What's in a name?
The changing nature of mobility

Brussels, 27 March 2009


The challenge for this second ACA European Policy Seminar of 2009 was to decipher the current meaning of a much debated on phenomenon in the area of higher education, namely that of mobility. For several decades, students and staff mobility (mainly short term) has been one of the top priorities in the European Union support for higher education. Notwithstanding, over the past ten years or so, there have been significant changes in conceptualizing and approaching mobility: there has been a move back to prioritizing recruitment of foreign degree students and towards analysing more critically the real impacts of mobility on institutions, on their degree of internationalisation, and on the mobile individuals.

In this new context, new questions arise: is mobility an objective in itself, or means to some other worthy ends? How well does mobility perform in responding to the expectations set on it and what eventual ‘side-effects’ has it on the individuals and institutions involved? Is mobility accessible to all those interested, and is being mobile an advantage? Will there be more of the same in the future, or can we expect to see significantly changing mobility patterns, types, and directions? These are some of the questions that this seminar has addresssed through the contribution of several high-caliber experts in the field of international higher education.

21st in the series “European Policy Seminars” of the Academic Cooperation Association