative case study examined the challenges of service provision and utilization at an Australian university. Using a Social Constructivist Grounded Theory methodology, 73 participants were interviewed, including 38 staff members (16 academic, 22 non-academic), 25 international (IS) and 10 domestic students (DS). Challenges that staff members experienced when working with IS included university and student-level challenges lack of incentive, heavy workloads, and perceived language barriers. A main issue related to equity and whether or not staff members were acting in an equitable manner towards the IS and DS. Themes that emerged included lack of training for staff members responsible for working with ESL students and miscommunication between staff members. These issues added onto an already heavy workload which was felt as even heavier because of IS perceived language barriers. For many academic staff members, these factors appear to have contributed to the reported increase in leniency-whereby lectures evaluate academic work from IS differently to those of DS. The implications of these findings for institutions which enroll IS are discussed.